damn these small hands of mine

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by cactus waltz, Feb 10, 2005.

  1. cactus waltz

    cactus waltz

    Feb 10, 2005
    We all got our own little complexes, right? Mine would be my hands, they are the smallest hands among all the friends and people I know. You'll see me with my hands in my pockets most of the time.

    Coincidentally, my favorite instrument is the bass guitar, and I try to be good at it, but it's.. well.. huge. Especially the Fender Jazz that I currently have a GAS on.

    Anyway, how much do you feel hand size matters? I think I can cover four frets at most (at the top of the neck), and that's stretching it and leaving space for screw-ups. So I obviously have to move the fretting hand around a lot.
  2. I don't think hand size matters... When i was beginner i had trouble covering the four first frets, lol... it's just practice, and your fretting hand will be more at ease with the big frets.
  3. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I don't think hand size matters at all on bass guitar.

    So - I remember seeing a really virtuosic Jazz bass guitarist who lived locally - leading his own bands and playing some amazing bass lines and solos - truly jaw-dropping stuff!

    Anyway I got talking to him and had some lessons - but the thing I really noticed, when we were doing these, was how much smaller his hands were than mine .....;)

    No excuses!!
  4. cactus waltz

    cactus waltz

    Feb 10, 2005
    Not an excuse, really. I figured that, if anything, I could use any disadvantage to make my own personal approach to the instrument. It's just something that has bothered me some.
  5. Obviously the bigger your hands are the easier it is going to be (especially for a bass guitar). All that means is you are going to have to stretch a little more. Once you get your technique like second nature it isn't going to matter what size your hands are. Whatever you do do not let it discourage you...besides you'll dazzle the audience even more because you'll be all up and down the neck.
  6. Dr. D

    Dr. D Loaded For Bear

    Jan 13, 2005
    New Orleans, Louisiana
    Small Hands, I only wish I had them. One reason I am not playing Guitar as much is because mine are to large. On a Piano, I can reach an octave an a half. On a guitar, I fat finger too much. for the Bass, I also felt mine were too short, but the Practice and stretching is everything.
  7. I have smaller hands and they by no means limit my playing, on either bass, guitar, or piano. Certainly there are things I could do if I had bigger hands, but really, larger hands do not give your playing expression and feeling, and all those things that are what music is really about.
  8. Be careful what you say Geoff there are snakes around here at TB and they're just waiting to pounce on you :D
  9. bassjus


    Mar 30, 2004
    I don't thinks small hands will impede your playing at all. I know more than enough guys that have tiny hands and can groove like no other. Just really work on your technique and you should be set.
  10. jadesmar


    Feb 17, 2003
    Ottawa, ON
    two words... five string
  11. Small hands shouldn't hurt your playing at all! If it's really that bad, you can use Simandl (sp?) fingering that's used mostly for URB playing. This is just first finger, second finger, and then your ring finger and pinky are used on the same position.

    The key to making bass work for you is stretching your hands and doing exercises with them to make them flexible in the way that bass requires.
  12. Any attacks from you are futile! :bag:
  13. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Size definitely does matter. No question there. On the other hand, it's pretty pointless approaching a long scale bass with small hands. My hands happen to be pretty big, but when I was starting out I couldn't stretch them at all, and had no dexterity. I started out on a short scale bass, which was closer to the guitar neck that I was used to at the time. I loved it, felt right at home. You can get 30", 32", pretty much anything you want (even Ashbory's and Travellers and things like that). I have kinda the opposite problem, my hands couldn't even fit on a guitar neck. My fingers are too fat to even fit four of them across six strings. :)

    Different strokes for different folks. But the short scale idea is definitely something to check into. If you ever get near an Alembic "brown bass" (the Stanley Clarke kind, with the short scale) definitely check it out. I started out on a Dan Armstrong fretless, that had a 32" scale. And at the time, that was even quite a challenge.

    Hang in there, and look around and experiment. It's all in the "resonance" that you can achieve with your instrument. There's more than one way to skin that particular cat. :D
  14. It is not the size that counts, it's what you do with it thats really guna wow em! :smug: I have really long fingers, usually can out beat/meet any man i know, in length(and i am female), but tho i certainly had an easier time at the beginning overall with time and practice the small handed person has no problem. So just work at it, i'm sure you can over come it in no time at all! :D
  15. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I think your post actually shows that size doesn't matter!!

    So - Stanley Clarke has huge hands, but as you say, often pays short-scale basses - whereas, as I said, I've seen people with very small hands playing incredibly virtuosic stuff on standard size basses! :)
  16. cactus waltz

    cactus waltz

    Feb 10, 2005
    I like the suggestion, but I have such a bad history with short scaled basses. My first bass was an EB-1 copy, that felt very guitarish to me, and I just couldn't feel the 'bass' in it. ..know what I mean? It didn't talk the talk. ;)

    I love the way the Fender Jazz neck feels, actually. It's very solid. I was just curious how much I should concider my hands before I actually invest in a new bass. I love doing those double thumps and strumming and odd melodic quirks!
  17. Dr. D

    Dr. D Loaded For Bear

    Jan 13, 2005
    New Orleans, Louisiana
    Go to a local guitar center, and Try the Ibanez sr series basses. With the thinner necks, I find these very playable for small hands.
  18. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Point well taken. :)

    I'm still back to the "resonance" concept. It's between the player and the instrument. I've played some basses that... well, me and them just didn't "get along". :D

    But I think there's probably something out there that's "right" for just about everyone. Strange viewpoint perhaps, maybe a "destiny" thing, like finding the right girlfriend or something.

    There's only one bass I'll never give up, it's my big Alembic. It took me a long time to "find" that (although I came across it by pure chance, I just happened to be in the right place at the right time). And I didn't even know it was "right" till well after the fact. :)
  19. stephanie


    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    Believe me...having tiny hands will be a hindrance only if you let it be. If anything, it allows me to explore different ways of going about things. If something's too far of a stretch that I can never make in a million years I find a new approach. Although, I have found in my almost 5 years of playing, that my fingers have stretched out since that first year. I can now play things I used to not be able to. The only thing I advise you to be aware of is to not force a stretch to the point of pain. Don't want to injure yourself!

    Good luck. :)
  20. I have small hands too, I sometimes feel dwarfed when I stand next to all my larger friends. People with big hands will probably have it on easier in some ways. But your handsize doesn't have to be a problem, not at all. If you're having trouble making a stretch, it'll mean you'll just have to move around the neck a bit more or just find another more comfortable way to play the note.

    When I had the idea of starting on bass I was worried about the same thing, but I just went for it and found out it's really not a problem. If I have trouble playing something, I'll find another way to do it.