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small hands = hindrance on bass?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by tony d, Feb 18, 2006.

  1. tony d

    tony d

    Feb 18, 2006
    I'd really appreciate any info; this is the only place I'd most likely get accurate advice.

    I'm seriously thinking about picking up bass guitar. I heard that smallerer hands make it more difficult to play. (I am a male with a small frame.) Is this true, and are there any accomplished bassists who have smaller hands? I'd really like to go off like Dream Theater's Myung, Spastic Ink's Pete Perez, or Necrophagist's Stephan Fimmers (if you've heard of the latter 2)...
  2. Bryan R. Tyler

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

    May 3, 2002
    Urban myth. No, it won't be a hinderance.

    In fact, the majority of the technical masters of bass are quite small- Victor Wooten, Anthony Jackson, Adam Nitti, Steve Bailey, Matthew Garrison, and other top players are all short (I believe all of them are 5'8" or under), and most of them have small hands and fingers.
  3. I have quite small hands myself, and had the same fears when I started playing last month...but so far it's not a problem, it's all about technique and working out the fingers so they "behave". Have someone show you how to get your finger strength up if you can...
  4. I have small hands myself and I would say no way is it a hindrance. As long as you have good technique you should be able to get along on the bass as well as someone with average sized hands.

    If you're just starting off I would suggest an appropriate bass with a neck that is comfortable to you. I'm not suggesting something extreme like a short scale bass, just something that feels natural in your hands. There are very few basses I wouldn't buy because of my small hands. The only one that come to mind was a Warwick that I tried once. It's was a five string fretless that was a big as a tree trunk. :D
  5. anonymous278347457

    anonymous278347457 Guest

    Feb 12, 2005

    On the other hand(forgive pun) billy sheehan is huge. But on he video on guitar.com he does say that small hands dont matter
  6. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    I'm a fairly small guy, and I get around on it without any problems. I even tune in fifths, which make some transitions even wider, and still have never found my freakishly small carny hands making any difference.
  7. myung is one of the smallest bass players that i have ever seen. i have smallish hands and it doesn't make a differance. just make sure that you do streches all the time to limber them up and you'll be reaching farther and easier. heck i can reach farther than my friend that has massive hands, its all in how flexable you are

  8. jimbob


    Dec 26, 2001
    Charlotte NC
    Endorsing Artist: Acoustica Mixcraft; Endorsing Artist: DR Strings
    I also have small hands.
    Get an instrument you can handle...like a Jazz Bass (small neck) or a lightweight instrument and you should be fine...also, take lessons to start!
  9. Audiophage


    Jan 9, 2005
    I doubt it would get in your way to have small hands, just make sure that you get your technique down well and don't sling the bass to low.

    Benjamin Strange, While tuning in fifths makes some stretches bigger it also gives you an overall larger range in you left hand.
  10. msquared


    Sep 19, 2004
    Kansas City
    I have small-ish hands and have had issues when playing 35" scale basses, but better technique fixed those issues. If you are just starting out, make sure to get a teacher who can impart a good sense of how to properly play.
  11. im a fat guy with what my buddies call sausage paws. ive been playin 7 months and have been able to do my lessons and learn songs with no problem. my first bass was an ibanez gsr200 it has a small neck to it. start playin. youll be glad ya did. go for it and good luck.
  12. SBassman


    Jun 8, 2003
    Northeast, US
    And let's not forget - me.

  13. SBassman


    Jun 8, 2003
    Northeast, US
    You're getting good advice about necks.

    First, it would be no crime to play a short scale.
    But, even if you choose a 34, if you choose something with a small neck - i.e. Soundgear, many others - it will help you start off comfortably.

    Go for it - people outside the bass community don't know our secret that that the bass is
    The Most Important Instrument In The Band
    and the most fun to play.

  14. Tired_Thumb

    Tired_Thumb Guest

    I'm almost 6'2" and have been told I have Jaco's fingers, but that said, hand size doesn't matter to me. I only wish I could to what Sean Malone can do what his hands, and his fingers are literally 51% the length of mine.
  15. +1
    I started bass when I was around 12, and I had tiny hands for a kid. I actually still have pretty small hands. I've kindof developed a modified technique, on right and left hands, but that might have something to do with playing a 35" scale 6 string.

    You'll be fine ;) Welcome to the bass world!

  16. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    Wow! You know, in over 15 years of playing, I never noticed that before.
  17. tony d

    tony d

    Feb 18, 2006
    Thanks guys. I really appreciate your advice.

    I'm a drummer now and as soon as I have extra money I'm going to buy a bass... they're sweet.
  18. Doesnt make that much difference, Steve Bailey and Victor Wooten have small hands, but they are two of the best bassists. Billy Sheehan isnt so small but he says that how small your hands are dont affect your playability, he says that he bought a guy that is 5,4" a 6 string bass but he still was "all over the place". I was 11 when I started playing bass and im 13 now, I have small hands, but it doesnt affect my playability.
  19. dumelow


    Feb 8, 2006
    Ive got really small hands, but im only 16 so i suppose they might get a bit bigger, but im a fairly good player. Doesnt stop me.

    Its like saying should i not try having sex cause i have a small penis. Sure its a bummer, but dont let it stop yer getting good at it. :bassist:
  20. jokke_v


    Aug 15, 2003
    Bergen, Norway
    Well.. Tiny hands here. My pinky-finger is especially small, in comparison to the other fingers. Even so, I use my pinky-finger all the time when playing.

    I don't feel hindered by small hands. Maybe for some enormous stretches, but there's allways a workaround. :smug: