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Small-er Hands

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Sojhen, Apr 23, 2003.


  1. A big problem for me when playing bass is the size of my hands... I've seen alot of people with HUGE hands,but my hands are'nt as large.. I own a Hamer 5-string Cruise bass, and I was just wondering if any of you have any tips for bass players with small hands.. Arigato...

    I also have problems with my pinky finger, but I've asked about that before... damn little hands and toothpick pinky finger.... curses...

    Thanks again...:bassist:
     
  2. stephanie

    stephanie

    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    I have tiny hands as well. One thing I've learned is it just takes getting used to. Although I do wish I had a bass with a thinner neck, I haven't found having small hands or fingers a hindrance in my playing, but I focus on my positioning and technique.
     
  3. when i first started playing, it was a bit more difficult to play because i couldnt strech my fingers across the neck like most people could, but you'll learn to get used to that as well as using good posture and technique. and besides, if both your hands are moving furiously, people will think you play better:p
     
  4. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    You just have to adjust your technique. Mine are pretty small (3 1/4" middle finger, 2 1/2" pinky), and I don't have a problem playing a seven-string. John Turner's are smaller and he plays eight-strings! Proper placement of your fretting-hand thumb is a big issue; keep it behind your middle finger as often as possible and DON'T bring it over the top of the neck Louis Johnson-style. Work on stretching your fretting-hand thumb; if it is limber and can easily stretch over distances, then long fingers aren't really important at all.
     
  5. I see.... Yeah I've always heard people talk about thumb position... So you don't want to be pressing your thumb hard on the neck am I right..? Just gently touch the neck with your thumb...? I feel there is so much I must learn... But I am very excited to learn it all... I think learning bass will be one of the best experiences of my life... I used to play the trumpet but my left hand never had to do anything... And I pretty much used to neglect my left hand... But I guess that's good... That means I can train it properly... What I'm afraid of is training it with bad habits... You guys have any suggestions..? Or things I should watch out for..?:bassist:
     
  6. stephanie

    stephanie

    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    A teacher can help you clear up many bad habits. :)

    As for thumb position, no, you don't want to press hard on the neck with it. That just causes tension. I know if I put too much tension with my thumb on the neck I get a pain in my wrist...and you don't want pain. Also, too much tension would make it more difficult for you to move freely and smoothly across the neck.
     
  7. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    Second what Stephanie says. There'll be a little pain, like the pains you get when you start stretching, but that should subsist after a while, and don't keep going if it hurts more than a little or hurts over a duration of time. Just keep your thumb like a loose anchor. I occasionally take my thumb completely off and play with my hand over the fingerboard; that's why neck thickness is a bigger issue with people with small hands than neck width.
     
  8. Do you guys know of drills or exercises that specifically work on hand dexterity, as well as helping to strengthen the pinky finger at the same time..?

    I know pretty much every exercise will help with dexterity.. But I'm hoping for one which I should do everytime I pick up the bass.... What kind of exercises do you guys do when you play..?

    :bassist:
     
  9. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    The best stretching exercises I've found for bass are to do chromatic scales (using all of your fingers play on one string frets 1234234534565678.. and so on), and doing major and minor scales in the lower registers. Always start off slow though, or you could hurt yourself in the long run. After warming up with those, you can practice fretting the 1st,3rd, and 5th frets on each string keeping your hand in one position, if that's not too hard for you to reach.
     
  10. That could be a little hard for me.. But I'm going to try it...
     
  11. Andrew Jones

    Andrew Jones Banned

    Feb 28, 2001
    Northampton Mass
    My advice is this

    Learn "guitar technique" ie streching one finger per fret maybe a minor 3rd or even a magor third strech.

    Learn Double bass technique IE 3 frets per four fingers

    Learn where on the neck you need to switch between the 2 (double in low positions)

    Understand that tention is SOO BAD and when you are first learning things your are uncomfertable you will have more tention than when you played it for 10 year (see stephonies post)

    One unorthadox technique Ive seen that made alot of sence is steve bailys use of Double bass thumb position technique in the high positions of the electric bass granted it would take along time to get down but....

    AJ
     
  12. Thanks alot everyone for your help... It's very much apprciated. shei shei
     
  13. Come on! Ganbatte~! There's got to be more people out there with techniques or suggestions to help me.... :bawl: Please if any of you know anything it would really help...:bassist:
     
  14. BassDodger

    BassDodger Guest

    Jul 14, 2002
    I don't have unusually small hands, but this seems to help whenever I find that my thumb starts to travel UP the back of the neck....

    Take some tape, preferably electrical tape (good width and leaves no glue) and run it DOWN the neck on the BACK of the fretboard from headstock to body in the MIDDLE of the neck. Now, what you have here is a line that you can FEEL with your thumb. Make sure your thumb always feels that line in between neck and bottom of the tape or that you never go OVER that line.

    This may cause a pain in the wrist for a little while, but remember: You are the product of 2 million years of evolution- your ancestors have survived war, famine, pestelince, diesase, bad luck, and God knows what else. I think you can handle a few days of pain....

    HOPE THIS HELPS! :bassist:
     
  15. space4

    space4

    May 24, 2003
    california
    This all seems pretty helpful. My finger measurements are the same as Bryan R. Tyler.
    I allready ordered a Lakland Skyline 55-01 5 string. These necks are really wide. Do you think I made a mistake getting this bass?
    Do any of you with small hands play a bass with a neck as wide as the skyline 55-01 or Ibanez BTB? I would appriciate your input please.
     
  16. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    My main bass is a seven-string that's 2 1/2" wide at the nut and 3 1/2" wide at the twelfth fret, which is much wider than the Lakland, so you should have no worries. John Turner has smaller fingers than I do, and he plays all seven and eight strings.
     
  17. space4

    space4

    May 24, 2003
    california
    Thanks Bryan, I feel much better :)