How to separate left hand fingers 2 and 3

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by tim99, Aug 22, 2003.

  1. tim99

    tim99 Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2003
    The two middle fingers of my left hand are stuck together.

    I wonder if there is plastic surgery to separate them? Maybe tendon surgery. (Only joking.)

    Do you know good stretching and fingerboard exercises to get these to be more independent? I am not talking about the same typical fretboard exercises that any book or website or thread has to improve speed. "Hey play 1234, 1423, 2431, etc."

    I am doing an exercise where I hold my 1 finger on the fretboard, and then place each finger down, and then pull each up, 234, 432.

    But, when 1 and 2 are down, I can not get 3 to go down at its correct one fret distance away, and when fingers 4 and 3 are down, I can not get finger 2 to go down in its correct one fret distance away. I usually end up with 1, 3, and 4 in the proper locations, and then 2 ends up on top of its fret instead of a little behind.

    Please help me with an exercise for this. Please remember that a simple listing of notes that could actually be played with one finger is not what I am looking for. I am looking for an explaination on some type of fretboard yoga that over time will help my left fretting fingers be independent and more in their proper location.


  2. paintandsk8

    paintandsk8 Pushin' my soul through the wire...

    May 12, 2003
    West Lafayette, IN
    the first step i took was to learn how to do the little spock peace thing from star trek. U know where it's like a peace sign with four fingers. The easiest way to learn that is when your sittin around watchin tv or whatever just hold your hand that way with your other hand. Then once have that down try taping your first two fingers together and go through your day like that. It sounds kinda hoaky but it will increase finger independence greatly in just one day.
  3. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    The first thing to do is to analyze the position of your entire left hand. If you're gripping the neck like a baseball bat and your fingers are all at less than a 90 degree angle relative to the strings, stop right there.

    Gently arch your thumb and fingers; now place the pad of your thumb on the centerline of the back of the neck, and set the fingertip of each finger just behind each fret. Those are the only parts of your left hand that should be contacting the neck.

    Just practice setting and holding this position. If you can't do it in the low positions where the frets are farther apart, try doing it around the 9th - 12th frets at first. Once you can hold the position comfortably at frets 1-4, see if you can try different combinations of 1234.
  4. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    There is a book called "Bass Fitness" by Josquin Des Pres, it has a boringly large amount of exercises for string skipping, finger independence etc. I hate it, it hurts, but it helps. :)
  5. tim99

    tim99 Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2003
    Thanks for you post but this is not my problem. I come to bass after a few years of fairly advanced jazz guitar lessons. My position is good and my fingering is good and my speed is good, but I move my hand up and down the fretboard too much to make up for my lack of left hand finger separation. This was not enough of an issue with shorter scale (non Stratocaster) guitars, but has become an issue (to me) with bass.

  6. tim99

    tim99 Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2003
    Oh, no! I found, and they linked to BASSBOOKS.COM! This is fantastic! Where is my credit card! I gotta get this book! I gotta get that book! Wait, I gotta get this other book!

    From that site:

    "The purpose of this book is to provide the aspiring bass player with a wide variety of finger exercises for developing the techniques necessary to succeed in today's music scene. It can also play an important role in a bass player's daily practicing program. The 200 exercises are designed to help increase your speed, improve your dexterity, develop accuracy and promote finger independence. Recommended by world-acclaimed bass players, music schools and music magazines, this is the ultimate bass handbook."


  7. I had a problem similar, I think, to this. My fingers were pretty tight and I couldn't do much of a multi-fret stretch when I was playing a guitar. So I asked my Aki-Jujitsu sensei how I could improve the flexibility of my hands/fingers.

    He recommended that I start off by soaking my hands in warm, not hot, water for 5-6 minutes. Then do a series of stretching exercises.

    1. Holding the index finger of one hand with the other hand, move the index finger around to the maximum comfortable extension. Back towards the back of the hand/wrist. Forwared to the wrist. To each side. Make the movements nice and slow but make sure to do the maximum comfortable extension.

    2. Repeat for each finger of each hand.

    3. Place all four fingers of one hand face down on a table edge. Now curl the hand up so that the fingers are bending backwards. Again nice and slow and towards maximum comfortable extension.

    4. Repeat for each hand.

    5. Curl the thumb and little finger of the right hand so that the thumb and little finger are touching. Now place your right hand, as it is, into the space between the index and middle fingers. Now slowly open your right hand so that it is expanding the space between the index and middle fingers. Again nice and slowly and towards maximum comfortable extension.

    6. Repeat for each pair of fingers and each hand.

    *shrug* it's working for me. Again, just to be annoying, do this slowly and your hand warm from being immersed in water. Do NOT do this to the point where you experience pain, just until it starts being uncomfortable. These exercises will slowly extend the ligaments and tendons that make up the hand.

    I hope this helps someone, just don't hurt yourselves ok?