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Finger placement/dexterity

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by richardjones89, Jun 10, 2007.

  1. richardjones89


    Jun 6, 2007
    I have a problem regarding placement of my fingers on the frets which may be due down to poor finger dexterity. I place my first finger perfectly on the end of the fret, but my second finger will not be accurate in being placed on the end of the next fret in this hand position and will hug my first finger, so I have to slightly move my hand to a different angle. The same goes for the rest of the fingers that follow. My second finger just plants on it at an angle and I have to alter my hand position as a result.

    The diagram below is the most comfortable I can play going up the fretboard in blocks of fours onto the next string, and I have to adjust my thumb constantly to get the right angle on each string. Is this due down to poor technique or poor finger dexterity?


    It simply just wont do for me, I want to be able to do it easier instead of altering my hand positions every time. :rollno:
  2. There is a hand excersise that may help you.(no need to have your bass)
    Hold down your Ist finger and ring fingers with you thumb
    then hold down your middle and you pinky
    then alternate.
    Keep at it and it will ease your problem.
  3. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    Try keeping your thumb behind the neck ( about half way down) and lined up between the index and middle fingers.
  4. richardjones89


    Jun 6, 2007
    thanks for the advice! i will try it all out. i dont know if this has anything to do with anything, or even matters, but i was born with an inflexible thumb. i see people give a thumbs up and the tip of their thumb bends backards. mine does not however it just goes straight up.

    arg even the thumbs up icon can do it. that just dips the biscuit in the coffee that :p
  5. elpelotero


    Jun 16, 2006
    you have to much pressure and muscle tension in your hand. I can tell by the picture and your description of the problem.

    The exercise someone here mentioned is very good. I would also recommend you try this:

    Completely erase the tension in your arm by letting it hang by your side and shaking it for several seconds until you feel everything be very limp. Then, slowly raise your hand up to fretboard using your shoulder muscles. You hand should still be very limp, almost deadlike. Play some easy scales very slowly, using the least amount of pressure possible to play a note.

    Do this several times a day for a few weeks and you'll eventually get a very soft touch and finger independence, not to mention your fingers will learn to stay close to the frets.
  6. richardjones89


    Jun 6, 2007
    thanks! it seems that relaxsation is required here, cos many musicians say that being relaxed gets the most out of yourself instead of straining. my thumb sometimes feels sore after trying to play as a result of this position. i find it particulary hard to play at the bottom of the fretboard. i thought it may have been because my fingers arent flexible enough :crying:
  7. elpelotero


    Jun 16, 2006
    your thumb should be behind the neck, not over it. To picture this, find a cylindrical object, such as a coke can or something similar. Then just grab it with your hand. Your four fingers should cover the length of the object and your thumb should naturally sit on the other side and between your index and middle fingers.
  8. richardjones89


    Jun 6, 2007
    ive tried to correct the technique, and this is how it looks now trying to play Burn Baby Burn by Ash at the bottom of the neck. having the fingers closer to the fretboard makes it much easier to reach frets, however my thumb becomes under pressure and starts to ache and move back to the position it was in before on the last picture. why is this? is it not in the right place?

  9. BassChuck

    BassChuck Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    Make a fist. I'm betting your thumb is over your first and second finger. This is the way your hand works best, with the thumb under the first and/or second finger. If you keep your thumb in that same relation to your first and second finger, you have the most effiecent use of your hand.
  10. richardjones89


    Jun 6, 2007
    does this mean to have your hand in a shape that your thumb and first finger are an inch apart from forming a 'OK' sign with your hand and that the rest of your fingers are spread out but aligned to roughly the same length? could someone show a pic if possible please?
  11. IAmTheDood

    IAmTheDood Shake and Bake

    Dec 15, 2006
    Waterford, MI

    I have the same problem you do with my thumb. I've got a big fat thumb that doesn't bend backwards yet I play with the thumb in the position half way down the neck.

    if I keep in that position for any amount of time it starts to get sore. I've learned that you don't need that much pressure with the thumb on the neck and that helps ..

    also relaxing your wrist and still moving your wrist around when your going up and down strings helps ..
  12. BassChuck

    BassChuck Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    No. Your thumb should be opposite your first finger. When I'm playing my Rickenbacker the distance is small, because the neck is relatively thin. My Wishbasses have thick necks so.... you get the idea.
  13. PSPookie

    PSPookie Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2006
    Lubbock, TX
  14. richardjones89


    Jun 6, 2007
    yes, it does help to move the wrist around. but im not sure if im moving it around too much... is this considered a sloppy way of playing?
  15. mellobud


    May 17, 2007
    I learned from a guitar major to keep the fingers at an angle rather than perpindicular to the fretboard...much more comfortable.
    the fretboard is "tuners_______pickups" form a slight angle to the fretboard with your fingers___\\\\____with the thumb on the back of the neck with very little pressure.....He always said not to choke the fretboard

    also, bring the peghead up closer to your shoulders to minimize wrist cramp
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    Primary TB Assistant

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