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Fingers with a mind of their own

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by spcjdoty, May 20, 2011.


  1. spcjdoty

    spcjdoty

    Dec 31, 2009
    Lansing, Kansas
    I apologize if this is a repeat of this topic, but I found nothing that fits my situation.

    I am having a problem with my middle and ring fingers. If I am using my 2nd finger on C (for example) and try hit C# with my ring finger they bunch up and curve together (inward). This only happens when I try to move from my 2nd finger to the 3rd chromatically.
    I am using the book "Bass Fitness by J. De Pres" to gain more dexterity when I noticed this issue. This problem happens when I get to the higher frets (7-24). It is like the middle and ring fingers do not want to work separately. Is there any stretching or additional exercises I can do to fix these two fingers?
     
  2. NoiseNinja

    NoiseNinja Experimental-psychedelic-ambient-noise-drone Banned

    Feb 23, 2011
    Denmark
    LSD jam session.
     
  3. sammyp

    sammyp

    Aug 20, 2010
    NB, Canada


    i had the store i teach at order in that book as i figured i may like it for myself and my students ....i didn't realize the whole book was 1234 stuff ...

    you know ...i do a bit of the standard 1234 but that stuff is way too unmusical to spend much time on ...there are far more musical exercise and runs in Essential Concepts for Bass - hal leonard or even this $10 downloaded E book for Mel Bay - 101 Licks & Ex for Bass by Dan Gutt ....all my current favorite workout stuff is from either of these books ....the de pres one just looked like crap to me ....granted will aid in develpoing 4 string, independant fingers but it's really at the expense of time spend playing musical lines!
     
  4. fearceol

    fearceol

    Nov 14, 2006
    Ireland
    Possibly everything you say is true, but it does not answer the OP's question.

    OP : The best advice IMO is to play above the fifth fret, maybe on the seventh. Place the index finger on the 7th fret, hold it there while you place the 2nd finger on the 8th fret. Hold this down too, as you place your ring finger on the next fret. Hold that down if you can, while you finally fret with the pinkie. If you do this two or three times as part of your practice session, in time, your fingers will adapt. Make sure you warm up with gentle stretches before any practice session.

    This clip is really for noobs , but at 05.31 it shows the above exercise, though the whole clip is worth a look.

    YouTube - ‪Beginner Bass Guitar Lesson: Left Hand Technique‬‏
     
  5. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Braintree
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    Simple stretch to help this is to hold you fingers out staight and together, then open them apart sideways between the middle and ring finger. Any Star Trek fan will know this as the Vulcan hand sign. What this exercise does is gentley stretch the tendons at this point. Your ring and middle finger share some of the same anatomy that is why the work together.

    Once you have learned this movement, you can now refine it.

    1/ Open and close this movement as fast as you can within 15 secs. The idea here is to build up speed and dexteriy of the movement, not be able to do it for longer...that is stamina. The idea is that as you get better at it, you increase the number of times you can repeat them in 15 sec..the goal is to do more in the set time.

    2/ Again open the hand as described. Now just flex/bend the ring and little finger up and down towards the pad of the hand while keeping the middle and index straight. Then change over and have the index and middle flex/bend while keeping the ring and little finger straight.

    The idea is that the fingers work in pairs across the opening of the middle and ring finger tendons to gently stretch them to be acustomed to a movement they do not usually use....the fingers opening and spreading to the sides.
    As with all exercise of this nature it is regular use of them that matters not doing them for long periods, about 5mins a day should be fine...that is 5 mins every day, not wait till the weekend and do 25 mins. Again it is just regular use of a motion we take for granted.
    Any questions or additional info drop me a PM or post here
     
  6. spcjdoty

    spcjdoty

    Dec 31, 2009
    Lansing, Kansas
    Thanks to all for the advice. I am going to give it a try
    :D
     
  7. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Braintree
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    You make a good point on the "un-musical side" of any exercise, but ultimately that is its strong point, it is "un-musical" to a player so it leaves the brain with no pre-concieved ideas on what it is doing......but is it "un-musical" to others. Just because a player does not understand a concept or hear music in it does not mean that others do.
    In music parts come together to create great music, listen to any Big Band from the 30s/40s. In their arrangments some of the instrument parts on their own would make no sense to a vast group of modern players because the would regard it as "un-musical". An orchestra score would provise the same challange, as would Eastern Music.

