Does small hands player stuck ?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by wishforbass, Feb 25, 2018.

  1. Plucky The Bassist

    Plucky The Bassist ZOMG! I'm back from the dead!

    Jul 30, 2010
    Houston, TX
    It's usually a matter of adapting and what you find worth adapting to.

    I have an Ibanez 5'er I was crazy about, but just found the B wasn't really getting much use in all the bands I was hopping into (it was also uber modern sounding w/ the EMGs in it). It was easier for me to play bigger necks after that, but plenty of basses just didn't sound good enough for me to spend time adapting to the size difference. Used to have a Warwick Corvette and that neck just wasn't worth the hassle, I'd play an Ibanez SR neck and it just felt like home.

    Since I tend to focus on playing cleanly (I don't pluck or pick very hard), I don't have many issues with skinnier necks or narrow string spacing getting messy when playing. I also do chording so having the strings closer is awful helpful for me to keep from getting hand cramps. Play what enables you to play your best and don't sweat it.
  2. AV8R


    Feb 12, 2017
    Or, if you REALLY want to play a 6-string bass, you have to get creative to find a solution to fit your needs (i.e.: smaller hands). I had similar issues with my small(er) hands that would force me to have to uncomfortably stretch my fingers to smoothly and cleanly fret certain runs on the upper frets of a long scale bass (34" and up). So, after tiring of years of over-reaching, I finally found a relatively inexpensive (read: not custom made) short scale bass that would fit my hands and, with slight modification, fit my playing style as well. And thus, this was my solution:

    Ibanez SRC6 Successful Conversion

    I took an Ibanez SRC6 short scale bass and modified it slightly so it can be tuned B to C like a normal 6-string bass (the SRC6 comes from the factory tuned E to E). Now, I have an instrument that is light, easy to play and covers all the genres of music I like to play - all without having to stretch uncomfortably in the upper frets anymore.

    It's either accept your limitations, change your style or change your instrument. For me it was the latter.
  3. socialleper

    socialleper Bringer of doom and top shelf beer Supporting Member

    May 31, 2009
    Canyon Country, CA
    Scale length doesn't impact me; its odd to me that people keep bringing it up. For tone I actually prefer 35" scale basses. A 34" B sounds iffy, a short scale B would be dreadful.
    If a 5 string has 17mm spacing and a thin profile, I'm OK. Like an Ibanez. But the Lakland 55-02 I had was still too thick for me. Any Fender 5 is too chunky. My Pedulla works pretty well and Spector 5 strings are surprisingly comfortable. When I play something that needs a B on a 5 or 6 I'm spending 50%-60% of my time on that B. That's why a 5 is tough and a 6 is almost impossible. These are passing notes I'm playing; I'm playing quick and heavy on that B. I think that's why so many of the players I like have bigger hands. You need them ET fingers to spider your way up and down those big necks quickly.
  4. I've got smaller hands too, and don't mind 34" scale at all - in fact I prefer it over short scale. I'd even have a go at 35" or even try the new Dingwall NG2 4 string, but I insist on a nice thin neck. That's why all my basses are Ibby SRs.
    wishforbass likes this.
  5. Victor Wooten And Ryan martini are both smaller guys with small hands and they are two of the best on the instruments imo. They don’t seem to have any issues and might be two guys folks with smaller hands should look more into. I’ve noticed both of them in particular have amazing right hand control that might actually be a benefit of having smaller hands. I know Ryan likes to use a funky tuning where the lower strings are tuned in 5ths more like a cello tuning. Maybe that helps him out. I do think having smaller hands makes it more difficult for people to play 5 and especially 6 string basses.i got to hold Ryan’s bass that you see below. He did have the neck shaved on that one and if I remember right the custom shop fretless he also had that night was actually made with a thinner neck. He held my 6 string thumb and he said something along the lines of “ holy crap that’s a tree trunk”. But yeah for comparison I’m 5’10- 5’11” standing next to Ryan without even standing up straight i look huge. You’d think I was like 6’5 and 300 pounds but I’m no where near that big.
    EatS1stBassist and gebass6 like this.
  6. toowrongfoo


    Nov 25, 2017
    Wait a minute, that's kinda like a millionaire telling the guy living under the bridge he could be the same! (lol)

    I thought of this thread immediately when I saw this......

    slap bass galactic alchemist - Bing video
    Bassbeater likes this.
  7. Bassbeater

    Bassbeater Guest

    Sep 9, 2001
    Something not advantageous about long spider fingers is that I seem more prone to ligament and joint sprains than some smaller handed people. Seriously I don't flash riff ever on bass so it's kind of moot.
    -Definitely NOT an advantage when buying gloves!
  8. mobdirt

    mobdirt Guest

    Jun 14, 2017
    get a jazz bass
  9. chris_b


    Jun 2, 2007
    Most of us start playing with no idea about playing.

    Very few of us have lessons before we start playing bass. We learn as we go, so by the time we can play the first song we already have muscle memory, preferences and we already employ short cuts and ways to simplify playing the lines, ie the seeds of bad technique. Almost everyone, from average players to great, can benefit from lessons to improve their technique.

    No matter what point we start from, a better technique always makes playing easier and eliminates "issues". We will still have preferences but they shouldn't be based on negative stuff like what we can't do or don't like doing.
  10. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Oct 20, 2021

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