Small/short fingers?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by poofie, Jun 5, 2002.

  1. poofie


    Jun 5, 2002
    Alright, one thing that I've heard from my parents was that just because I have small hands/short fingers I won't be able to play stringed instruments.

    It's not that my fingers are deformed or anything, but I have to admit they're a little short and my hands are a little small. (My right index finger is 3'' from the knuckle, middle finger is 3 and 1/2'' from knuckle estimated)

    So will it really be as hard as I'm told to play bass guitar? I don't mind if it is, I just don't want to be wondering what's wrong if it takes me a little longer to catch on.
  2. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    No, I don't think you'll have a problem. However, you may want to stick to a four string and maybe J width necks - but try them all! Neck profile seems to affect playablility even more than nut width does.
  3. notduane


    Nov 24, 2000
    cool answer H-D! Beat me to it :p . Welcome to TalkBass poofie :D

    Some Ibanez models have really narrow necks too. Then there's
    the short-scale (30") option...Hofner, Hamer, Epiphone, et. al.,
    all make good models. Like Heavy Duty says, neck profile makes
    a difference. Try a bass with a shallow neck. A couple that come
    to mind are the Yamaha RBX and Conklin GrooveTools series.
    Even though they're long-scale (34"), it's a little easier to get
    around on the fretboard.
  4. poofie


    Jun 5, 2002
    Alright, cool. Thanks for the tips.

    The moral of this story: sometimes it's best not to believe everything people tell you, especially when their main hobby includes watching cars drive in circles for hours on end.
  5. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    My fingers seem to be even shorter (I'm not quite sure how you measured them), but whenever I play a (wideneck) six-string, I feel at home (if I only had the money for one...).

    With the right technique (thumb behind the neck), you can play any bass.
  6. stephanie


    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    Ack! That is certainly not true. :mad:

    I have very tiny fingers as well. My index finger is just a little over 2 1/2 inches.

    It's only as hard as you make it out to be. The worst thing to do is let having small fingers/hands discourage you. It is a little weird at first. When I first began to play bass the strings felt weird and thick on my small fingers but I am now used to it.

    Good luck! :)
  7. Bryan R. Tyler

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

    May 3, 2002
    Poofie, my fingers are about the exact same size as yours (my index is a tad longer), and I played five-string for years without a problem. I actually play a seven string now, and it's not a hard transition at all. John Turner has posted about this before; he plays 7 and 8's exclusively, and his fingers are about the same size as yours. It just means you need good left-hand technique and a bass with a thin neck profile.
  8. Winston TK

    Winston TK Hairpiece Adventurer

    Oct 8, 2001
    Burnaby, BC Canada
    Good advice here all around.

    Simply take the time to choose the right neck profile, thickness, width and scale length and you're off and rockin'!!
  9. My index finger is just over 3 inches long and I don't have any problems playing either.

    I currently use Yamaha I have a small one and a big one, the small one is the RBX. I do recommend the RBX, because they're pretty affordable and they're a good bass if you have worries like that, as notduane said.

    The best thing is to not worry about it. You know your limits better than your parents anyway, and you can only find out by trying.

    And I can sympathize with you about the car thing. My parents think they can criticise my playing and all they do is watch a bunch of sweaty blokes chasing a ball up and down a field. ;)
  10. Be careful. You can hurt yourself. I got tendonitis from pushing to hard. n the other hand. I have very small hands and play a 20mm spaced 5 string.
  11. gweimer


    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    Two words - Jack Bruce
  12. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Yeah, but he's also a prime example of "bad technique" - he still plays and sounds great though, don't get me wrong. But his technique only works for him.
  13. uglybassplayer


    Aug 24, 2001
    New Jersey
    I've been blessed with small hands and short fat "sausage" fingers. I play both 4 & 5 string basses (34" and 35" scale), as well as guitar, drums and keyboards. I've seen a guitarist in Atlantic City who had no arms play with his feet :eek: (quite well, I might add)! I've worked with both physically and mentally disabled youth and have been amazed at the things they've accomplished.

    Don't ever let someone else tell you what your limitations are... Give it your all and prove them wrong!

    Peace (and good luck),

    - Frank.
  14. bassduder


    Jul 30, 2001
    Canada, GF-W
    My index finger is about 3 inches, maybe a tiny bit under, and I get along well on a Jazz bass. I think it would be safe too say though, just like the others, that you shouldn't limit yourself to instruments because of the size of your fingers

    One thing to add, Billy Sheehan and John Myung, especially, have humungous hands. Anyone ever see Myung's scary right hand :( :p
  15. MJB


    Mar 17, 2000
    Why do you say that:confused:
  16. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Because it's true.
  17. MJB


    Mar 17, 2000
    Well that's definitive. :D

    What is it that makes you think it's true? Simandl technique? It's pretty common for small handed people playing in the lower registers, I know from personal experience.
  18. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    "It's not the size of the wand that matters. It's the magic that's in the wand that matters."...;) Get it?
  19. i cant give any personal experience 'ish advice, considering i have really long finergs (middle is 3 1/2" and im only 16), but, here goes:

    your parents probably just dont want you getting an instrument because they have to listen to you when you first start and sound like crap. but defy them, do it anyway. i started on an epiphone jr. bass, and god was that small(i could easily touch my thumb with my middle finger) so something like that would be perfect.
  20. Carrillo


    Mar 29, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    I have some of the smallest fingers i have ever seen
    my middle finger is probly around 3''

    And there aint much stuff i CANT play.

    just keep practicing, no matter how frustrated it is.