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(over) stretching pinky

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Robsco, Aug 9, 2018.

  1. Robsco


    Nov 5, 2017
    I don't play with my bass "that" low when standing, but I find as I get up past around the 12th fret, I can't use my pinky to play on the E string, hand is basically over-stretching.

    I can do this easily sat down, or with the bass higher, obviously.

    Is it "normal" to just say, "ok, no more pinky up there, use 3rd finger instead, and modify the "one-finger-per-fret" approach?

    I just want to make sure I'm not missing anything important, or going to get in a bad habit.

    I think/agree the "one-finger-per-fret" is just a good idea to start with, but shouldn't be stuck to in every single case anyway.

    I've only really noticed this issue when drilling scales all over the neck, but don't want to limit how far up the neck I play.
  2. Nashrakh


    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    I'd ask myself this: would I ever need to play above the 12th fret on the E string?

    If the answer is no, then that's your answer. If yes, then wear your bass higher.

    I don't think it's problematic per se, unless it actually limits you in your playing. But FWIW, I wear my bass like Urkel wears his pants.
    Quinn Roberts likes this.
  3. Skybone


    Jun 20, 2016
    Again, not really that much of a problem that can be solved with a little thought.

    The notes you play on the E string higher than the 12th fret can be played on the A string.

    If it's not a problem when you're say down, then maybe you need to have your bass sat a bit higher on the strap too. It can't hurt.
  4. It's not coincidence that most expert-level pros tend to really "choke the chicken", as one may say.
    8189052028_d9e6416599. Jeff_Berlin_Clinic-554.
  5. gebass6

    gebass6 We're not all trying to play the same music.

    May 3, 2009
    N.E Illinois
    But what are they doing in the pictures?.
    They are caught in the act of playing something linear.
    Like a scale.
    Or something chromatic.(except for Vic.Who seems to be playing one note or barring)

    They are not opening their hand to reach an octave or an extension.(Below)
    So you can't assume that the "Pros"keep their fingers closed all the time.

    But to answer your question:Use what finger you can when you can.
    "One finger per fret"is a guideline.Not a rule.
    Edit:Most bass players don't play the E string above the twelfth fret.
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2018
    BOOG likes this.
  6. I was talking about their strap height.
  7. gebass6

    gebass6 We're not all trying to play the same music.

    May 3, 2009
    N.E Illinois
    The context of the thread is about fingering.
  8. The post above me recommended a strap height adjustment. If you set your height to that of a 50's rocker, the higher octaves tend to open up more for accessibility, but that's just me.

    View attachment 3111441

    Edit: When playing up towards the bridge (across all strings, even the B!), I'll even lift the bass some with the palm of my fretting hand along with some added pressure against my torso from the plucking hand. Not the most comfortable, but definitely can get you closer to those hard to reach notes with all four fingers.
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2018
    gebass6 likes this.
  9. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    Things that only happen in scale exercises sometimes aren't relevant to playing actual music.
    In 35 years I've never played a song where I needed to use my pinky finger on the E above the 12th fret. It just isn't called for.

    That said, there's one song my jazz trio does where I play a chord part in the intro (written by the guitar player, who didn't take my scale length into consideration) where I have play some odd shapes high on the neck. I have to raise my bass to make the reach on one of the chords. There are always work-arounds in the real world. In my case it's using a strap with more than one hole for the rear button. Takes 2 seconds to re-position before and after that song back to my normal height.
  10. Badwater


    Jan 12, 2017
    Why not just play on the D and G strings for a tighter tone.

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