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Left hand "piling" up

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by JmD, Jan 11, 2006.

  1. I just want to say that this is not entirely accurate. You see that big bulge at the base of your thumb? Particularly on the palmar side? That's your thenar eminence. A bunch of big old muscles that help with opposition of the thumb.

    Now, open your hand as wide as possible.
    Now, clench a fist as tight as you can.
    Hopefully you noticed a little bulge on the outer edge of your hand, running right below where your small finger is.
    That's your hypothenar eminence. Think of it as a smaller group of similar muscles that allow you to oppose your small finger.

    The bit about your third finger, however, is accurate. But keep in mind, as the collateral tendon links your middle and ring fingers, you shouldn't be able to raise your middle finger independently to flip people off.
    The index and small fingers have their own independent extensor (straightening) muscles, but the middle and ring fingers only have the extensor digiti communis - that is, a communal muscle that extends (straightens) all 4 of your fingers at the same time.

    So really, as everyone else has been saying in this thread, it's all about training. If society has trained everyone to raise the all-important middle finger in anger/frustration/other negative emotions, surely some practice and exercises will help you gain greater independence in your ring finger.

    (Wow, that was really long winded. I'm sorry.)
  2. E2daGGurl


    May 26, 2008
    Fingering chart has 1 for your index finger (so you play your D string at the 5th fret for the first note with your index finger, then G string at the 7th fret with your ring finger).

    Index finger becomes 1, middle finger is 2, ring finger is 3, pinky is 4, like that. At first, all the numbers are confusing. I'm trying to do this same exercise and have written it out with the stave notes as well, to try and cement all this.

    I can say this: the more independent the pinky becomes, the sorer it is, but I guess that will go away.

    I practice the patterns (1-3-2-4 especially) with my left hand fingers while I'm falling asleep at night humming the notes in my mind. As a former keyboard player, my thumb keeps wanting to get involved, and the pinky has a hard time understanding it's playing a higher note, usually, than the other fingers - it's the opposite with a keyboard.
  3. There is a book called Bass Fitness. Should check it out. I use it all of the time!!
  4. Definitely take a look at that book. I bought it last weekend and It's already helped alot.
    (My first post, whoo!)
  5. there is a personal exercise that i do and that is to put your hand in a claw like position (sort of the way you would hold the neck) and touch the tips of your fingers to the tip of your thumb one at a time and gradually get faster. You can do it while watching tv and eventaully it becomes second nature and you don't even realize you are doing it. I used to do it as a kid cause I had no bass teachers so i had to find a way to build dexterity. but it helps, you can alternate the sequence you do it in too. i know its not from dvd or anything but it forces you to concentrate on moving your fingers independently from eachother; eventhough your ring finger will move but after time it moves only slightly. It took me forever to incorporate my pinky into my normal fretting but my playing improved drastically after i figured out how to move my pinky the way i was supposed to. anyways i hope someone takes something useful from this.
  6. lumito


    Jun 2, 2008
  7. receivetheworld


    Jul 24, 2009
    practice spreading your fingers apart then placing down on a desk or table about 1 1/2 inches apart

    yes i know is sounds boring\:oops: but 5 minutes every other day can help
  8. +1
  9. aaronwhite1786


    Nov 19, 2009
    I'm going to have to give this a try.
    I really want to get my pinkie working in my playing. I feel like i am constantly moving my hand around.
    While at the Minus the Bear show i went to last night i just watched their bassist, and his fingers just flowed without his hand moving.
    I realized my Pinkie would help a lot with this.
    But as it is now, i've got a "permanent hammer on" pinkie. By that i mean it's tough to move my pinkie onto the fret, and when it does it just seems to snap down onto the fret. I need to get it smooth. And it wouldn't hurt to help my ring-finger either.
  10. Danny Fox

    Danny Fox

    Nov 21, 2009
    Practice the one finger per fret rule, running up frets 1,2,3,4 on each string without moving your hand position. Make sure your thumb is "gently" in position on the back of the neck, with the knuckle roughly in the middle of it, if your thumb creeps over the neck it's easy to end up with a bunch of bananas instead of fingers. The chromatic scale is great for using all your fingers and moving position.

  11. isthimus


    Aug 14, 2010
    brilliant warmup/finger strength exercise:
    and so on, until youve gone through all the permutations and ended at 4321.....
    i do this twice every time i warm up an its rly helped =P
  12. Jhengsman


    Oct 17, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    I hope its ok to post to sticky old threads. The Hal Leonard Bass Method teaches the three finger method. I thought it was strange that three fingers was thought of as strange.
    iain westland likes this.
  13. john grey

    john grey

    Apr 19, 2011
    Oracle, Arizona
    Pattitucci puts out some great stuff. Additionally, IF you can find it there is a rather old book called "Linear Bass Patters" by a guy named Fowler. In it he goes over the concept of "shifting" to deal with the "piling-up" of fingers (within scale practice, etc).

