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Increasing finger independence on the left hand?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by John K., Feb 8, 2003.

  1. Well, in my never ending quest for better technique, I've been trying to increase my finger independence, specifically in my ring finger. It seems like my ring finger doesn't want to leave my middle finger or pinky. I've been doing that exercise that has you lay your fingers down on a table or some kind of flat surface and lift each finger one at a time. But I'm still frustrated cause I feel like it's not helping at all.

    Anybody got some exercises for me? Maybe a good book to look for?
  2. Bass Fitness: Hal Leonard Publishing
    By Josquin Des Pres
    (Endorsed by Berklee College Of Music and Bass Player Magazine)

    Great book...LOL, I just tried that test with the table and my left ring finger was way more independent than my right ring finger. See, the book works!
  3. I would say practice scales and do little chromatic excersises. If your having a lot of trouble with your ring finger start slowly and work your way up.
  4. Well, if I'm playing a song where I play (just for example) a C on the A string, my ring finger can get to the C#/Db, but if I have to reach, with my ring finger, up to F#/Gb, it's much tougher.
  5. That sounds a little more like your technique rather than your finger independence.

    Chromatic exercises and string skipping patterns sound like they might help a little.

    Try something like this:


    The left hand fingering is strictly 1 2 3 4. If you get the pattern down, move it all around the fingerboard as per usual.
  6. Buy the book! It has exercises that will make you play every single possible fingering combination within a 4x4 fret block... :bassist:
  7. meltsakana


    Sep 3, 2002
    Sorry to butt in....Bass Fitness: Hal Leonard Publishing ....

    Is this book anything more than permutations? If it is, please describe what others things it can offer... I have a bunch of permutation exercises written out that go through every possible pattern in a 4x4 fret block, but practicing those aggravated some problems in my left pinkie and ring finger...

    Anyway, is the book more than 1234, 1243, etc exercises? If so, please describe some more details.
  8. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    It's basically permutations, over all 4 strings.

    stuff like this:


  9. Hey, can someone post some bass exercises I can do with my ring finger to increase its reach? I can reach fine with all my other fingers, it's just that blasted ring finger.
  10. Maybe you are overworking your fingers. When I started, there was no way I do the exercises starting on the F# so I moved up the fretboard about 5 frets and worked slowly. As I built up strength and speed, I started moving back to the wider frets.

    John K, I think the book is worth buying but here is the exercise that would most interest you...JMX already posted a variation.

  11. Thanks guys, I gotta try it when I get home.
  12. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    When I started taking advanced theory lessons, one of the first things my teacher showed me was an interestin chromatic excercise that helped with finger independece.

    You basically just walk up four half-steps and then go to the next string and do the same thing. The catch is, you must leave your fingers on the same fret, on the top string until it comes time to play the next note. (Hope that made sense :confused: )

    It's hard as hell. I've been playing for almost 7 years and I still can't do it perfectly.
  13. Good lord, that's difficult! How has your finger independence changed? Has it changed a lot and become better? I gotta try this one up on the higher frets.
  14. Starrchild


    Nov 10, 2000
    The Bay.
    The ole economy of motion theory.
    No wasted movement from you're fretting hand..i.e
    Fingers flying all over the place.
    Does you're pinky fly all over the place when you're
    using you're other fingers(and visa versa)?
    Go slow and have fun.
  15. Lovebown


    Jan 6, 2001
    Slightly off topic, but a thing I'd like to adress which is something a lot of bass players overlook is how your fingers are arched. You want your left hand fingers in as much arch as comfortably possible. Don't play with your fingers flat against the fretboard... anyone who plays double bass knows that it makes diffrence... even for electric bass

  16. I guess how your fingers are arched depends on the placement of the thumb. When I'm playing bass, I always place it on the lower/middle part of the neck...easy to play. However, when I switch to guitar, I can't help but play the sloppy way (with the thumb near the low E string).
  17. Starrchild


    Nov 10, 2000
    The Bay.
    Exactly,You're fingers should be arched like a crab.
    you should also be able finger the frets without you're thumb touching the back of the neck.

    This is getting technical.:)
  18. Lovebown


    Jan 6, 2001
    That pretty much goes for fingering of any instrument! At least for all guitarish/pianoish instruments and all in the violin family.

    Flat fingers will just be plain weaker than arched.

  19. Man, I better have a talk with my teacher. I can play Marvin Gaye's "What Goin' On" with my thumb on the neck and feel completely comfortable, but then if I pull my thumb off just a little bit, I lose my speed and accuracy to place my fingers near the frets.

    I sometimes do get pain in my fretting hand thumb though, especially when I play "Reach Out I'll Be There" by the Four Tops, it starts to get cramped a bit. I guess I need to fix my technique before I get CTS or something and I'll need to fix my arm.
  20. Fake Trees

    Fake Trees

    Feb 9, 2003
    this threads been really helpful to me so i thought i'd post and exrcise i do to warm up and stuff.
    (any string, better yet do it on all the strings)


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