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Amputated fingers

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Amputee Hiker, Mar 28, 2013.

  1. Amputee Hiker

    Amputee Hiker

    Mar 28, 2013
    Hey guys/gals?

    I am new to Bass playing. Very new. I have a questions or concern. I was born with only three fully formed (useful) fingers on my fretting hand. My index finger, thumb, and pinky. Is competent playing possible with this situation? A friend of mine had this Rocksmith game for his pc and I fell in love with how they presented the bass on there. Its real playing, with some techniques left out, not some button mashing color matching game. Anyways, any advice would be great!
    Thank you

  2. Hamlet7768

    Hamlet7768 Here to chew gum and rock. Still have gum.

    Jun 5, 2011
    Listen to Django Reinhardt. That's all.
  3. Roy Vogt

    Roy Vogt

    Sep 20, 2000
    Endorsing Artist: Kiesel, Carvin, Accuracy, Hotwire, Conklin Basses, DNA, Eden
    Check out Django Reinhardt-he played amazing Jazz Guitar with only 2 functioning fingers. Also check out Bill Clement:

    I have a student who only has a rudimentary thumb and one finger on his picking hand. He's been studying for about 8 months and at his last lesson he was playing a blues groove at quarter note=144 bpm so it can be done. If you need to, turn the bass upside down and play it left handed. Nothing's impossible!
  4. NickTej22


    Feb 17, 2013
    Largo FL
    A lot of playing is usually done with the thumb on the back of the neck, and usually your pointer and middle, using your pinky for teaching harder frets. I don't see any reason you couldn't develop your own technique at all.
  5. mbeall


    Jun 25, 2003
  6. mbeall


    Jun 25, 2003
    3 Django posts in 2 mins. :)
  7. Don't forget Tony Iommi and Rocky George (Suicidal Tendencies) both amazing players and missing fingers.
  8. Mudcat35


    Feb 21, 2009
    Austin, TX
    I have all my fingers on my fretting hand, but the large knuckle joint on my ring finger is destroyed by arthritis, so that finger is only marginally useful at best. It is completely possible to play competent bass with limitations. You'll just have to adapt your technique to get the sounds you hear in your head. Best of all, you'll always end up sounding like YOU, since you approach the instrument differently than most. Keep working and don't get discouraged!
  9. thetaxmiser

    thetaxmiser Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2002
    Sonoma County, CA, USA
    Perhaps you can play lefty? Thumb and index can hold a pick. I am left handed and play bass the traditional way. I always have thought having my dominant hand fingering notes gave me an advantage. No matter how you pursue it, it will be a great expereince. Good luck. Making music frees the mind.
  10. Roy Vogt

    Roy Vogt

    Sep 20, 2000
    Endorsing Artist: Kiesel, Carvin, Accuracy, Hotwire, Conklin Basses, DNA, Eden
    Here's another guy I saw tearing up with two functioning fingers on his fretting hand a few years back at the Nashville NAMM Show. He also makes great basses!
    Jake Kot:
  11. garmenteros

    garmenteros Bass Enthusiast Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2008
    Dominican Republic
    You're good to go with two fingers and a thumb for a lot of stuff, if you're set on playing that way. The more technical things could become a lot harder or even impossible but never say you aren't capable. You could develop your own technique like others said, sky is the limit.

    That said, if I were in your position I'd switch and make the fretting hand your plucking hand. There are a lot more things and styles you can cover with just your thumb and two fingers in your plucking hand then your fretting hand.
  12. Amputee Hiker

    Amputee Hiker

    Mar 28, 2013
    Thanks guys! I have heard/watched some youtube of Django. Fantastic! I knew about Tony Iommi's accident and how he played. Very cool! <y other hand is less developed or I would just switch hands. I will just practice with it till I get it to sound like something!! We all chart our own courses in the end. I appreciate the positive vibes!
  13. lefty1979


    Mar 30, 2008
    DFW, texas
    totally do-able. Heck, I'm self taught/have all 5 fingers and just realized that i use my index and pinky for probably 80=90% of my fretting. I've got small hands, I guess it was easier to make the 3 fret stretch with my pinky instead of my ring finger when I was younger. It's worked pretty well so far....
  14. MEKer

    MEKer Supporting member

    May 30, 2006
    Ya dang right, you can do it! Its all about fun! :bassist: Your challenge will make it even more of a triumph as you see that you improve and can start doing things on YOUR bass because YOU are a bassist!:bassist::bassist::bassist: And that means you are cool because bassists are cool. Sheeeee---ittt YES!
  15. Amputee Hiker

    Amputee Hiker

    Mar 28, 2013
    Nice! I've got a pretty good stretch between my ring and pinky. I just do a lot of sliding and memorization of where my fingers are at all times.
  16. MEKer

    MEKer Supporting member

    May 30, 2006
    You can get a LOT of mileage out of slides (glissandos). So looks like you are developing part of a personal technique already. I think you'll be surprising yourself. Don't get discouraged either. Everybody gets stuck in ruts or on plateaus off and on. I bet a year from now you will amaze yourself with your progress. There are even some dang good bass lines where the same 4 quarter notes are played for many measures. Don't forget you can also put some good bass down just by understanding how to apply different syncopations and rhythms played on just a couple of notes! All sorts of territory you will explore and make your own.
  17. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    Chris I play with one finger been playing that way for years you will have no problems sir.
  18. Amputee Hiker

    Amputee Hiker

    Mar 28, 2013
    For sure Meker! I am so new to music theory and bass playing. The most I've done is sing a little bit. An instrument is a whole other animal :) Even in the short while I've been playing along with Rocksmith Ive improved quite a bit. Im more comfy with plucking with my index finger on my right hand (my only full finger on that hand). Does it take a while to know where you are in relation to the strings when using a pick?
  19. Amputee Hiker

    Amputee Hiker

    Mar 28, 2013
    Mja28 What are some good songs to learn with 1 or 2 fingers?
  20. Amputee Hiker

    Amputee Hiker

    Mar 28, 2013
    I should add I do have a full thumb on plucking hand as well as full index

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