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Beginner question on left hand position

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Sponge_bob, May 7, 2019.

  1. Sponge_bob


    May 7, 2019
    CB2B7889-70B1-40AF-9532-C6BC5FC36F31.jpeg 32AA68C2-768C-4422-B44B-FA657409E6E4.jpeg Hi guys. I watched some YouTube videos about left hand position and found out my left hand is bending too much and kinda weird. What can I do to improve my left hand position? Thx

    Attached Files:

    Ellery likes this.
  2. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Best video on left hand technique I know.
  3. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    The clip in the above post is the "go to" one for safe technique.

    You appear to be trying to incorporate the "one finger per fret" technique on the lower (1-5) frets. Be careful, as this can be too much of a stretch for some people. Use the ring and pinky together on these lower frets, and use the thumb as a pivot, as explained in this other clip.

  4. Goatrope

    Goatrope Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2011
    Sarasota Florida
    Get that elbow out away from your ribs.

    And what they said. ^^^^

  5. Nashrakh


    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    Elbow out, a higher angle on the neck. The more horizontal the more your wrist has to bend.
    Tommyc and Lobster11 like this.
  6. Groove Master

    Groove Master

    Apr 22, 2011
    Author of Groove 101, Slap 101 and Technique 101
    First position is the hardest one. Your hand is well-placed reaching the full 4 frets but to have more strength place your thumb with your middle finger right now it's too much on the index side. This will give you a better balance in your hand and strength for your 3 and 4th fingers.
    ObsessiveArcher likes this.
  7. SteveCS


    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    1. Try to create a smoother curve between fingertip and wrist. The wrist does not need to be in front of, or directly below, the fingerboard.
    2. Move your elbow away from your body.
    3. You don't need to hold the open stance with all fingers rigidly above, or clamped on, the lower frets when playing with your pinky.
    4. You don't need to have your fingertips perpendicular to the fingerboard. Try using more pad and less tip.

    I don't profess to have perfect technique, but by way of contrast with the OP...
    Last edited: May 7, 2019
    IamGroot and ObsessiveArcher like this.
  8. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Wrist straighter, elbow dropped, fingers closer together, thumb relaxed. There should never be any sensations of pain, tingling, or stretching.

    I like to visualize that I am holding a baby and cradling its head softly in my relaxed hand. You wouldn't give your baby to a person with tense, contorted claw hands!

    Another tip is you might try practicing standing up with your bass hanging from a strap.
    Last edited: May 7, 2019
    ObsessiveArcher likes this.
  9. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    Here we go again !!!! :laugh:

    See post number seven here. It develops into a heated discussion.

    Is this a bad fretting technique?
    Last edited: May 7, 2019
    I-play-bass and Lobster11 like this.
  10. I'll add this. As mentioned, fret the strings with the meaty part of your finger, not the tip. We normally play one note at a time, i.e. we do not fret a bunch of notes then sound all of them in a strum like the guitar guys do. So it is not necessary that we use the tip of our finger like the guitar guys do. This frees us up a little.

    I use the one finger per fret major scale box pattern for everything I do, however, if you kept playing with your wrist in the position shown in your OP pain is just around the corner. There should be no pain in playing bass. Try the pad of your finger as that alone pulls everything back into a better angle. We'll get into the other stuff later...

    Happy trails.
    Last edited: May 7, 2019
    Rilence likes this.
  11. Groove Master

    Groove Master

    Apr 22, 2011
    Author of Groove 101, Slap 101 and Technique 101
    It is just common sense and logical. I've been using it for forty years and still teaching it. But hey, YMMV
  12. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    Don't kill your hand trying to slavishly maintain one finger per fret.
    As Malcolm said, you typically play one note at a time
    You are allowed to move your left hand to reach the fret
    tradernick, MCF, SoCal80s and 2 others like this.
  13. Element Zero

    Element Zero Supporting Member

    Dec 14, 2016
    Not everyone’s hands can do that. I can’t even touch my thumbs to my pinkies without nearly cramping.
  14. LowRick


    Mar 24, 2019
    Left hand isn't important. It's all about that open E anyway!
    Rilence and thehindteet like this.
  15. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    I have enormous hands - I have to look long and hard to find gloves that are long enough for my fingers. My left hand (from decades of playing) has a span from index finger to pinky) that's about an inch more than my right hand - my hands are about as big and as flexible as anyone's. Even I don't play one finger per fret low on the fretboard. I slide a lot. It works, I don't stress my hands, and I'm plenty fast doing things that way. With all the double stops I do, it's actually a big advantage to not play one finger per fret.

    So, get the elbow out, straighten the wrist a bunch, and learn to slide around a bit. in a few decades you'll thank me.
    gotly likes this.
  16. nilorius


    Oct 27, 2016
    Riga - Latvia
    Dose pictures look kind a wierd.
  17. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    another thing that helps straighten the left wrist is angling the headstock up.
    rather than have your neck run parallel to the floor, point it up towards the ceiling at about 45 degrees
    this puts your elbow below the neck, allowing a softer angle of approach across the wrist
    you can kinda see it in my profile pic
    SoCal80s likes this.
  18. Groove Master

    Groove Master

    Apr 22, 2011
    Author of Groove 101, Slap 101 and Technique 101
    Of course but I'm looking at his picture and this is my advice regarding the OP's question.
  19. If you make sure your elbow is more under than behind the neck, it will tend to keep your wrist straight naturally.
  20. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    Another advantage of this is that it will help you keep the wrist of your plucking hand straight as well. We can't see what that hand looks like in the pic, and you didn't ask, but make sure not to rest your forearm on top of the bass body and bend the wrist to reach down to pluck the strings.

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