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Playing with double jointed fingers

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by Zach Edmands, Jan 24, 2003.

  1. Zach Edmands

    Zach Edmands

    Jan 24, 2003
    Hello, this my first post to this forum, although I have been lurking around for quite a while.

    I have a problem with playing with double jointed fingers and thumbs: my left thumb always bends to a right angle while playing and after a while it the middle joint really starts to hurt. My fingers aren't that much of a problem except for my pinky. My pinky constantly "locks," and I have to snap it back up again to get it to curl. Also, when it locks I have a hard time getting enough pressure on the string to get the correct note out, sometimes.

    Do any of you have this same problem and have any recommendations?
  2. I'm not a DBer, but it's good to know that other people have the same problem.

    On BG, I've found that keeping the pad of the thumb planted on the thickest part of the neck really helps. Since my basses have medium-thickness (fretless 4) and massively thick (fretted 5) asymmetrical necks, though, I'm at a significant advantage to a DBer.
  3. MacDaddy


    Jan 26, 2002
    Provo, UT, USA
    I also had the same problem a few years ago. Mainly my left pinky. For a while I just took it and tried to go on, but as you say it really starts to hurt after a while. Then what I did was perfected my left hand technique, mainly make sure your thumb is squarely in the center of the neck. Also, make sure your fingers are curled. They tend to lock if they're just a little straight. If they're really curled it's harder for the finger to lock. Hope this helps. Peace
  4. 5stringDNA


    Oct 10, 2002
    Englewood, CO
    I have double jointed finger-tips and it was next to hell for the first few months i played. Fingers locking and flopping left adn right, lol. I didn't do anythign special except get a bass with nice low action and paly a lot and after 4 or 5 months i no longer had the problem whatsoever.
  5. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    What does your teacher say?
  6. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I've had a few double jointed students on several instruments through the years, and there is no one single method that will help them all out - all hands and bodies are different, and each person must be treated as an individual and their technique addressed accordingly. That said, there is usually one goal that I often have with all students regarding left hand technique, and this is to take the burden of pressing down strings AWAY from the fingers and to try to derive the force from much further up the food chain, from the larger muscle groups.

    In my own technique, I try to "use" my fingers as little as possible. Like Ray Parker - who will probably post in this thread before too long if history is any indication - I have very strong hands but not a great deal of small motor coordination in the fingers alone. For this reason, I try to move my fingers as little as possible and let my wrist rotation (biceps controlled), elbow movement (chest/shoulders controlled), and backward leaning arm weight and motion (controlled by back muscles when the arm weight alone is not enough) supply the movement and force that presses down the string. The fingers are only an extension of these larger forces, and since I've been thinking and working this way, I've had no forearm or finger pain whatsoever aside from raw skin, which is unavoidable.

    "Locked" fingers on a double jointed person are not always a bad thing, as long as there is no pain involved. Like Pacman, I'd suggest you take this issue up with a teacher. Good luck.
  7. julioone

    julioone Guest

    Jun 20, 2001
    Suring, WI, USA
    The pinky fingers on both of my hands used to bend backards almost 90 degrees or would lock straight. After a few years of playing, the pinky on my left hand has strengthened to where I cant bend it backwards at all My right pinky is still weak, but that one doesn't matter. All of the fingers on my left hand have strengthened a lot over the years. I don't know if pinky strengh can be increased for everyone, but it has for me.
  8. jaybo

    jaybo Guest

    Sep 5, 2001
    Richmond, KY
    I have double jointed thumbs and at times it seems to make things a little more uncomfortable for my left hand than it would be otherwise but you just have to be conscious of your hands and make sure you don't let your double jointedness create bad habits/soreness.