fretting hand technique

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by danqi, Jul 24, 2001.

  1. danqi


    May 21, 2001
    I have been playing for a few months now and I noticed a certain habit of my fretting hand. I am not sure if it is normal or if it could even be harmfull. Especially when fretting notes on the D and G strings I put pressure on the strings not by pressing my thumb against the back of the neck but my palm just where the fingers meet it. I hope my "illustration" of it helps to clearify what I mean.
    Imagine looking down along the neck.

    I just want to get rid of my bad habits before it is too late. Is this something I need to work on?

  2. What a cool picture. I don't really know about this fretting business. There are loads of internet sites that teach bass, they should mention stuff like this. Try,
  3. hujo


    Apr 18, 2001
    Stockholm, Sweden
    That's not good, you look like a guitarist! Just move your thumb down to approx the middle of the neck, and straighten your wrist. Your thumb shold be about level with your index finger, if you know what i mean.
  4. This is just my opinion and don't believe me as I'm not a pro.

    Well I believe there isn't an absolute right way. If you feel comfortable, this is right and I don't believe that there is always just one way as "one size fits all". But what you should take into consideration is there are wrong ways which can be harmful to your wrist and fingers. The more you keep your wrist bent the more it can damage your nerves and muscles, the more you keep your fingers stretched the more you force your muscles and wrist. The way you hold the neck depends on how high you wear your bass as well. For example if you wear it too low, it can be painful to fret your fingers perpendicular to the fretboard. Well this just my thoughts anyway...

    BTW your drawing is very good for explanation, the more simple, the better...
  5. lump


    Jan 17, 2000
    St. Neots, UK
    I agree with Mr. M, in that there are no absolutes. As long as it isn't hurting your hand and doesn't interfere with your playing, it probably isn't a problem - for now. Just realize that what doesn't hurt when you're 18 may hurt when you're 25 or 30. That's why few guys over 30 (who can actually play - see "The Thread That Wouldn't Die") wear their bass hanging down around their ankles. If you are using your fretting hand to support the neck, it's time to shorten your strap.

    Probably the most important technique I've learned on this board is a DB trick, which is to think about pulling your fingers into the fretboard with your back and shoulder muscles, instead of jamming your thumb into the back of the neck and squeezing with your fingers. As an experiment, try to play without your thumb touching the back of the neck AT ALL. If you can't do it, you're using your hand muscles too much, and you are definitely looking at a future of cramps or worse, nerve damage. Use your back and try to lighten up on the thumb. It'll definitely give you more stamina, and may prevent future damage.

  6. danqi


    May 21, 2001
    Thanks, I will try to use that DB trick you mentioned, lump. And maybe I will even shorten my strap although it is actually not that low.
    The only problem with that DB trick is that when I attempt to play by using my thump only a little I need to keep my right hand in an akward and unhealthy position to keep the bass in place. But I guess that I am just gonna need some practice to get used to that style of playing and figure out the right amount of thump pressure.