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Fretting hand stamina

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by leanne, Mar 9, 2003.

  1. leanne


    May 29, 2002
    Rochester, NY
    My search on this topic didn't come up with what I was looking for...

    How can I strengthen my left hand such that I can play longer closer to the nut? Can anyone suggest any exercises? I do all kinds of left hand exercises all over the neck, and I don't get tired easily above the 4th fret, but the first four frets kill me if I've gotta stay there. It is embarrassing. :(

  2. Lackey


    May 10, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Hmm,, I'm thinking you could try lowering your strap a few inches,, then tilting the bass neck a little bit more vertical. Of course,, this will make it harder to reach high notes, but It might be worth a shot.
  3. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Leanne, it's really pretty simple. You get the stamina by playing there. Try playing a little longer each day. Stop if it hurts! Just keep doing what you're doing.
  4. Fliptrique


    Jul 22, 2002
    Szczecin, Poland
    Endorsing Artist: Mayones Guitars&Basses
    Play peter gunn`s theme everyday:)
  5. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    can I repeat what pacman said: STOP WHEN IT HURTS!

    do NOT play through the pain....this will tear your muscle fibers more than they can repair themselves in any haste, if you have a regular pracitce regime especially. the way you build strength is to work out, which tears muscle fibers a little. Then,as is the nature of all growth, when they heal they heal in greater qauntities,hence more muscle....however...if you repeatedly tear the muscle fibers and don't allow the time to heal, then you can stand to SERIOUSLY **** up your hand.
  6. ConU


    Mar 5, 2003
    La Belle Province
    Relax your hand when you're in that position,let your hand collapse,don't try for the finger per fret if you can't easily do it...it will come,but let it come in a musical way,practicing real music that necessitates that position.
  7. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    As ConU said, don't feel that you have to use one finger per fret in the lower positions - are you familiar with the alternatives?

    Also, what's making you want to play lower down? Sometimes the answer is just to find somewhere more comfortable on the neck - it's good to build up strength but don't damage your hands while trying to get there.

  8. sk8boarder317

    sk8boarder317 Guest

    Mar 5, 2003
    Madison, WI
    I 100% agree with that statement!
  9. secretdonkey


    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    I find what often eats my lunch is playing a gig, where you're doing a simple part that repeats ad infinitum and you can't let up because it's YOU driving the song. The song ends and your forearm is throbbing, but you breathe out, relax and are happy it's over. You look at the set list to see what's next and, lo, it's another left hand torture song! :bawl:

    Anyway, no doubt that practice is the answer. I play with a relatively high action so it's important for me to 'stay in shape' but I'm not always dilligent enough to keep from having to push myself into pain at the gig (shame on me).

    I like to play a 'workout' song or just a riff that repeats the same left hand motions, but allows for the right hand to have a bit of fun. Because I can devote more mental energy to what the right hand is doing, it's actually doubly productive. Now if could only discipline myself to do this every single day! ;)
  10. jaybo

    jaybo Guest

    Sep 5, 2001
    Richmond, KY
    Asides from your hands just not being used to fretting notes on the bass improper technique is a likely cause of physical pain in playing. Have you had any other bass players check out your hand positions? Drop down to the DB side of the board and look up Simandl fingerings for some ideas on fingerings other than 1 fret per finger.
  11. camoe


    Sep 7, 2001
    Lafayette, CO
    Here is my workout for the low frets.

    F G G# A B C B A G# G F E F

    (Ironically it's a Malmsteen bass riff..and you know how fast and long that fool can play..even if it is repetetive)

    Play this on the E and A string slowing at first taking note of hand position and making absolutely sure your hands are relaxed. Go slow and accurately and build up. It's all about technique. Do this daily for a month and you'll be crushing rocks with those hands (well not really...but your stamina and technique should improve.

  12. coloradok1d

    coloradok1d Guest

    Mar 10, 2003
    This really helped my stamina!!!! My band does this song called "didi" and it requires doing lots and lots and lots of pull offs. Mainly major a and e scales starting at the 12 and nut. It helped me out so much.

    It's funny that you posted this becaue I'm in the boat next to yours. My right hand jizzes out near the last three songs of the night. I'm trying now to use my index, middle, and ring finger to do the work but it's hard. Requires me to think while I play and I hate that. I like to just play without thinking but it will come.
  13. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    I don't know if this has been mentioned yet, but while staying on the first four frets, work out an E chromatic scale. You'll be behind the 5th fret, plus you'll be using all 4 fingers. It's a good warm up for me. Then, if you want to, work your way up the neck, F chromatic scale G... etc.
  14. warwickbass


    Dec 8, 2001
    Ya know... just how much pain is too much pain? I'll just lace into my left hand, and it burns... but burn is good right? anywho if i let it burn long enough it just stops burning. so whats the pain meter gotta be at to do damage?
  15. leanne


    May 29, 2002
    Rochester, NY
    Thanks all for your advice. I've been working on this for a couple months now, since one day when I was jamming with a friend and noticed how I kept having to shift up an octave when I was playing low because I was too tired.

    I've not really been feeling any improvement, but... I recently restrung with different strings than usual, and the new ones are more flexible than what I normally use. It's much easier to fret the notes with these strings, so my hand doesn't have to work quite as hard. Which is cool, until I go back to the other strings. :)

    There are a couple cover tunes I want to play for which there really isn't an alternative (with a 4 string).
  16. play 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' over and over and over again. this song is so basic and boring on bass, and never goes higher than the 4th fret. easy little riff to practice and build stamina.

    could also try lowering your action.

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