    In using muisical ideas in technique practice you tie the two together, the idea is to seperate them. The idea is to play what is required not what feels right to the player...this applies even more for those that sight read.

    Most people have heard Doe a dear, from the sound of music. Its a song based of the major scale and uses only notes from the major scale. Now i we look at that as intervals rather than notes and play it we notice the fingering pattern would be the same regardless of where we would transpose it but the note pitches would be different..but it would still sound musical.

    But if we change the scale to a Minor but keep the same intervals, it changes the song in a certain way that allows the brain to get involved. Try it and feel what that is like. If you do not know the song, learn it, it is simple to play.
    But know because you associate that flow of the notes to be the melody based in a major scale using the major intervals it becomes part of the thought process. By changing that flow to a Minor scale, using the minor scale intervals with the same flow and timing, your brain will get in the way at some point because it will deem what you are playing wrong, then doubt will become a factor, followed by hesitation, then mistakes. rather than just playing you are now second guessing.

    The idea is in the major the song starts with intervals R-2-3-R-3-R-3-2-3-4-4-3-2-4-3-4-5-3-5-3-5-4-5-6-6-5-4-6....etc etc

    Now try that in a Minor scale, or if you know modes do it through the other six....because you associate it with the original music, at some point you will struggle to seperate the two, rather than just play what is required or being asked of you......that is the beauty of Josquin des Pres book...the clue is in the title "Bass Fittness, An Exercising Handbook".:)
     
  8. sammyp

    sammyp

    Aug 20, 2010
    NB, Canada
    you guys make good points ..all this stuff has it's time and place ....here is my experience and the reason for my headstrongness...

    as a young guitar player in the late 80's i spent alot of time on 1234 and scales etc with a metronome ..i also had a good teacher who prepped my theory extremely well for jazz studies at university ...so at 3 years of playing i had some good technique and a head full of theory....

    i signed up for university and as all the guitar players made the rounds of hanging out and meeting each other i landed upon this kid who was a little behind me in theory and scale work but just happened to know almost the entire Van Halen catalogue - leads and rhythms - played it very well for an 18 year old ....he was very well rounded ...knew a vast amount of songs and played some classical ....didn't play many exercises because everything he needed was in the songs he learned....

    who was the better player? he still is! LOL and a best friend

    this had a huge impact on me and as i teach now for a living i do hand out exercises but i try to make sure my students are developing a repretoire of songs and styles...
     
  9. fearceol

    fearceol

    Nov 14, 2006
    Ireland
    Some very good points, and well made. My view on the subject is this. Technique, exercises, theory, reading etc are all tools of the trade. The more tools you have in your arsenal the better. How a person puts those tools to use is a personal thing, and varies a lot from person to person. If one person is "better" than the next, then that's not the fault of the "tools". ;)
     
  10. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Braintree
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    Great post and i hear what you are saying, but it is a personal one.....your friend sound very good and acomplished in his area of playing, but better...???...well rounded...???...does he feel he has missed out on other things???.... well how can he if he has never tried them, or if he could..could he explain it...is he good in-spite of what he done, or because of what he done?

    It may not matter to players or students in the short term what they do, but i will matter in the long term, i only say this because to call the Bass Fitness book crap i feel you misunderstood what its purpose is.

