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Hand Strengthing Excercises?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by tam82083, Jan 25, 2001.

  1. tam82083


    Jan 25, 2001
    I'm a big time NEWBIE, and like I'm trying to start off learning to use all 4 fingers. The thing is that every time i try to use my 5th finger it slips or i don't have enought strength to make a sharp note. If you guys have any insites on this please please please help me. I own a Squier Affinity P-Bass. And I'm 17 years old and very small male.
  2. do you mean 4 fingers on your fretting hand or your plucking hand? because you sure don't need to use your pinky for plucking.

    as far as your right hand, well i may have read this elsewhere on the forum but here's an exercise:
    start with your left index finger on G string 9th fret, middle finger D string 10th fret, ring finger G string 11th fret, and pinky D string 12th fret. now, keeping your first and ring fingers pressed down on the G string, play the D string alternating between your middle and pinky fingers. do this for a while, then switch strings: index finger D string 9th fret, middle on G string 10th fret, etc. and play the D string the same way. eventually try shifting between all your fingers in either position.
  3. 311 fan

    311 fan

    Sep 24, 2000
    La Verne, CA
    No! No! No! Try a hand strengthening devise. Tennis balls work fine. 10 mins a day will do you well. Keep practicing!
  4. stephanie


    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    My instructor gets a kick out of how my pinky likes to stay up in the air when I'm not using it! LOL :D

    I was given an exercise similar to the one dancehallclasher posted about. Plus I use some sort of device too. Both really help.

    And I need all the help I can get cuz I have very small hands! To give you an example: My pinky is only a teeny bit over 2 inches!!! Don't worry about size.

    Just work on those exercises and whatnot and you shall be fine. (See..this is what I tell myself)


  5. My pinky is barely over 2 inches, too, but I don't feel like I'm lacking anything there. Besides, it makes it all the more fun to stretch with my pinky on my fretting hand. Makes for a nice hand work out. :D

    As for hand strengthening, I usually just play some stuff I already know how to play. :D
  6. Dragonlord

    Dragonlord Rocks Around The Glocks

    Aug 30, 2000
    Greece, Europe
    I had to be away from my bass for a couple of days,and,to keep my fingers in shape,I followed this advice...I didn't have a tennis ball handy,but I had one of these soft anti-stress balls...I have to say I think it works!Mind you,I just did it for a couple of days,but my fingers feel great although I haven't played for 3 days...I don't know if it will work in the long run,but I don't see why it shouldn't.Nice one,thx!
  7. G----4------3---1--------

    then start at E-2, and so on, all the way through the neck, help with left hand streching on the low notes, and helps with being able to play the higher notes
  8. yawnsie


    Apr 11, 2000
    I'd say try the excercises dancehallclasher and tallguy suggested, as they'll build up strength and help you with the actual practical part of fretting. I've never tried the tennis ball thing personally, but it might be worth a go.

    And stephanie, I really don't think that a two-inch pinky is that small - I'm 6 foot tall, with (I'm told) big hands, and I don't think mine is two inches. But then, size really doesn't matter. (No, I'm not going to do it. Insert your own puerile joke here if you've got a one track mind ;))
  9. i've got to say that i think a having smaller hands or at leats smaller hands would be a good thing,,

    i'm around 6'5-6'6" tall with very big hands and long arms , the thing is though the bass neck is nearer the body for me so i don't have to reach at all, this results in my arm being drawn into my side and it can impeed my hand and my stretching,, i can usually span 5-6 frets with ease standing up,,
    my teacher has small hands but dances around a 6 string!!!

    i also found out that after my first lesson 4 hours ago,, i got so much to re'learn ,, go and get lessons!! there worth the money,, i'm off out to geta scale book,,(( home work))

  10. Gripmasters and stress balls work well for strengthening exercises. Chop building exercises work real well as well.

    Like you can play:

    A string: C

    E string: G A

    A string: B C

    D string: E G E

    That's an example of an exercise that streches your hand,which will help it build strengh.

    Or you could play major triads, such as G-B-D. When playing then, you could try and go through the entire circle of 5ths, which may help you also get more accustumed to the finger board. Then again, that's just me.
  11. Hand strengthening devices are the last thing you need. You don't want to built strength, you need dexterity and coordination.

    Just play.
  12. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    I totally agree with Erick.
    It's of of the great misconceptions that you need strength for playing bass. In fact nothing could be farther from the truth (well, almost :D ).
    You need dexterity, coordination, muscle memory and efficiency.

    All those gadgets and exercises have never been really tested for results and can cause injuries ( this Hanging Ten exercise for example).

    Sometimes it seems to me that those exercises are almost an excuse for not practising properly - 'I didn't do my changes and arpeggios but I can lift Hulk Hogan with my pinky!'

    If you practise constantly and properly all you need will eventually come with time...
  13. Slater

    Slater Leave that thing alone. Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    I sometimes use a squeeze-type hand exerciser AFTER I practice (about 100 reps). It seems to rapidly increase my strength and endurance (if I feel that my fretting hand is getting a little weak).
  14. One more thing, your hand may feel tired or in pain after some playing and many people think it's because of a lack of strength. It's because your fingers are not used to be stretch that much and to play the lower notes, it's almost impossible to keep your wrist completely straight, and that puts a lot of stress in your tendons (the muscles which control your fingers are in your forearm). Notice that experienced player have the bass fairly high so that the wrist is as straight as possible with the forearm.

    Think about it, you can probably lift your bass case with a single finger, don't tell me you can't press on a little string!

    So I stand by my advice: just play. If you want relief after playing something demanding on your fingers, finish your practice some scales around the 9th-12ve fret or practice something easy on your left hand while focusing on your right hand.
  15. I had the same problem when I was older and I went to the store and checked out a lot of basses with smaller necks my favorite at that time was the SDGR 800 by ibanez.
    In reply to the other bassists not to demean anyone but if you're playing a hundred to say 500 dollar bass you realy do need to have strength take the lakeland for example I played one that was 3000 dollars. Loved that thing but alas, I can not afford one of those, not yet anyways. The more expensive the bass usually the less you actually have to touch the string to get the note
  16. I totally agree with Erick and the others who say that gripmasters and tennis balls are a complete waste of time. They are only good for arm wrestling and tennis! You do NOT need strength, you need dexterity and coordination, as was previously stated. The strings on a well set up bass guitar are only 1/16" to 5/32" off the neck.....what kind of strength is needed to push those down? My two year old nephew can fret notes on my bass. If your pinky is giving you trouble, you need to get a copy of the Simandl book. OK, it's a double bass book, but if you can work through that you'll be a very, very good player.

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