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Dexterity Exercises?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Diesel Kilgore, Jul 31, 2012.

  1. I'm trying to improve my mobility in my fretting (left) hand. I have small hands to begin with, and I always have trouble using more then just 2 fingers to move between frets. My wrist, index and middle fingers seem to do all the work, while my ring and pinky are just sitting there.

    I'm also trying to improve strength in my ring and pinky, because since I don't use them much (pinky not at all) I can't get them to hold a string down with enough force the way i'd like.

    I've gotten by for a long time like this. But lately the strain is getting to my wrist and first 2 fingers, and I feel that I need to get all of my fingers in the mix to reduce this. Plus I think it will help me play faster songs alot better. I've been practicing using my ring finger more, and I can get by with it okay, it's just training myself to use it is the hard part. I always go back to my first 2 fingers when playing.

    Also, I notice (and maybe this is just human nature) but when I have my index finger on a fret and bring up my ring finger my ring finger tends to bend in towards the index, I can barely get them a frets width apart, if it's possible i'd like to get more "stretch" out of my ring finger.

    Anyone have any advice they can give? Any exercises I can do away from the bass (or with it) to work on this?

  2. bass_study


    Apr 17, 2012
    Just practise arppegios and scale and play them slowly and clean. Make sure you play them clean and neat. Find a fingering that utilize all four fingers And make sure your left hand is stable on the neck.

    Some people like to suggest 1 2 3 4 on the 1st position to stretch your hand. I also learnt it when I 1st started. It helps but if it hurts you too much, don't try it. I saw lots of great players hurt their hand who stretch too much...
  3. Clef_de_fa

    Clef_de_fa Guest

    Dec 25, 2011
  4. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    Careful with the 1234 thing. You can overdo it. For me, I play mostly 124, with 3 riding along with 4. 3 gets used, too when needed, even 1234 gets used when needed. But, you will be much more relaxed playing 124 (covering three frets). Also, don't fall for the old advice to keep your thumb dead centered on the back of the neck. My thumb resides about half-way between the center and the E-string. Let it go where it feels best. Believe me, when you acquire some coordination you will find that it actually takes very liittle strength to push a string down. Anyway, you can get some stretching done by practicing 1234, but just don't overdo it. Hope that helps a bit.
  5. jsbarber


    Jun 7, 2005
    San Diego
    There's a book that I bought a few years ago called "Bass Fitness". It contains a large number of exercises for developing speed, finger independence and right hand technique. Many people focus on LH technique, but RH is just as important. I think it is very good.

  6. jimmy_trouser


    Oct 19, 2011
    Sound like a great book, I will have to check it out!!
  7. randysmojo


    Jan 14, 2008
    Austin, TX
    I glanced over and didn't see a mention of having good action too. Bad action will make it harder to push them down, but of course that could help strengthen your hands if you don't overdo it, but really I personally think it's best to practice with a good action and whatever gauge of string that works for you. Make sure you are not tightening up muscles that don't need to be, and don't press down with more force than just what is needed to solidly fret the string, etc..... All that good stuff that older guys like me try to pass off as gospel truth!
  8. FretlessMainly


    Nov 17, 2010
    I think the terms you mean here are "low" and "high," not "good" and "bad." To me, low action = bad.
  9. randysmojo


    Jan 14, 2008
    Austin, TX
    Low action is good compared to a cheap pawnshop bass with a twisted neck with the strings a half inch off the frets! Some people get stuck with that kind of situation not knowing any better and that is what I refer to as good and bad action. Not meaning it has to be 2mm from the 12 fret. It should also be implied any time I post is an opinion and no where based in fact! I definitely ain't no scholar or nuthin'!
  10. guitarist09


    Jul 23, 2012
    I've been hearing nice reviews about the book Bass Fitness :)
    I'll give it a look too :D
  11. :D I cannot find the right words to say how much I love this.
    Non-standard at its absolutely best, great.

    Sorry, I don't have anything to add to the OP.

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