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Number of Strings & Hand Size

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by therealting, Aug 14, 2004.

Based on the attached picture...

Poll closed Sep 13, 2004.
  1. my hands are SMALLER, I can handle a 5 at most

  2. my hands are SMALLER, I can handle a 6 at most

  3. my hands are SMALLER, I can handle a 7 at most

  4. my hands are SMALLER, I can handle a 8 at most

  5. my hands are SMALLER, I can handle 9 or more strings

  6. my hands are BIGGER, I can handle a 5 at most

  7. my hands are BIGGER, I can handle a 6 at most

  8. my hands are BIGGER, I can handle a 7 at most

  9. my hands are BIGGER, I can handle a 8 at most

  10. my hands are BIGGER, I can handle 9 or more strings

  1. Following discussions in other threads, I am curious to find out how big everyone's hands are, vs how many strings they find physically comfortable to play.

    This is not an ERB-bashing post, as I play ERB myself.

    I have attached a picture of my fretting hand next to a ruler. Based on this picture, kindly answer the following two simple questions:

    • are your hands are bigger or smaller than mine (and how much bigger or smaller)?
    • what is the most strings you have tried that has felt comfortable to you? Do you think you could handle more?

    My answers:

    • my hands are the same size as depicted (duh!)
    • I have what used to be a conventionally spaced 7-string (now converted to a narrow spaced 8 string). I think I could probably just about play a 9
  2. I added a poll just to get a general idea, but feel free to respond in the thread. FYI the ruler in the picture is a 6-inch ruler.

    Mods - if this is in the wrong forum, apologies and feel free to move.
  3. oversoul

    oversoul fretless by fate

    Feb 16, 2004
    Realthing, remember that altough "tradition" has settled that the thumb should remain in contact with the neck, it is not forceful to do so! You could even handle an 11 string, just by putting all your hand over the fretboard (thumb included!) and taking minimal care with wrist position, and this would be only to reach the lower strings.

    edit: I believe I could handle 9+ basses easily (dunno if I could do it creatively tough), neck width is not a problem, overall instrument weight is, as my biggest issue with the gt-7 is that it tends to neck dive a lot.
  4. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
    My hards are about the same size. I've owned wide-necked 6's (Curbow and Elrick) and had no problem with them. The couple of Roscoe 7's I've picked up were not bad, either. I've never played anything more than that, but I suspect any problems I had would have much more to do with so-so muting technique than hand size.

  5. Jazzin'

    Jazzin' ...Bluesin' and Funkin'

    well my WR gloves are sized XL and are a little too small now. but ive never played a bass with a neck thicker than 5 strings. im just guessing i can play almost any thickness of neck.
  6. lyle

    lyle Guest

    Jan 10, 2004
    Vernon, B.C. Canada
    play what ever you want to play, go out try things and if you like um great.
  7. McHack


    Jul 29, 2003
    Central Ohio!
    Well, you're hands are substantially smaller than mine...

    BUT, that said, the size of your hands shouldn't be a limiting factor in your choice... You can learn to play whatever you want, just make it be.
  8. Basically what everybody else said. It doesn't matter the hand size, as long as you have the skill.
  9. + 1

  10. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Ruler doesnt really help at that angle..doesnt show your hand stretched out or length, its just kind of random.

    With my hand expanded , from the tip of my thumb to the tip of my pinky its 8.5 inches and i can play a 5 string no problem, 6 string as well. I still prefer 4s and 5s though, but size isnt an issue.
  11. Hmmm, I wasn't thinking too hard when I took the picture. It's just an attempt to give an idea of hand size. If it helps, I can stretch to almost 9 inches, thumb tip to pinky tip.

    Those upright players must have monster stretches.
  12. LajoieT

    LajoieT I won't let your shadow be my shade...

