Left hand finger question

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Sturg, Jan 11, 2015.

  1. Sturg


    Nov 29, 2013
    Is it absolutely necessary for the fretting hand fingers to be at, or nearly at a perpendicular angle to the strings in order to play bass correctly? When I first took lessons my teacher said this was important. I have seen most of the YT videos that show this as being important. I, however, find it very hard to do and my fingers are usually slanted back towards me somewhat. Is it ok to slant them a bit? I was watching Stanley Clarke and noticed that his fingers are not completely perpendicular. I have had carpal tunnel release surgery in both wrists... Not sure if that makes a difference or not.
  2. ii7-V7


    Aug 4, 2002
    Baltimore, MD
    It's not necessary, however... The instructor is trying to build good habits. And it's a good habit. I'd do your best to try to take the instructors suggestion. If you're not able to do this without strain on your wrist then look at how you're holding/wearing your bass. Ideally the neck should be pointing somewhat up, rather than parallel to the ground. But ultimately, no. It's not an absolute necessity.
  3. I agree with ii7-V7. If you can, do. If you can not with the tools you have, find another way. I have small hands so I slide a little. I think we all are a little different and end up finding our way.

    The correct way is best - if you can.
  4. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    Perpendicular = more muscle power serving the purpose of fretting, thus less fatigue and effort.
    How you hold / strap your bass in order to keep your wrists straight is important.

    Also, Stanley Clarke's fingers are huge.
  5. Big Hoss

    Big Hoss Up note, down note, blue note, brown note...

    I've been trying to get the perpendicular thing down, and I can manage to a limited extent at this point. one thing that helps me is to "walk the finger board" up and down slowly, I am finding if I let my fingers come too close to the other strings I end up touching and making unwanted noise on those strings...

    So yes, if you can, get those fingers perpendicular, if not, find a way to not touch the other strings!
  6. I learned, and taught, the perpendicular method. It's very helpful for developing dexterity and speed. That said, when I look at myself in a mirror while playing these days, I'm not so particular about it as I once was. Over the years I've developed some 'shortcuts', shall we say!

    As said above, it's a really good starting point.

Share This Page