Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by de la mocha, Oct 25, 2005.

  1. de la mocha

    de la mocha

    Aug 20, 2005
    After playing for a few years, my technique still sucks and I think it has something to do with my hands! I practice everyday for four hours and I'm pretty good, but I have trouble hitting frets a lot and I have trouble stretching my fingers far enough on a lot of songs. I have to physically lift and slide my whole hand over to hit a note with my pinky and I almost always get that fret buzz.

    I mean I'm pretty good, but I just can't stretch or reach certain notes in a few songs. What should I do, get a strat or what? :scowl:
  2. Kelly Coyle

    Kelly Coyle Supporting Member

    Nov 16, 2004
    Mankato, MN
    First of all, "Tele."

    I have small hands for my height -- is there a standard way to measure? I could check for you. Base of hand to tip on index finger: 6.25". Length of index finger, 3.15".

    Short-scale bass. See Fender Jaguar, Landing, etc., etc.

    I don't "anchor" as firmly with my thumb behind the neck as I think most players do -- even when playing "in" position, I shift slightly. I believe that, as a side effect, this practice improves my fretless intonation, FWIW.
  3. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    I have pretty small hands and play an Ibanez bass. I think thinner neck is key. I think smaller fingers are actually a plus as far as right hand speed goes.

    My usual warmup consists of playing scales/modes in the same position, 3 notes per string, going from my lowest string to highest (I play a five string). I good way to develop that strength and stretch is to play scales rooted in 1st-4th frets.

    Another good exercise is the outro riff from Floods by Pantera.
  4. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    No. I have the smallest hands of any adult male I ever met (and no ladies, the myth about small hands is not true...yuk yuk!), and I play just fine. And I don't believe you need to have a special thin neck or smaller scale. I have seen small girls play large basses very well. It's more of a technique issue than a hand size issue.
  5. fr0me0


    Dec 7, 2004
    Winnipeg Canada
    if its that small you might just have to get good at movin your hand aorund if you can't stretch. My friend doesnt play with a pinky and plays with his thumb over the neck and it kills his reach but he's got pretty good at movin his hand around but if ya see me and him play the same song he'll be moving his hand all over the place and mine will be alot more stable.
  6. Nah, I seriously doubt it. It could cause you to have to practice more or be unable to pull off really large stretches, but I don't think it would hinder you that much.
  7. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Agree 100% - there was a locally-based Jazz BG player whose technique was amazing - I was literally stunned by his playing.

    I asked to have lessons with him and the first thing I noticed was how his hands were much smaller than mine!! :meh:
  8. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    No, definitely not. There are countless awesome female bass players and most women have smaller hands than men, which is nice.
    Earlier this year I had a group lesson, and saw play live, a bass player named Paula Gardiner who played some amazing upright, and she was around the 5 foot mark so probably had pretty small hands to match!
  9. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    You could always see how you get on with a mandolin - I've got one and, playing bass most of the time, I find it tricky to get adjusted to the tiny size of the instrument.

    However, while I'm sure there is a point at which a pair of hands would be too small to comfortably play a standard 34" bass, it's going to be a long way below the average point. If you really want to play bass then perservere.

    Look at different ways of fingering things or different sets of notes that will take you through a song. Work slowly on things like accurate shifting rather than worrying about not having a wide enough handspan. You may struggle to cover some tunes but there's not reason at all not to make great music.

  10. MeYHymN

    MeYHymN Habitual User

    Nov 7, 2004
    Charleston, WV
    sorry bout grammar and punctuation. im on a pda and this stylus/osk stinks. if u spend 4 hours/day just practicing ur playing skills, i think maybe u should try devoting 1/2 or maybe 1 full hour to developing finger strength and stretching. im a reformed guitar pllayer from way back in the day. even though it'd been years between dropping the guitar and picking up the bass, my left hand still has almost a full inch more reach than my right. so to answer your question, your hands would have to be incredibly small to really become the hindering factor. ever seen the bassist that didn't have fingers? (there is 1, just dont remember the band..amputees maybe,and no, im not making that up)
    again, apologies for grammar and typos.