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Sticky fingers

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by Robert, Mar 30, 2004.

  1. Robert


    Nov 14, 2003
    Stockholm, Sweden
    I really enjoy playing the double bass with dry hands. When the friction is low, all slides and long movements with my left hand is so fast and smooth.

    Unfortunatley, my hands get quite sweaty after a couple of songs. Increasing the friction between my fingertips and the strings dramatically.. This makes playing really hard, and painful after a while.

    I cannot be alone with this problem? How can it be solved or at least made less problematic?
  2. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA
    I keep a towel handy.
  3. Monte


    Jan 9, 2001
    DFW Area, Tejas
    Go to your local tennis pro shop.

    Prince makes a bottle of this amazing gel stuff that when you rub on your hands, it stops sweating. I use it for tennis, and it works well for bass. No stickyness either. Costs like $7 and lasts forever.

    I've been warned to use lotion after playing though. I think this gel contains alcohol, which has a drying effect.

  4. Robert


    Nov 14, 2003
    Stockholm, Sweden
    Ah! That Prince-thing sounds great. Thanks for the tip!
  5. dinibass


    Apr 8, 2004
    I have 2 ways to solve this (opposite!):
    1. use talco to keep the hands dry (if you have some talco in a small box you can pour a bit on your fingers between a tune and another one.
    2. use oil, which is wet but not sticky. Suggested to jam all night...

    all the best
    giorgio (bass from Italy)
  6. I keep a container of baby powder in my gig bag. It works, and it smells nice too :D
  7. I've seen guitar players and e-bass players use this stuff called "Fret-Ease" or some such. You spray it on your strings, and its not supposed to harm your fingerboard or finish. Maybe it would work for the big bass as well.
  8. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Not for nothing, but if your point of contact on the neck is the ball of your thumb and the contact point on th estring is the pad of your finger, well you see where I'm going.

    HEY RAY, dint you use Fret Ease? Or was that somebody else?

    I used to use a little Vaseline on my fingertips, but I found that when my teacher really started workling on my technique, so that I wasn't playing shapes or notes that I wasn't hearing, when I was hearing a specific note choice and would play the notes that I meant to play, that sort of "slip slidy, greaseyness" kind of point of contact "lubrication" just wasn't necessary.
  9. Monte


    Jan 9, 2001
    DFW Area, Tejas
    He used Fast Fret. I picked some up after meeting you guys at your session. It worked great on gut strings, which tend to be rougher on your hands.

    I don't use it anymore. They don't sell it in the metal cans anymore; it comes in a a flimsy plastic container that always seems to lose its lid in the case, which dries it out and is a waste of money.

    I've found by keeping my hands clean and dry, I don't need any of that kind of stuff anymore.

  10. On the rare occasions I find my fingers feeling a little sticky, I just rub 'em on the side of my nose for a little natural lube.
  11. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    If I sit in, I'll bring my own bass.
  12. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    I used Williams Lectric Shave on my fingertips for a while, especially when I was trying to learn how to do the big shifts quickly. I haven't used it in months, but I've got plenty left and keep it around.

    It's mostly alcohol, but there may be something else in it to slick up the fingers a little.

    The nose oil trick doesn't work as well for me, and I'm superstitious when it comes to spraying stuff on my fingerboard.
  13. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Is that on the outside, or the inside?
  14. It was intended as a 'works-for-me-tip', but it kinda came out as a straight line...

    Awright, lemme try this again:
    "On the rare occasions I find my fingers feeling a little sticky, I just rub 'em on the OUTSIDE of my nose for a little natural lube."

    Thanks fer the slack.
  15. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    No prob.

    Just remember, we're always watching.

  16. That's a good thing.
    Many's the time I've almost spit up laughing at something I've read here.
  17. I've used fast fret and always use a touch of moisturiser on my hands and could swear the sound is better. None of that dry scrapping over the strings sound. Having said that this is an integral part of some players sound - just not what I want to hear from my hands.

    I also think it benefits my callous since under moisturiser it is flexible and not a hard lump trying to pull itself off the surrounding soft skin.

    I think the strings last better and behave better for it too (spiros and now super flexes).

    As for technique, I found at first that having slippier hands meant that my left hand claw shape and strength needed to be spot on, whilst dry I could stop the string and get away with an LH technique that is ill advised in the long run unless you're content with a low action and sloppy strings I guess.

    My occassional teacher pulls a bemused face at this, and my luthier thought it was unecesary if not daft but I've seen some pros do it and I've tried it dry for ages but this works for me. If you've never tried it I think its worth a shot - a bit of meths will clean everything off again.
  18. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    I've been using Fast Fret for about 20 years. Can't get off teh stuff, although I've tried. It depends a lot on the strings that I'm using as well. The surface of Thomastiks requires that I use it. When I had Ebolagatos on I wouldn't use it so much...
  19. I find I get the sticky finger problem on my right hand when I'm playing on a long gig. The fingers on my right hand will just come to a hault when they make contact with the string. On a break I'll wash my hands and it will be better for a while. Any explanations, solutions.
  20. Matthew Tucker

    Matthew Tucker Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2002
    Sydney, Australia
    Owner: Bresque Basses, Sydney Basses and Cellos

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