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Old 01-23-2013, 08:47 PM   #1
ChucklesMginty
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Improving hand span

You know that one harmonic in Portrait of Tracy where you fret the B on the A string and stretch way up to the D# to hit a harmonic? Well, I can't reach it. I mean my hand physically isn't big enough.

To make matters worse my bass is 35" scale, my pinky reaches about half a fret short.

I have fairly long fingers so I was surprised, but I'm curious if I'll ever be able to stretch far enough with practice or I'll have to find another way to get the harmonic?
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Old 01-23-2013, 08:58 PM   #2
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I always have felt that my reach has expanded or at least it was more comfortable to stretch that far. But there are some physical limitations that no matter how hard you work its just difficult.

As for the song I never tried to learn it so I cant pin point the exact bar your talking about but try moving the B To the E string and doing the harmonic on the A string.
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Old 01-23-2013, 08:59 PM   #3
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I'm not an expert on that song, but you could try some exercises like the "Spider Walk" I suppose to try to stretch out more
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Old 01-23-2013, 09:05 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fudger
As for the song I never tried to learn it so I cant pin point the exact bar your talking about but try moving the B To the E string and doing the harmonic on the A string.


You can't do that, it's like hitting the 4th fret harmonic. But you fret the B, and move it up two frets to get the same harmonic a tone higher.

It's less complicated that it sounds. But anyway, they have to be on the same string.

I can do it on the E, but it's a difficult shift and produces a dull tone.
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Old 01-23-2013, 09:37 PM   #5
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This is an alternative to hitting the harmonic in that way, but it takes a fair amount of practice to pull smoothly. Fret the note normally, and then you could pluck and mute the string over the 6th fret using the thumb and right hand to produce a harmonic.


But, if you actually want to play it correctly, your only real option is to practice the hand stretching exercises, like the spider walk, that were mentioned above.
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Old 01-23-2013, 10:39 PM   #6
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Trying to improve the degree to which you can spread your first and fourth fingers apart is pretty much a waste of time. It does not help. Thry this and you will understand: Spread your fingers apart so that they are stretched out as far as you can make them go. Now, with your other hand, gently (and I mean GENTLY!) push downwards on you first and fourth fingers until they are at (or practically at) a 180-degree separation. You should see that at best, you'll get about 3/4 of an inch, and even that is not useable since you still have to curl your hand underneath the neck and over the fretboard.

Your hands are as big as the Good Lord intended them to be. There isn't much of anything that you can do to increase your playing finger spread. You might pick up half an inch in some playing positions, but you will have stretched out your hand muscles so much that you will run the risk of straining one of those muscles. Let me assure you, if you have never pulled a muscle in your hand, then you don't know what real pain is.

Find another way to play the harmonic in Portrait of Tracy, or even better, find a note that works just as well or better that you can play in its place.
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Old 01-24-2013, 01:49 AM   #7
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Spider scales will give you better flexibility but yes, nature gave us small hands so we have to make due and be creative at times. At times I look at tabs and laugh because there is no freaking way I can play something that way. And then I find a way that works for me.

Someone once wrote up an alternative way to do that harmonic with small hands--I'll see if can find it and post it up here.
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Old 01-29-2013, 01:23 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by anarkee
Spider scales will give you better flexibility but yes, nature gave us small hands so we have to make due and be creative at times. At times I look at tabs and laugh because there is no freaking way I can play something that way. And then I find a way that works for me.

Someone once wrote up an alternative way to do that harmonic with small hands--I'll see if can find it and post it up here.

Hey Tams, any idea the value of a genuine one owner 1962 Fender Precision Bass.
My late friends widow is considering parting with it, It was refinished white on entering the UK as were many Fenders due to them arriving in the UK in just one colour.
I just want her to get the best price for it.

Regards John
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Old 01-29-2013, 06:11 PM   #9
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Gruhn Guitars - dealers in fine vintage instruments that they are - has a 1966 Fender Precision Candy Apple Red in excellent shape going for US$8,000.00 on their website:

http://www.gruhn.com/

The refinishing will knock some of the value off, but if it is a professional job, then not as much as you might think. Depending on the condition, I'd ask for at least US$6,500.00 for it; more if it has the original case (not many old basses seem to have the original case).

Gruhn will also do an appraisal for about $50.00, and they are well-respected in the vintage instrument industry. They're also good people. I recommend them highly.

Good luck!
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Old 01-30-2013, 09:44 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by FatalGear41
Gruhn Guitars - dealers in fine vintage instruments that they are - has a 1966 Fender Precision Candy Apple Red in excellent shape going for US$8,000.00 on their website:

http://www.gruhn.com/

The refinishing will knock some of the value off, but if it is a professional job, then not as much as you might think. Depending on the condition, I'd ask for at least US$6,500.00 for it; more if it has the original case (not many old basses seem to have the original case).

Gruhn will also do an appraisal for about $50.00, and they are well-respected in the vintage instrument industry. They're also good people. I recommend them highly.

Good luck!


The re-finish was done professionally through the dealer/importer, not too many arrived with cases.
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Old 01-30-2013, 01:15 PM   #11
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There's a couple of easy ways to play that harmonic.

The first, which I use, is to fret the second fret then use your thumb to create the artificial harmonic on the string (it's just on the neck side of the neck pickup on my Streamer Stage II).

Alternatively, fret a B on the E string and play the harmonic at the Eb. Not ideal, but it also works.
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Old 01-30-2013, 08:47 PM   #12
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I started playing on a 3/4 Scale Double Bass Violin when I was 9.

The way the B is played on the DBV (4 fingers 2&3 together 1 and 4 outstretched),all pressing the string down) is the same distance that you are trying to cover.

The Forearm must be parallel to the neck which is the same basic position as executing that note on the DBV.

My reach extends about 1/2" at least.

As you do this your hand will stretch naturally and expand your flexibility.

You can practice this without playing and get used to the range of motion before applying pressure to the action.

Start with 5 Min a day for a few, then 10 Min. Work the motion into your repretoire slowly.
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