    The idea of practicing with a metronome is a VERY important thing to do if you haven't done it. A drum machine is fine and fun but to really practice and deal w/ a self-recognized issue of improvement; nothing can beat a metronome (IMO) for a great many reasons.
    hintz likes this.
  14. I know one interesting exercise that will make your fingers sweat without even guitar at hand. I hope i will explain it well enough.
    hold your hand palm up with fingers in a claw like position:
    Thumb should be in a centre opposite to rest of your fingers.
    Now: touch your thumb with index and RING finger at the same time while streaching outwards your middle and pinky fingers...
    Thats the first part
    Second: you should have your pinky and middle fingers away as possible from your thumb now and index and ring should be touching your thumb. now swap fingers: move ring and index away from your thumb and at the same time touch your thumb with your middle and pinky....
    Keep it going multiple times...usually im streaching my fingers as far as possible without causing any pain to my hand....it feels kind of like when you are trying to do a split...I would advice not focusing on speed but rather on streaching and accuracy...do it slooowly but make sure you will streach a bit and hold for a sec in streached position...
    Best part about this exercise is: you can do it anywhere :)))))
  15. MrCincinnati


    Mar 6, 2011
    don't know if anyone already mentioned it - but I saw somewhere (maybe this forum) an exercise for this.. you don't even need your bass for this one..

    take a cup, bottle etc and grip it with just index and middle fingers with only enough room between bottom of object and ring finger to smoothly bend ring finger and pinky under it. Do that repeatedly back and forth.

    Then grip with 3 fingers and move just the pinky in the same motion. This will get your fingers used to performing tasks that are otherwise unnatural - the pinky and ring are normally what we use for grip and the index and ring are more for dexterity - in the natural world.
  16. lewys93


    Feb 18, 2010
    I've been playing for just over two years now and I think I've got into some terribly bad habits... It's the opposite of what most people here have been saying. Instead of not using my fifth digit at all, I overuse my fourth finger (fifth digit). As a result, my hypothenar eminence (the muscles that form the fleshy part of your hand under your fourth finger (fifth digit) is fairly enlarged, and it aches if I play for more than about half an hour... Does anybody else have this? (I'm left handed but play right handed, if that helps)
  17. windexian


    Jul 24, 2011
    I'm a fan of permutations as well. I like to take one permutation and take it up and down the neck starting at the 4th or 5th fret like:
    etc., followed by the above mentioned.

    I've also been helped by trill exercises, which I think someone else may have mentioned. Especially for your issue of ring & pinky overlap, trills may be a great workout. So you could start with fretting & plucking with pointer, followed by rapid hammer ons with your middle finger. Do for 30 seconds to a minute. Then try pointer with ring finger hammer ons. Then pointer with pinky hammer ons. Then start with your middle finger & hammer on with your ring... etc. etc. until all your finger combos are done. I'll bet the ring-to-pinky trill may be a great one for you. Let us know how things go!
  18. K25th


    Jul 15, 2011
    Hello JmD, i know this is a seriously late response ( 6 years from the original post) but i just started practicing Bass a week ago so here goes.
    I've been a frequent visitor at studybass.com (the guy gives free beginner lessons and advices there) it's been around since 2004 ,too bad you didn't know about it at the time. There's this exercise on the G and D strings, and it starts from the 12th fret. Here's the direct quote from the page:

    "1. Starting with the fourth, pinky finger, you will pluck and hold down the note G on the 12th fret. Then, while sustaining that note, play B, C, C# on frets 9, 10 and 11 on the D-string using fingers 1, 2, and 3. Never pick up your fourth finger.

    2. The next exercise is similar, but uses the 3rd finger to sustain the note F# on the 11th fret of the G-string. Play the sustained note followed by B, C, and D on frets 9, 10 and 12 of the D-string.
    ***This has added difficulty of not muting the sustained note on the G-string with your 4th finger.***

    3. & 4. Just like the previous exercises, sustain a note with fingers 2 and 1, and use your other fingers to play notes on the next string. These are also harder because you have to avoid muting the sustained note with your other fingers.

    I encourage you to make up some similar exercises, or write some original basslines which challenge you.. Find things which frustrate your fingers and fix them.

    Now i'm not trying advertise the site at all so don't get me wrong, it just helped me alot. And i think it will too to other beginners out there. I can now lower my pinky on my fretting hand without moving the ring finger, which is impossible for my plucking hand (and that was just a week of practice. So you should give this a try if you haven't solve your problem (which is unlikely).
  19. Raymeous


    Jul 2, 2010
    San Diego
    Lol I started unconciously tapping this out on my desk as soon as I saw the first line of tab. Even got the fingering right! Yay me. :hyper:
  20. hailet


    Sep 16, 2012
    Mount Prospect,IL
    Wow, I've been searching for John Pattitucci's DVD - "A Dictionary of Grooves and Techniques" and the only format I can find it in is VHS and that's on Amazon and eBay. I know it's from 1992 but they had DVDs back then.

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