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Fretting Hand Technique.

Discussion in 'Ask Anthony Wellington' started by Locki, Dec 14, 2011.

  1. Locki

    Locki

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    Hey Anthony,

    On my fretting (left) hand, when i play with either my ring or middle finger my pinky sticks out off the fret board, which i understand is bad technique. I would like my technique to look more professional when on stage so can you please suggest any exercises that will help with this.:help:

    Locki
  2. Ant Wellington

    Ant Wellington

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    Hey Locki,

    First, I highly recommend that you get with a 'good' bass teacher to show you proper hand position. Not you friend who plays a little bass, not the local bass hero who hangs out in Guitar Center(he just knows licks). Not a guitar teacher pretending to be a bass teacher(too many of them) and not an upright bass teacher trying to teach you upright fingerings on an electric bass(unfortunately there are still some of those around, even at universities). Find someone who has a curriculum and agenda. There's more I can say on that but,...

    I'll just say that a person who understands pedagogy!

    But one of the biggest things is the permutation chart based on '4', representing your 4 fingers. It'll get you using your 4 fingers in an efficient and logical manner. You'll do the 24 exercises on individual strings and across multiple strings ascending and descending the neck. Basically, everything that can be played on bass is just comprised of snippets of the '24'. The only way to get faster at the 24 variations is to move your hand in a more efficient way. Speed is a by-product of speed and efficiency.

    But like I said earlier, you have to be holding your hand in a way that's conducive to using all 4 fingers. That's best explain in a lesson with a real bass teacher.

    Email me if you can find a sheet with the 24 variations.

    peace,
    anthony

    "Smells Like Funk"
  3. Locki

    Locki

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    This is all good advice, but i don't think phrased my question right. I can use all my fingers very comfortably, my teacher made sure of that. The problem is when not using the pinky, it sticks out way off the fretboard (more significant then my other fingers that just hover above the strings when not in use.) I found that doing exercises such as scales have helped a little bit the past 4 months or so that i've been working on it, but nothing dramatic.

    It's not too much of a hassle at the moment but i'd rather get it out of the way whilst my brain is still 'sponge-like'.

    Any further advice would be greatly appreciated, i will definitely be looking into the chart.

    Locki
  4. Ant Wellington

    Ant Wellington

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    Hey Locki,

    I know what it is that you are saying. It is a hand position problem. It's not a pinky problem. It's just manifest itself as you seeing your pinky raising off the fretboard more.

    But honestly, without seeing you play and witnessing the issue I can't really offer a suggestion.

    But I do believe the pinky is the 'symptom',.,,not the problem. But as long as you're addressing it as the problem you could be missing the real issue.

    Keep me posted on your progress.

    peace,
    anthony
  5. jz75

    jz75

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    There are some earlier threads that discuss the "pinky salute" if that helps.
  6. sonofabass

    sonofabass

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    Disclosures:
    Endorsing Artist: Aguilar Amplification, Mike Lull,MXR,Gruv Gear, Mono
    Ant's last response is what makes great teachers.
  7. dsanders

    dsanders

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    +1
  8. D_Quackington

    D_Quackington

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    Did you ever get that email Anthony? I am trying to clean up my playing and these variations sound great.
  9. Ant Wellington

    Ant Wellington

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    If I didn't reply right away that probably means that I didn't get it or that I got crazy busy and the 500 other emails I got that day covered it up.

    Send another. But I have to warn you. During the day I'm teaching at camp and have very little phone reception and no Internet at all.

    peace,
    anthony
  10. funkybass

    funkybass

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  11. Lichtaffen

    Lichtaffen Supporting Member

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    My teacher showed me this exercise a couple of years ago and it help tremendously. I had the dangling pinky problem as well and now it's pretty much under control. Make sure you practice it with a metronome.

    Anthony,
    Is this the type of exercise that we should keep in our practice routine? I go back to it every once in a while and it always seems to help "tame" certain fingering issues.
  12. Ant Wellington

    Ant Wellington

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    I ALWAYS practice permutations of all kinds. For me, it falls into the category of 'do every day'.

    The version given in the link to the book is just one of many, many ways to do permutations. Do then across multiple strings in all directions. And remember, you can find the permutations of any number of 'things'. It just doesn't apply to fingers. If you play modes in application fingerjng(3 notes per string) you can permute the notes by string 6 different ways. If you play 7th chord arpeggios you can permute the 4 notes 24 different ways. Most musicians, even teachers, have a very limited way that they use these math components. Math is 'unlimited' so if you use math as a 'guide' your practice resources become unlimited.

    I have way too many ways of using permutations too explain in this post.

    -aw
  13. JimL

    JimL

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    Too many permutations of his permutations :D
  14. Ant Wellington

    Ant Wellington

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    Bassically!!!
  15. Lichtaffen

    Lichtaffen Supporting Member

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    Glad to hear this. I was hoping it wasn't an exercise that I was dwelling on. My teacher had taught me about the 7th chord arpeggio permutations as well. It seems these type of exercises are what basic weight training exercises are for athletes.
  16. D_Quackington

    D_Quackington

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    Hey Anthony, I have been working on these LH permutations and it has been fun. I had a bass lesson today and the subject of perms came up. I was then shown a whole range of different variations using rhythm, scales, strings and arpeggios. This has been really great but the problem is that I have too many different things I could be working on.
    How do you go about organizing and practicing this material?
  17. RotoRick

    RotoRick

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    I would like to know if its really a hand position problem my self, cause I suffer from the same problem, even though my postion looks just like the teachers online show it should be.

    I can only think of two so called wrong postions, if the thumb is parallel to the neck or if the thumb comes up over the neck.

    If the latter is considered wrong though, someone needs to tell Paul Mccartney he has been doing that for over 40 years and even uses the thumb to fret the E string, which would be considered a big no no to the ivy league music educators of the world.

    I think you have to find a positon that is comfortable for YOU, not everyones hands are the same size, length, or thickness and this has a lot to do with what will work for you.

    Chris Squire has enormous hands, looks like he is choking a birds neck when he plays, I can't do that have to find something that works for me.
  18. Ant Wellington

    Ant Wellington

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    It's like shooting free throws, you can always shoot anyway you want. There's no real 'right' or 'wrong'. But there is an efficient or inefficient. Some of us are concerned about that. Some of us aren't.

    Honestly, I couldn't care less what someone else does. That's why I only give my opinion when I'm asked my opinion. I don't force my opinion in anyone.

    By the way, I love Paul McCartney. I think he's very musical. But I'd never assume that everyone likes him or think he's a great bass player or aspires to play like him because he's famous,...and very, very rich.

    peace,
    anthony

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