Left hand little finger

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by mjpzx2, Jan 11, 2009.

  1. mjpzx2

    mjpzx2 Guest

    Jan 11, 2009
    Hi there, just had a look on google for a bass forum to ask a question and this place looks awesome. I'll definitely have a good read and come back often :)

    OK I am a beginner and have had no lessons. What I learn is gernally from a book and I play songs from tabs at the minute. Although I am getting better whilst going through the book exercises. My question is about the little finger on my left hand. When I am playing I do use it, however when not being used it goes in an odd curled up position by default :p same is true of my third finger to some extent. When I see pros play though all fingers are covering the entire neck and often I can't even tell which fret or finger they are holding down. Is my problem normal for beginners? How do I get over it and do I need to?

    Cheers for your time! Michael.
  2. Practice, practice, practice.

    If I had a time machine one of my stops would be to myself as a beginning bassist & say "LEARN PROPER TECHNIQUE, YOU LAZY-ARSE S.O.B.!!"
  3. mjpzx2

    mjpzx2 Guest

    Jan 11, 2009
    Lol, cheers for that :p
    I'll say that to myself now then. How can I go about practicing the proper left hadn technique though?
  4. Ric5

    Ric5 Inactive

    Jan 29, 2008
    I like 5, 8, 10, and 12 string basses
    use all of your fingers.

    practice chromatic sacles ... (all 12 notes) ... one finger per fret play all the notes up and down over and over ... drill it into your brain until it becomes automatic.
  5. ColdSteelRain

    ColdSteelRain Guest

    Jul 27, 2008
    Dallas, TX
    Having my left-hand fingers "hover" has been really hard for me. I use this exercise to warm up, and maybe it'll help you. It's a variation on the chromatic scales thing.

    Starting at the first fret, using one finger per fret, play the first four notes on the E string (F, F#, G, G#), then play the first four notes on the A string (A#, B, C, C#), then do the same for the D and G strings. Then move to the second fret on E and repeat, through all the notes you can. Start the tempo slow, and don't increase until you're hitting the notes correctly (no fret buzz, then without looking.)

    Hope this helps.
  6. mjpzx2

    mjpzx2 Guest

    Jan 11, 2009
    Cheers guys. Actually CSR I was just doing that! :) I'll keep trying the techniques and stop it hovering if it kills me.
  7. DougD

    DougD Bassman7654

    Sep 19, 2002
    North Las Vegas NV
    Try this. Start very slowly, Play 1 finger per fret. when you fret a note, do not release the note. Leave the finger in place. When you get to the last note (pinkie), while your pinkie is still holding down that last note, skip to the next string and start over. The key is to only move the intended finger when you want to fret a note, otherwise you leave it in place. Do this with all fingers. And go slow.:)
    And plus one to what ColdSteelRain said:)
  8. mjpzx2

    mjpzx2 Guest

    Jan 11, 2009
    Cheers for that Doug. I'll keep doing those over and over until it becomes automatic before I go back to the book. Hopefully then my technique will be a bit better :)
  9. DougD

    DougD Bassman7654

    Sep 19, 2002
    North Las Vegas NV
    It takes a while to get used to it, but it can be done:) Also look for any instruction articles that talk about the Economy of Motion principle. That will have a lot of useful info.
  10. tasty sweeps

    tasty sweeps Guest

    Mar 7, 2008
    new hampshire
    also, loosen up. fret the string right behind the fretted note, not on the 'woody' part between the frets. if you do that, it will take less pressure from your hand to get a solid note, thus you can relax your hand and arm quite a bit which could help a lot in reducing the carpel tunnel-inducing curl.

    it's what many call 'economy of motion.' leaving your hands in positions able to accomplish the most without much effort.
  11. mjpzx2

    mjpzx2 Guest

    Jan 11, 2009
    Cheers for all the tips guys. I would get a couple of lessons, but I live in a small town and I can't find anyone to get them off. I'll definitely try all of the suggestions though.
  12. c_joseph_lier

    c_joseph_lier Guest

    Aug 7, 2007
    Also, another excersize that I have used for this is doing what i call Diagonals. My left hand pinky used to actually go behind the neck when i played, so this helped a ton.

    As with the above excercise of one finger per fret, do then diaganolly. meaning fore finger F on E string, 2nd on B on the A string, 3rd on the F on the D string and the 4th on the B on the G string. Then working back down, it is 1st on the Ab on the G string, 2nd - E on the D, 3rd C on the A, 4th Ab on the E. Then you move up a fret and repeat.

    Your fingers make a shape like a Slash and then a Backslash. I hope that I explained this well. So, when I practiced, I would start at the 1st fret, work my way up to the 12th and the back down. Do a steady rhythm of eighths, and go for clean, clear nortes. This with the other excercise above was my warm up daily, plus a great dexterity excercise.
  13. mjpzx2

    mjpzx2 Guest

    Jan 11, 2009
    Yeh this happened to me. Also when i played some songs it kind of dances along with the notes being played. These exercises are helping though :)

    Doug with your one I can only do this higher up the neck. As my bass has "super chunky wide frets" I can't physically stretch my first finger to the first fret whilst keeping my pinky on the fourth fret on the lower string. If doing these exercises for about half an hour for a couple of days has helped so far though I guess if I keep them up it will help loads! :D
  14. Try playing all your bass parts in different positions and with different fingerings all over the neck and involving different octaves. This will force you to use all fingers and will help you learn your way around the instrument.