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Hand Exercises - UPDATE

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by bassplayerjojo, Jun 24, 2002.

  1. I posted awhile back a question about what I can do in addition to practice to increase my finger speed, and got some mixed responses. Some said the Gripmaster was a sure bet, but others told me that they don't do anything, and could cause carpel tunnel. One person mentioned that Chinese Balls are good, while others said it was just a stupid idea. Being an open minded person, I decided to give them both a whirl. I bought a medium tension Gripmaster, but instead of just continuosly squeezing and releasing, I would press down and just hold for awhile, cutting down on the repetitive moments that could cause carpel tunnel. I targeted a lot on my left hand pinky and ring finger, being the obvious weaker of the 5. Also I would switch between both hands just holding down all 4 for about 20 seconds each. I also bought a pair of chinese balls on ebay for $5. I didn't use those as much as the Gripmaster, but I would do that like when I was reading, or watching tv or whatever. I noticed the first day that the chinese balls definately released some tension I had in my hands and wrists, which is good because I work on a computer all day. I did this for about 2 weeks, and then took a break from all of that for 2 days before my next gig. Well I must say I noticed a huge improvement. I was able to move around the fretboard faster and more accurately, which resulted in more confident and overall better playing. I noticed that my movements were also more agile and smooth, very flowy. I attribute that more to the Chinese balls than the gripmaster. So for anyone who has thought of trying it and for all who are skeptical, I highly reccomend you give it a whirl, you just might be surprised.

    PS - Of course I reccomend all this IN CONJUNCTION with practice, for which there is no substitute. :)
  2. BassMann2112


    Jun 21, 2002
    Thanks for the update. I will try the chineese balls.
    Try this as well, I posted this one for Kirbywrx on another thread line... it reads:

    for left hand speed drills try these: using two fingers, first play your 3rd fret to 4th fret from your E (or B) string to your G string, ascending and descending...Like this, <1st finger 3rd fret, 2nd finger 4th fret would be (ascending)> from your E (or B) string to your G string playing each string E,A,D and G = ascending. Then the opposite for your descending <2nd finger 4th fret, 1st finger 3rd fret from your G string to your E string> use them in set's <1st try this with your 1st and 2nd finger a few times then use your 2nd and 3rd for the exorcise and lastly and most difficult is doing this with your 3rd and 4th fingers> You can use any two fret's you like, and you can also play 4th to 6th fret style for more stretch. Remember to do it ascending and descending. make sure you understand that this will help your accuracy and will help develop those finger muscles for speed. You can take it further with set's of three as well. 3 fingers on your neck and 3 fingers on each string. as you play this you will notice how terrible this sounds. Later you will see your scales will seem much easier. It helped me quite a bit.
    Good luck with these instructions you will probably need it.
  3. WillPlay4Food

    WillPlay4Food Now With More Metal! Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    Orbiting HQ
    My instructor gave me this lesson last week to specifically work on the ring and pinky fingers.

    I'm only demonstrating this in tab for simplicity, so no attacks by clan TAB-Evil, OK? ;) :p


    Do this exercise starting at 90bpm using all 8th notes (remember, I've only been playing for 2+ months. Some of you people could probably do this at 4000bpm in your sleep. Well, good for you then! ;) ). As you get better, increase bpm.

    Do this in first position for 4 reps, then move to 2nd position and repeat, etc. up to 12th position. Then move back down to 1st position. Then do this on the A & D strings and finally on the E & A strings. Do this for about 15 minutes every OTHER day.

    You will definitely feel this, do it every other day so you don't strain anything.
  4. I just won my new set-of-balls for $1.25 on eBay!!! :D

    Now what do I do with them when they arrive? :confused:

  5. Starrchild


    Nov 10, 2000
    The Bay.
    Play with them duh:rolleyes: ...
    from my understanding you rotate them in the palm
    of you're hand clockwise and counterclockwise,
    the key is the not here them chime.
  6. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Yes, exactly. Either don't let the touch at all, or don't let them come apart at all. Never let them ping together.
  7. BlindSide


    Oct 11, 2002
    Wausau, WI
    If you need to resort to "exercises" you aren’t practicing with your bass enough.

    NOTHING will make you play bass better than playing your bass. If you had put the same amount of time into practicing (hard to reach) notes and lines you still would have come away with a better night playing. If you feel that one or more of your fingers are not strong enough, then you are simply not utilizing them enough in your practice routine.

    Stop playing with your balls and start playing your bass man.

    Of course, this is just my opinion.
  8. What would some good warm up riffs or scales be? or where can i find em?
  9. Fliptrique


    Jul 22, 2002
    Szczecin, Poland
    Endorsing Artist: Mayones Guitars&Basses
    in a bus? while being 400 km away from your strings? etc. etc.
  10. BlindSide


    Oct 11, 2002
    Wausau, WI
    Well, if you are 400 km from your bass and you need to keep your fingers busy...by all means, play with your balls. :D

    Heck, I don't play my bass all the time...and sometimes we all play with something other than our bass. ;)
  11. DarkMazda


    Jun 3, 2000
    Here are some exercises i do for warmups on my left hand


    this is a good exercise.. start slow and gradually go faster and faster... here is another good one


    these 2 are REALLY helpful in your left hand

    PS: Make sure to use your index finger for the 1st fret, middle finger for 2nd fret, ring finger for 3rd fret and the pinky for the 4th fret

    Try them out!


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