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Stretching Fretting Hand

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Robert Spencer, Jun 27, 2012.

  1. What can I do to increase my ability to make a wide stretch on my fretting hand. I`m almost seventy years old & have been away from playing many many years. Even when I played on a regular basis I used a short scale Framus semi-hollow archtop & never needed to make a long stretch. Now I cannot even come near what I need to do on a Pbass. Thanks & take care. Bob
  2. mbeall


    Jun 25, 2003
    FWIW myself as well as many other players, many of whom have small hands, use a 1 finger per fret approach as well as a five fret approach where the index covers 2 frets. In either of these scenarios it is not necessary to be able to stretch the fingers to reach each fret simultaneously unless you are playing chords. The idea is more of a "zone of responsibility" idea where the hand and fingers can remain in a relaxed but ready position and adjust slightly as needed to put the "right" finger on the "right" fret. If you have large hands that easily accommodate a five fret reach in the 1st position then more power to you but if you don't the concepts are still 100% accessible, just practice the same fingerings without trying to reach all the frets simultaneously. FYI, always plant the finger just behind the fret, almost on top of it. The further back from the fret, the more force is necessary to get the note not to buzz which can pull the note sharp and causes fatigue in the hand.

    As far as exercises for dexterity there are plenty listed on the exercise sticky at the top of the technique forum.

  3. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    Truth of the matter is you won't.....but I have learned that that statement can be proved wrong in the right situation.

    At 70 years of age your body will not be really to deal with the stresses and strains of trying to recapture old physical skills. The opposite is happening, you lose them and the ability of the body to repair itself, if damaged in your endeavours may limit you even more.

    So look at it as a new set of skills based on what you can do...rather than what you could do. Don't look at this as coming back, look at it as starting again.

    Short scale bass is a great start ( I use them myself and find little if no real difference to longer scale basses sound or tone wise ) so what I recommend is to use stretches, not only will the help your playing, but keep your hands healthy.

    For you to increase your span needs elasticity in your soft tissue and at your age that will be lacking as will certain bone structure and joint functions.
    So check out the link and if you want to drop me a PM with some more info ( which we will sort out as we speak ) I can give you some safe and viable exercises to help you out.
    The real point you have to address in looking for such exercises is " can I do them safely and achieve a better function for doing so"?
    This is why more Info on your situation is required.

  4. anonymous111813

    anonymous111813 Guest

    Mar 1, 2011
    Try this:
  5. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    Use the thumb as a pivot like in this clip (06.38 into the clip).

  6. Thanks guys the videos have been an eye opener. I guess it all comes down to employing proper technique. One I found by Bunny Brunel I thought to be particularly helpful:

    Back to the practice board with the new technique.
    In my first post I was actually asking if anyone knew of physical exercise that I could do with my left hand while away from the bass. I do have a short scale acoustic Hohner bass that I am able to play with less effort but i don`t care to be limited to short scale. Also I have a telecaster body to begin a custom build. Having both a 30" neck & a 34" neck for it I would prefere to use the standard scale because I do intend to set it up in B*E*A*D tuning which I feel will work best with the longer scale. Take care. Bob
    tom_305 likes this.

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