Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

left hand stretching techniques

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by patrickroberts, Oct 1, 2000.


  1. patrickroberts

    patrickroberts

    Aug 21, 2000
    Wales, UK
    I have a problem with my left hand, when i try to play over many frets quickly. I feel that i do not have the reach, although i have rather large hands, are there any techniques to maximise the potential stretching abilities of my left-hand?
     
  2. I had the same problem when i was starting out, I almost got into the habit of fretting with just my 1st three fingers, my pinky was never strong enough to stretch that far and hold down the string with enough tension on top of it (i have long and thin fingers.) You just have to keep using the pinky and practice.
    What I would do is run through the generic blues line over and over (below, or make up your own) while watching TV, etc. You'll build up your strength and you'll be teaching your pinky where to fret without looking at the same time.
    It's frustrating at first, just like anything else, but you have to trust that it'll eventually come with practice.
    ------------------------
    ---------1--4--1--------
    ----1--4----------4--1--
    -2----------------------
    Once you've got the stretch and strength down, you'll want to obviously practice different phrases to increase your agility in the pinky (and all fingers).
     
  3. RAM

    RAM

    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    That's a great idea (posted in the previous posting)!!! I'd expand on this and try playing different lines in different positions, scales in different fingerings, and get used to it that way.

    For example, when playing a major scale, you may have been taught to play the pattern as 2-4-1-2-4-1-3-4. Try starting out with the pinky on the root and work your way across differently.

    Another thing that you can do that a lot of bass players have done throughout the years is to draw pictures in your mind and trace them out with your hand on the fretboard. For example, picture a box. What would that box look like on your fretboard? Trace it with your left hand while plucking the notes. What would a kite look like? How about your cat?

    This is a discipline that can be boring but will absolutely challenge you to not only get to know the fingerboard better, but will also challenge your muscle strength and agility in different playing situations.

    The more things you practice, the more your hands will adapt. Eventually you'll get to where you want to be, in terms of agility, at which point learning is more mental than physical...

    Best of luck!!!
     
  4. oops, sorry for being unoriginal, haven't done my reading on all the postings obviously.