    In my experience everyone around me speaks English, everyone in the next town, speaks English, no matter where i go for hundreds of miles..everyone speaks English. That means everybody everywhere speaks English, so there is no need to ever learn another language, i can go any where i want in this world and know that English is spoken by all.......but that is just my experience...not reality:)
     
  11. staindbass

    staindbass

    Jun 9, 2008
    do your fingers just touch/rub or are they getting in the way to the point where you cannot do what you intend on the fretboard? not all hands work the same. i knew a girl who's knees rubbed together too but it didnt stop her, lol. everytime something is difficult for me i flatten my fingers more- instead of playing near the tips or points of my fingers, i will try using the flats. ( hold your hand flat on a table, where your finger tips tips start to touch the table, use that area,it may help ). johnny a. staind
     
  12. spcjdoty

    spcjdoty

    Dec 31, 2009
    Lansing, Kansas
    Here is a picture of the way Place my hand on the upper frets.
    I have to force the ring finger to the right place or i get the fret buzz rattle.
     

    Attached Files:

  13. AcidFripp

    AcidFripp

    Jul 12, 2010
    That's been known to fix pretty much any musical problem.
     
  14. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Braintree
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    Good Picture, but standard problem for any player. Finger length has a slight bearing on such a problem as does the how the hand works naturally. If you bring all you fingers in to the palm the move closer together, as they do when you curl them. I will give you one more exercise based on the picture,

    Curl the fingers in to the palm (make a fist but leave the thumb outside the fingers resting on the side of the forefinger). Stretch the thumb out to the side and straighten the main knuckle joint ( this will put the hand in a position where the fingers are all bent touching the base pads of the fingers).
    From here and holding this position spead the fingers sideways, you will notice that the fingers open the fingertips come off the palm and it resembles a "claw" about to open.

    Repeat this exercise a few minutes a day, get the feeling that when you are in the "claw" part you can move individual fingers to each side rather than back or forwards. Don't worry if you can't, just open the claw wider till you can do this movement of the fingers moving sideways to each other. Once you have a starting point, then slightly close the "claw" and repeat the movements from the new position.
    When finished each time open the hand fully and stretch the fingers and then give the hands a shake, this will loosen off the rigours of the exercise.

    Because of the way the hand works naturally, you are never exercising a movement that is needed to fret and play in life, in life it is about holding and gripping, the last thing you need to frt notes. The bench mark on this (and the other exercises) is the fact the fingertips will become further apart in the postions you show in the pic. One this has been achieved, playing will take care of the exercise side, but feel free to use them as warm ups, or as part of warm ups..:bassist:
     
  15. I can't bnd my pinky without also bending my ring. Most people I know don't have this problm, but I can't figure out how to work it out.
     
  16. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Braintree
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    Barring any physical problem, the issue is one of understanding the motion. The motion is two fold, you can bend your little finger and have the ring finger follow. Many would attempt many ways of trying to correct this motion by restraining the the offending finger.
    But if you bend the little finger and the ring finger follows, once the little finger has reached the limit of its movement, simply move the ring finger back to straight and concentrate on keeping the little finger bent. Movement has two seperate sets of opposing muscles that pull, so both directions can be worked on to have the same result or to help with independence. So if you see a picture of someone with just there middle finge bent we would assume he just bent it to that position, we never consider that they were all bent and he straightened them all up....except the middle finger.

    Trying to restrain or restict a movement seems like a good idea but it is a false one. In the fingers let them follow then see if you can move any offender back, or close to back to the starting position. You will soon find that a two way movement develops because controlled choice is being used a opposed to restriction, which is not a choice.;)
     
  17. Chris K

    Chris K

    May 3, 2009
    Gorinchem,The Netherlands
    Partner: Otentic Guitars
    First off all reread what Fergie wrote and then read it again. After that, read my pages, link below.

    Do not stretch your thumb like that, but curve it, like if you are holding a soda can (tip came from a DB instructional video). Your wrist is flexed far to much.

    If you keep your left elbow near your side (but not against it) and you turn up the palm of your hand and then lift your hand a sniff, that's just about as far as you should flex your wrist, not further!
    Playing on the upper frets, you may move your thumb away from the back of the neck and move it to the lower rim of the fretboard.
     
  18. spcjdoty

    spcjdoty

    Dec 31, 2009
    Lansing, Kansas
    Great site. Thanks for the info on my wrist position. I used the advice.
     

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