Good hand exercises

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Justin V, Jan 22, 2002.

  1. Justin V

    Justin V

    Dec 27, 2000
    Alameda, CA
    What are some good exercises (sp?) for strengthening left hand digits (specifically ring and pinky fingers).

    Also, are those finger weight things any good, or just a pain?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    The best exercize is playing. The only exercize you should ever use to strengthen your fingers is to play. Just play. Nothing else.

    Finger weights and squeeze mechanisms are no good. They use muscles in a different pattern than you do for playing. Also, they're likely to build more muscle than you want, which can inhibit your playing.

    Stay FAR away from any of those gimmicks!!!!!
  3. supergreg


    Jan 20, 2002
    My bass teacher taught me this. Ill tab it out the best i can

  4. My problem is I have trouble pressing the string down good. I find myself having to consentrate on pressing the string down to keep the strings from buzzing.
  5. Yvon

    Yvon Supporting Member

    Nov 2, 2000
    Montreal, Canada
    I'll try to explain it...not easy.

    On the E string fret between 1 and 4, one finger per fret.
    Fret the first fret with your first finger, 2nd, with 2nd finger ect.....


    all the combination you can find.

    Do the first combination for a while then do the second one.

    Start slowly with a metronome, and listen!!!
  6. absinthe

    absinthe Guest

    Jan 20, 2002
    Great Britain
    Thank you! This simple lil' thing has helped me enormously! Nobody told me about this stuff before....and I didn't realise how weak my pinky was till I tried this. I've also realised that I can play smoother, faster and more accurately with a stronger pinky - I've been trying the basslines I'm familiar with using all my fingers now and there is a huge improvement.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! :D
  7. That's what I've been doing for months, and months, trust me, it pays off. Another thing to start working on early, is your ears. I really regret being a TAB junkie for my first year and a half of playing. Pop on a cd, find a song you won't get tired of(chances are you'll have to listen to it quite a few times...) that has a decent bass line...not super super tough, but challenging. Figure it out by ear. It's one of the most valuable things to learn EVER! Goodluck. Oh, repetition, repetition, repetition.

  8. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    One thing I highly recommend is to use your own imagination! It gets the creative juices flowing and gets you thinking about some things you wouldn't normally think of.

    For example, close your eyes and hum something that you've had in your head lately. Then, try playing it. Maybe it won't be very close to what you heard. But, you tried! That's a valuable exercize.

    Another thing you can try is to create a shape, such as a box or diagonal line or something. Trace that on your fretboard while plucking each note individually. It'll be very hard at first. But, you'll be able to come up with your own exercizes that way. Most pros have done just that and come up with their own recommended way of practicing finger strength and speed and accuracy.
  9. bizzaro


    Aug 21, 2000
    Make sure you are pressing down the string right behind, almost on the fret, you are playing. This will improve your tone, takes less effort(strength), and will give you more controll overall.;)
  10. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    And check to make sure your action is properly adjusted...;)
  11. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    proper action imo varries from player to player, some like it high (why ill never know) some like it low.
  12. This one really helped me with dexterity across the board.

    Play this 1-finger-per-fret somewhere comfortable on the neck (5th fret?).

    Play 1-2-3-4 all on the same string (say E), then 1 on E, but 2-3-4 on the A. Then 1 on E, 2-3-4 on D. Etc up and down. So the 1st finger is always on E, the rest move up and down.

    Then on to the second finger. Play 2 on E then 1-3-4 on A. 2 on E, 1-3-4 on D, etc. up and down.

    Doing this for all four fingers really helped me in keeping my hand/finger movements perpendicular to the strings, and in isolating each finger from the rest.

    Try it, you might like it.
  13. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    True, but if the player's notes buzz quite a bit, one thing he might consider is lowering the action.;)
  14. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    If your buzzing quite a bit, youd want to raise your action, this will lift the string off the fret a bit and hopefully get rid of the buzz.

    If you lower the action, your creating less tension on the string, bringing it closer to the frets, which will create more buzzing.
  15. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Cassanova, I would normally agree with you. However, I inferred (perhaps to my detriment) that the player above may have problems with fret buzzing due to lack of hand strength and poor finger placement on the fret, as opposed to string height.

    This problem was implied in the above discussion. You're talking about something a little different. But, I do agree with you.
  16. absinthe

    absinthe Guest

    Jan 20, 2002
    Great Britain
    Spookily enough, I did that this morning, hours before I read this! I ususally like my action as low as possible but the extra height has minimised the buzzing a lot! It was just too low....even for me.

    And I've noticed that the more you play, the more you get used to a higher action. I tried playing with the action at this height when I first started - no way! But now it's quite comfortable. :)
  17. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well I can see there has been some discussion - but my reaction to this particular situation is that the action is probably too high and that you want to look at lowering it to get a more comfortable playing position, rather than looking at strengthening your muscles.