1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

First time bassist, hands too small

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by radicalrhett, Feb 1, 2014.

  1. radicalrhett


    Feb 1, 2014
    Hello, I'm 16 year old female whose hands are just a little too small to fit around the neck of the bass comfortably. Are there stretches I can do to help ease the pain a little? And second question, My teacher is teaching me the chords first, should i learn how to read music first or should i learn the chords first?
  2. Twocanbassman


    Jan 31, 2014
    Try a smaller scale bass, like a Squier Bronco or Mustang. There's also brands like Daisy Rock that make smaller scale entry level basses for smaller hands
  3. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    Good question. You are paying someone to teach you. Listen to what your instructor is saying. He/she has decided on a regiment that is best for you.

    We play chord tones 90% of the time so yes chords would be a place to start.

    Reading music first. Depends on what you will be playing. Standard Notation is something we all need to have under our fingers, however if you are going to play in a cover band, most cover bands play from fake chord sheet music. So it kinda depends.

    To learn how to hold the beast, tune it, get sound from it and then how to mute some of the unwanted sound will keep you occupied for awhile. When you finish that you'll know about reading.

    Don't be afraid to discuss this with your instructor.

    Welcome to the bottom end.
  4. SunnBass

    SunnBass All these blankets saved my life.

    Aug 31, 2010
    Columbia, Mo
    Um, what bass are you using?
    Some have smaller necks than others.
    I love my P-Bass but my hands aren't huge.
    A Jazz bass neck feels and fits better for me.
    There is also the option of a short scale bass.
    If you have a decent music store in your area spend a day trying out the different models. There's one for you , I promise.
  5. aprod

    aprod Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2008
    Try an Ibanez. Nice slim necks. Ask your teacher about using the 1,2, 4 fingering for your left hand vs one finger per fret which is a guitar technique. Your left thumb should not be wrapped around the neck rather have it pointing toward the headstock a bit. And yes chords are important. That how music works, chordally not scales.
  6. G00D+~VIBES


    Nov 21, 2008
    Kansas City
    Whenever I feel like I can't do something, I look on YouTube for videos of children doing it well.

    Then I remember that all I need is patience and practice.
  7. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    Definitely try 1-2-4 fingering. My view is that folks with smaller hands can still play bass, but just have to be all the more conscious of using disciplined, safe technique.
  8. Hevy T

    Hevy T Supporting Member

    Jan 11, 2011
    Lethbridge, AB Canada
    You have several options, some were already mentioned.

    Here are a few more

    1. Short Scale Squier Jag
    2. Ibanez Mikro
    3. Short Scale SX
    4. Ibanez SR 300 (This would be my choice) It is full 34" scale but has a really small comfy neck and they are usually really light, my last one was only 7lbs
  9. edpal

    edpal Banned

    Oct 3, 2007
    Not to pre-empt your instructor, but I think teaching chords first is a mistake. You'd learn the fingerboard and the patterns available faster from learning simple note songs. Learning to play chords would be a struggle for a beginner on bass and the vast majority of bassist rarely play chords. IF you meant learning the notes in chords played by other instruments - seems like a lot to dump into a beginners head.
    I wonder if the teacher is actually a bass player themselves - I'm thinking they should have assessed your hand size and made proper recommendations on smaller/thinner neck and short scale already. A guitarist who "plays a little bass" is not a good first teacher as they may not be that familiar with the wide range of neck sizes,scales and profiles out there.
    Stretching exercises are great but it's not like you are going to stretch your fingers to fit a neck that is too big like putting someone on the rack. That would be just medieval :D
    Good luck and welcome to the world of bass.
  10. If your hand is getting tired or "not fitting comfortably", you may be gripping the neck too tightly, or not dropping your fretting hand thumb down far enough, thereby causing unnecessary strain on the hands. Also, if you have just started playing, your hand will be sore for a while; that's just something that can't be avoided. Don't over do it, and it should get better over time.

    And as for chords, I think learning the notes in a chord or arpeggios is a good idea. It's certainly the building block of bass lines. Don't neglect learning your favourite songs though, both for fun and coordination.
  11. AaronVonRock


    Feb 22, 2013
    Get a short scale bass. It would probably making playing much easier and enjoyable for you. Do a search on Ebay (short scale bass) and you'll find all kinds of options.

    I would learn how to play three easy songs to start out with. I always find if more fun to play songs instead of scales or exercises from a book. Playing songs will help you with keeping time and technique. After a while, you'll see patterns develop and notice that a lot of songs use very similar structures and notes/chords. You can do all of this without learning how to read music.

    This website is a good place to find the bass tabs for some songs to play: www.songsterr.com
  12. pfox14


    Dec 22, 2013
    When I first learned bass at 12 years old, I had a Fender Mustang bass that had a short-scale (30" I believe) and it was much easier than a full-size bass. I would also recommend finding a short-scale bass like a Mustang or Musicmaster or equivalent. As far as your teacher teaching you chords, I would learn how to read music first, then learn scale and arpeggios (all the notes on the fingerboard), then worry about knowing chords. Is your teacher a guitar player? Sounds like he is.
  13. ejmy


    Nov 30, 2008
    Don't you just hate it when many people go out of their way to give intelligent answers to a thread and 12 hours later, not even a wink or thanks from the OP. Never too young to learn good manners.
  14. Not everyone lives attached by an umbilical cord to Talkbass. Some have a life (whatever that is ;)), and some live in far away time zones even.

    12hours? Give it 48, and then I may join you in the moaning. :cool:
  15. When I started out I got tired soon and got cramps sometimes. In my case it wasn't about stretching or thin necks... I was simply too tense and gripping the neck too hard.
    When I started to slap, the same thing, my shoulder would hurt... because I was rigid and tense.

    So my advice would be to watch your posture and consciously relax your arms and hands and play gently. You need little strength.
  16. Kaappari


    Nov 26, 2009
    This is so true. Relaxed hands, arms and shoulders are key to good technique and effortless playing.
  17. Winfred


    Oct 21, 2011
    Your hands aren't too small. Keep playing.
  18. Keep playing, strengthen that pinky! Don't be afraid to shift A LOT with your entire fretting hand and to change your playing angle.
  19. radicalrhett


    Feb 1, 2014
    Thank you everyone for your replies. I will take all of your advice and use it to its full extent. As for not replying immediately I had to do these wonderful things called sleeping, showering, shoveling snow, babysitting and homework. So I apologize my late response.
  20. brilliantorange


    Mar 15, 2013
    Fellow female with tiny hands here. As a poster above mentioned, try the 1-2-4 fingering. It really helps alleviate the strain. Also don't be afraid to shift your hand.

    If you are just learning to play though, your hand will be sore at first so it might just be normal