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finger/hand strengthening device

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Precision345, Jan 21, 2014.

  1. Precision345


    Feb 19, 2013
    Not sure if this has been cover in the sticky's in this section or anywhere else. Forgive me if this is a repost of something that has already been covered.

    So i'm on the lookout for a device i can bring with me to work or anywhere outside the house to use for strengthening my hand & fingers. I've used this one before:

    It actually gave me joint paint so I stopped using it. Don't think it was working that great either

    I've also used this but can't seem to find it in my house:

    It was okay but didn't seem to do much for my fingers. Mostly just strengthening my thumb and overall grip

    I also used something similar to this and thought it wasn't that great


    Does anyone have any suggestions with experience to back it up???

    Any help is appreciated!
  2. topo morto

    topo morto

    Mar 22, 2010
    Yep : don't use one.
  3. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    The only way to get stronger is to play more.
    Get a small bass and put heavy strings on it.
  4. With a well setup instrument and good technique, you shouldn't need a whole lot of extra strength. Use only as much force as is required; turn your amp up and play with a light touch. Playing an instrument is all about economy of motion. If you want to get stronger, lift weights or go rock climbing.

    My 2 cents!
  5. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006

    OP you only need minimal strength to fret a string. You have this strength since you were very young. Besides, gripping devices do just that....develop grip. This is the opposite of what's required when playing the bass. It is the lifting of the fingers OFF of the fretboard (the opposite of gripping) and placing them where they are next required, that needs to be developed. Stamina and dexterity are quite different from strength.

    You already have the only "gadget" you require....the bass. ;)

    If you need to try something without the bass, then check out this clip :

  6. Ross AriaPro

    Ross AriaPro

    Dec 27, 2013
    Excellent point...if you press all four fingers on one string, one finger per fret, and then lift each finger one by one, you'll find that the ring finger in particular resists independent movement and causes stress in the back of forearm.
  7. pfox14


    Dec 22, 2013
    Too much risk involved with using these devices like tendinitis and repetitive motion injuries.
  8. Precision345


    Feb 19, 2013
    I think most of you are missing the point. I can't bring my bass to work and everywhere I go so I want to do something in between to strengthen my hands when I'm unable to play my bass
  9. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006

    With respect, I think it is your good self who is missing the point. :)

    As mentioned earlier, you already have the strength required to play the bass. I linked a clip containing exercises that can be done away from the bass.

    FWIW, here is another. There are lots of others on You Tube.

    These exercises are for dexterity and stamina.

  10. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    This issue with these devices is push down...not lift up.
    When you push down you relax your fingers at the bottom and the springs push your fingers off, so resistance is developed as a grip, resistance is developing your flexors muscle groups?... not your extensor muscle groups.
    playing bass is about putting your finger down and lifting it off, there is no springs on the fretboard to push your fingers back off.....let alone reposition them.

    To string cross for example, you push down, holf the tension to fret the note, then lift up and change postion to the new string and repeat.
    If all you have developed is pushing down, then that will make lifting up harder, never mind the co-ordinating a change of direction within that movement.

    Exercises, for most, will be lift your finger up.
    The simple exercise of putting your palm flat on a table and lifting each finger individually, holding it for 10secs is a great exercise.

    The use of Chinese Balls is another great exercise. If you cannot get Chinese Balls then use 3 Squash Balls, or make three balls out of Plastercine or Silly Putty.

    Try putting an rubber band around your finger tips and open fingers and hold for 10 sec. and relax. This exercise is the extensors version of the gripping device....the elastic band only exercises one muscle group, the ones to open or lift your fingers.

    There are many more but it depends on what a hands use is during the day, and of course the hands history, such as injury or disease at somepoint.

    Bass playing is Repetitive Motion, so expect related injuries or conditions at some point....because even of you do not play bass you will at some point develop RSI related problems, because the hands do repetative motion in daily life.:)
  11. Precision345


    Feb 19, 2013
    Thanks Fernie, this has been really helpful.
  12. Ross AriaPro

    Ross AriaPro

    Dec 27, 2013
    This video nails it...thanks for posting!
  13. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    This. Just play! That will strengthen your fingers in the right way. There's no device out there that will be a shortcut for gaining that strength.
  14. The best way to improve hand strength specifically for playing bass is to just play as much as possible. You can sit on the couch and just play unplugged while watching tv it doesn't have to be very mentally involved. The gadgets to improve hand strength are not good for bass playing. Basically there are several issues with them. For one think of how different people work out for different builds. You want your hands to build endurance not necessarily strength so you have to do "cardio" for your hands not "bodybuilding" if that makes sense.
  15. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    All these devices develop brute force which is exactly the opposite of what you want to play bass. They will degrade rather than improve your playing.
    Just ask construction working and body-building bass players how difficult it is for them to combine their activities.
    To play bass you want accurate and quick, reactive movements. It implies a lot of flexibility and this kind of gadget works against it.
  16. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Intergalactic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon sofware
  17. elgecko


    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    There was a pretty good thread on these a while back:


    Here's what I wrote in that thread:

    1. The muscles that work your fingers are in your forearm. You COULD use the Powerball to gain strength by running it at a higher RPM but as bass players, that doesn't really help. You can only press down on the strings so hard. I feel it's most useful at lower RPMs for building stamina...and you can never have too much stamina!

    2. Unlike the squeeze balls and spring-loaded fret doohickies which only really present resistance in one direction, the resistance of the Powerball is omni-directional, present at any angle you care to move your hand about your wrist.

    3. For best results, avoid powerballing like the girl in the video (i.e. getting your whole arm into it). Isolate the motion to your wrist, keeping your arm still.

    4. The sound really is cool! It makes for an almost meditative activity!

    5. Of course playing bass is the best way to gain endurance! Duh...but you can't play bass while taking a walk, you can't play bass while holding/drinking a beer, you can't play bass while you drive to work, and you can't play the bass while dropping wolf bait...actually, I bet there are people on TB who have! :p
  18. okcrum

    okcrum in your chest

    Oct 5, 2009
    Verde Valley, AZ
    RIP Dark Horse strings
    Squeeze a tennis ball. Or just your fingers. Maintain a perfect circle with the thumb and finger you are squeezing. Your fingers will get stronger. Just don't overdo it. This was an exercise my DB instructor taught me when I started.

    EDIT: The important part is maintaining a circle when doing the exercise. Collapsing knuckles are what you are trying to avoid. Once you have some basic finger control and strength from doing these, then playing will take care of the rest.
  19. Kbone_ATL


    Sep 12, 2010
    Atlanta, GA
    Jazz AD said it best...

    I used to use those finger exercisers at work all day and found that when I went to play bass, I was over-gripping and it made me worse!
    I have a tiny hands and aren't very strong at all, what I find works the best for me is doing finger stretches and being more limber more than strong.
  20. sowilson


    Jul 5, 2013
    20 lbs of rice into a 2-5gal pail. Start by placing your finger tips into the rice and moving the rice around. Now, move your hand in deep while moving your finger tips and keep going until your hand is all the way in. You can do grip drills and speed drills with this. It's very good for strengthening the hand and forearm. Baseball catchers do this a lot, works for bass too.