Is there a way I can play bass with my frets a bit too far apart?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Ari Isaac, Aug 2, 2020.

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  1. Ari Isaac

    Ari Isaac

    Aug 2, 2020
    I got a bass recently and the frets are a bit too far apart, so it is hard for me to play fast. Is there any good strategy to fix this with my current bass or would I just need a new one?
    Ggaa and BunchyMutt like this.
  2. sleddogn


    Sep 8, 2013
    Love My Dogs
    finger stretcher works pretty good, check amazon health section
    Rob Edmunds, Chris76, 2behead and 9 others like this.
  3. Volker Kirstein

    Volker Kirstein Blippy the Wonder Slug

    Try tuning down to D standard (DGCF) and putting a capo on the 2nd fret. Voila! Instant "short scale!"
  4. mdogs

    mdogs Supporting Member

    You’re going to have to give a better description that that. If your frets are too far apart, there is no help other than major reconstruction.
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  5. beatdatthang

    beatdatthang Supporting Member

    Aug 29, 2011
    Move your hand a little when you play? It’s can be difficult even for someone with adult sized hands to fret perfectly in first position, but I’ve seen some ridiculously small children playing full sized, long scale basses better than I can on YouTube. Improvise, adapt, and overcome.
  6. rockdoc11


    Sep 2, 2000
    Or pick up a short scale bass.
  7. Digity


    Apr 7, 2014
    Practice, build technique.
    2behead, gebass6, TrevorR and 9 others like this.
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  9. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Inactive

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    Don't stretch, learn to shift. Get a good teacher.
  10. JeezyMcNuggles

    JeezyMcNuggles Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2018
    Santa Maria, CA
    I suck, but nobody really notices
    Ha ha ha ha. How about the wood condenser from Trimatix?
    FugaziBomb likes this.
  11. J_Bass

    J_Bass Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2008
    Porto, Portugal
    Hi Ari, welcome to TalkBass.

    I sense you're a beginner to bass, yes?

    What you are experiencing is the scale of the neck, probably a standard 34" scale.
    There are basses with shorter scale, 30" for example. That makes a huge difference in the spacing of the frets. Basically, the 1st fret of a 30" is the 3rd on a 34".

    You have to practice, maybe use 1-2-4 finger technique instead of trying to use 1-2-3-4 fingers on the fretting hand.

    I see you are a girl. Although that doesn't mean anything, of course, but if your fingers and hand are smaller, you'll have to move your hand more often.
  12. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Yeah, yeah, and yeah. Capo will "turn" your bass into a shorter scale, so to speak. Detune, clamp it on and go. Or get a shorter scale bass. Typical is 34" nut to bridge, based on Fender design I think(?). But there are options for 30", 32", and others. And stretching exercises, and move your hand.
    Since you sound like you're pretty new don't get discouraged. You can get a capo for pretty low cost, many are under $10. Put it under 2nd fret and you'll notice a huge difference. Or you can be 6'4 and have 37 size sleeves and be able to palm a basketball. Your choice.
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  13. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    Agree with developing a technique using more shifting. Trying to make your fingers stretch where they can't is asking for trouble down the road.
  14. Bent77

    Bent77 Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2013
    Desert, Colorado
    @Ari Isaac

    I struggled with this at first due to short stubby fingers. Once you get use to the instrument and get a good technique, it will become second nature

    The suggestion for a good instructor is advice you should heed
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  15. Eddie LeBlanc

    Eddie LeBlanc

    Oct 26, 2014
    Beaumont, Texas
    Don't create no problem, won't be no problem.
    There is not much difference in a short 30" scale 4 string and a long 34" scale.
    But different shaped necks can be more difficult also for thumb and palm placement.
    An using the 1-2-4 finger technique can be easier, but need to be able to move your hand.

    I too have stubby fingers. I just have learned to compensate.
    BTW the 1-2-4 finger technique is common for upright bassists.
    BarfanyShart likes this.
  16. dougjwray


    Jul 20, 2005
    Definitely learn to shift positions.
    Find a teacher who will take you through the Simandl method book for double bass. Or go through it yourself.
    But no matter what, you can expect a period of time spent on building up technique. The thing doesn't play itself!
    bucephylus likes this.
  17. wraub


    Apr 9, 2004
    ennui, az
    All of my basses feel different, and like the frets are differently spaced, even though they are the same scale length.
    My P bass is the worst of these, and I've only been playing that one lately... It definitely feels more comfortable to play the more I play it.

    You may just need to play it more. ;)
  18. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    practice, practice, practice.

    i'm 5' 3", and i used to play a long scale bass. the more i played, the faster i got. i didn't do scales - i just played songs.

    or get an ibanez mikro with a much shorter scale or a 30" scale bass - you can absolutely feel the difference. but even on a short scale, more practice means more speed.
  19. Eddie LeBlanc

    Eddie LeBlanc

    Oct 26, 2014
    Beaumont, Texas
    Don't create no problem, won't be no problem.

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  20. A giant compared to Suzi Quatro :laugh:
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