    Oct 7, 2003
    Western Massachusetts
    Hey man, My hands are very close if not just a bit smaller than yours, and while I'm a dedicated 4 banger player for now (Feel free to flame me, I can take it....) I do fiddle with 5's 6's and the ocasional 7 I come across and find that my hand size is not an issue (I voted smaller hands and can handle a 7 since I've never tried anything with 8 or more, I didn't want to speak to 8 or more without having any experience with them.) It really amazed me after about an hour with the 7 that it really started to feel natural and playable (like people say with the Novax fanned frets, I'm dying to try that out!!!) and after that hour I absolutely agree'd with JT's assessment that a 4 string neck seemed like a little crayon. My main thing is I don't think I've come any where near mastering the 4. I tend to think of the 5's as just 4's with another option since most of the ones I've tried that I like are in similar proportions as 4's so the transition is pretty natural. The 6's and ++ take too much thinking on my part as to which notes are where that I loose the part of my brain that decides which notes I should be playing. So to make my short point long and confusing: My hands (and probably most peoples) can handle ERBs with a little adjustment time and practice, but I'm not sure how long it would take my brain to make that adjustment. Can you take a shot of your brain next to that ruler so I can compare it to mine ;)
  13. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    my hands are about the same size - my middle finger is 3" long, approx, and my pinkie is 2". i have fairly tightly spaced 7's and 8's (16mm at the bridge, 2" wide total at the nut for the 7's, 2.25" for the 8's.)

    i'm not really interested in anything more than 8, though. i tend to have a problem with 9's, just not very comfortable on them.
  14. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    heh. nobody better do that, or i'll kick 'em in the jimmy. :hyper:
  15. Bard2dbone


    Aug 4, 2002
    Arlington TX
    I'm pretty sure my hands are bigger than an orangutans'. But after twenty five+ years of playing only four strings, I am just now contemplating the leap to a fiver.

    Hand size is not the limiting factor. I would say mental outlook is. I learned as a four string player, so my default position was to be a four string player. Since that was how I thought in terms of bass, that was all I needed. Unfortunately I have been writing some songs on keyboards, and working with a keyboardist on occasion, so I have 'strayed' left of the low E.

    So now I'm needing a B string and finding one that I like is kicking my butt. Apparently all anyone else wants in that realm must be narrow spaced 34" scale fivers from EB/MM and Warwick, because that's about all I can find. I got to played one Lakland once and think that is the feel I want, but can't find others to compare. *heavy heavy sigh*
  16. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    my advice to you when you get your extended range instrument is to start with what you know. play it like a 4 string, don't rush the extra range right off the bat, but focus more on making everything clean and executing the proper muting, and just getting used to the instrument. you'll find that you'll start taking advantage of the extended range naturally, from a more comfortable point of view of what you already know, as opposed to diving in to the whole instrument mentally and trying to handle it completely from scratch.

    remember you also have the option of equipping a 4 string with b-e-a-d. most 4's can handle that fine, unless you use really big strings and the nut ends up needing to be filed a bit. even there, a new nut is cheaper than a new bass.
  17. Somekindahate


    Aug 12, 2004
    I have the same size handas Figjam, 8.5 from tip of thumb to tip of pinky, but 3.5 inch middle finger, 3 index, 3 1/4 ring, and 2.5 pinky, which buggs me cause its the only finger i have trouble reaching with. Maybe i need to raise my strap, where is a good position? Its just below my belly button right now. I just have really beefy fingers(as in big)
  18. FaBu-


    Jan 16, 2004
    IMO you wear your bass very low! I have my jazz above my bellybutton (meaning the lower end).
  19. hey all,

    while I'm not dainty, JT will attest that I haven't got big hands. I have wide spaced 8's and my 10 will be pretty "breadthy".

    I would have to agree that it's not so much about hand size as the way you hear and envision music.

    I also wanted an instrument that would continually challenge me, both physically and artistically.

    from the lows,

  20. My hands are a little bigger and I can handle a 8 string no proplem.