finger exercisers/stretchers

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Black Out Jazz, May 15, 2021.

  1. Black Out Jazz

    Black Out Jazz Supporting Member

    Mar 2, 2021
    location is overrated
    Hey all, I'm looking at these gizmos and want to ask the collective, are these things a gimmick or do they really work? I was searching the web for 'finger exercises' and they showed up in the search. The reason I am looking for exercises is because if I stretch 4 frets my middle finger and ring finger are doing all kinds contortionist looking stuff. :D Thanks for any insight or personal experience.
    example a

    and b,aps,174&sr=8-12
  2. SteveCS


    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    Avoid like the plague, IMHO. They look more like instruments of torture to me.
    Rev12_11, ErikP.Bass, Bozzy and 5 others like this.
  3. Goatrope

    Goatrope Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2011
    Sarasota Florida
    That second one looks downright medieval!

    45 years of bad habits and “gecko hands” preclude me from offering advice other than this:

    If you’re just starting out, avoid the contraptions and take a couple of lessons on technique. A good teacher will show you the fundamental mechanics. Even YouTube isn’t totally worthless for seeing how folks shape their hands. Then it just comes down to practice and playing for thousands of hours.

    Your hands will stretch over time, so get the fundamentals right so you’re not hurting yourself.

    Also, look up Simandl and see how that approach can help you find a hand shape that works for you in different places on the fretboard.

    Best of luck in your journey.
  4. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    Instead of using these, play bass with proper technique. That way you're working muscles as they actually are used while playing.
    BarfanyShart, JRA, lfmn16 and 7 others like this.
  5. Black Out Jazz

    Black Out Jazz Supporting Member

    Mar 2, 2021
    location is overrated
    The 2nd brings Poe's The Pit and the Pendulum to mind...
  6. Black Out Jazz

    Black Out Jazz Supporting Member

    Mar 2, 2021
    location is overrated
    What set me off on all of this is practicing major and minor scales in the lower register with no open strings.
    12BitSlab and Goatrope like this.
  7. WrapRough


    Jan 26, 2021
    I only play four finger per fret when the line needs it. Otherwise pinky is on fret three. Have you tried playing like that?
  8. Black Out Jazz

    Black Out Jazz Supporting Member

    Mar 2, 2021
    location is overrated
    I try to play like that normally.
  9. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    I can say from personal experience that the Stu Hamm stretches are holy hell and they work really well. Look them up. I do them. I loath them. I benefit from them.
    johnnynitro and 20GLJazz like this.
  10. Black Out Jazz

    Black Out Jazz Supporting Member

    Mar 2, 2021
    location is overrated
    Good $%*&%ing grief! My hand is exhausted!
  11. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Yeah. They suck. I have been hating them for a long time. I’m not that good but I can move my pinky ok. Worth it? No. But kind of.
    20GLJazz likes this.
  12. BarfanyShart


    Sep 19, 2019
    DC Metro
    Didn't Robert Schumann ruin his piano playing by messing with some hand stretching contraption? I say just use the most comfortable and proper technique so that you can play for long periods of time without discomfort, then build strength by playing lots.
    SteveCS and 20GLJazz like this.
  13. Black Out Jazz

    Black Out Jazz Supporting Member

    Mar 2, 2021
    location is overrated
    I feel it all down into my freaking forearm.
    Killing Floor likes this.
  14. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    Yes. This. A thousand times this.
    BarfanyShart and SteveCS like this.
  15. Splash7

    Splash7 The Determined Bass Player Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2019
    20GLJazz likes this.
  16. If you’re going for physical strength you are definitely on the wrong track. To play well, as in fast, smooth, on time, in the pocket, et al., your hands should be relaxed. Practice playing relaxed. Be aware that a lot of those devices (and actions) can do harm that may take ages to heal, if healing ever happens.
    SteveCS and Rabidhamster like this.
  17. derekcbass


    May 2, 2011
    Practicing with proper technique is worth a million times more than these devices can offer. Build your strength and dexterity by actually playing the instrument. Also, strength shouldn't really be a thought in playing bass... finesse comes from only applying the pressure needed to produce the notes...
    SoCal80s, etnoo and Black Out Jazz like this.
  18. Nickweissmusic

    Nickweissmusic Knows all intervals from one Fred, to Juan octave Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2014
    San Diego, CA
    I teach lessons and perform live music in and around San Diego CA. Sometimes I even make money doing it!
    I don’t know what the hell that second thing is, but I’d steer clear of that one.

    the first one is actually in the ballpark of an exercise tool I used after a hand injury, but I’m not sure that’s a movement that needs to be exercised that way. Grip exercisers and things like that are also used for rehab, and while there’s no reason not to add some extra work in, in my experience, unless you’re dealing with a specific hand problem, large muscle group and core exercises are much more beneficial, because that’s what should be doing most of the work.

    There’s no harm in trying to improve your reach, but those gimmicks aren’t going to make much of a difference. I’d recommend spider drills; there are many versions you can look up on YouTube. Here’s an old video I did of a lesson on them, you can use all the same movements and skip a fret between each note to really get a workout ;) I think I stole my pattern from John Pattitucci, so you might just skip the middle man and look for his.

    20GLJazz likes this.
  19. ga_edwards


    Sep 8, 2000
    UK, Essex
    Yep, one finger per fret technique is over rated IMHO. I remember a Scott Devine video sometime ago where he more or less said the same thing. One finger per fret is okay up the the dusty end when you’re soloing but it’s near impossible to maintain down the business end of the neck when your holding down a groove. Do what feels comfortable.

    Lobster11, WrapRough and 20GLJazz like this.
  20. 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.

    Jun 21, 2021

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