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#1
Ok, this is something I REALLY need advice on. The worship team at my church is looking for a bass player. I've always been interested in playing guitar, but figured I couldn't with my hand the way it is. Let me explain...

Look at your left hand. Imagine your pinky and thumb finger at normal length. Index, middle and ring finger cut at the first knuckle (if starting point is the wrist).

I have ruled out playing "regular" guitar as I just don't think it's an option. Is it possible to be successful at bass with the three above mentioned fingers being shorter than normal? Would using a pinky and thumb "substitute" for how a guitar may normally be played?

This is my first post and could really use the advice I'm sure this site can provide.

thanks
Matt
#2
you could probably play church-type stuff (i'm assuming nothing beyond playing the roots would be needed), but since you're starting from scratch, why not try to learn playing lefty? that way, your healthy hand is the fretting hand (as long as the right hand isnt in a similar situation)
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#3
go for it dude
theres no reason not to try
maybe ull have to play with a thumb pick
but so what
maybe u can make it work with your thumb and pinky
ive seen people play guitar really well with their FEET
if you dont try youll hate yourself forever
You get nothing! You lose! Good day sir!
#5
OR, you could find a left handed bass, so you pick with your left hand.
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#7
OMG I CAN ANSWER THIS ONE! the guitarist in my school jazz band is amazing and he plays bass really well too, all he has on his left hand is a baby sized thumb (doctors screwed him up somehow b4 birth) and he plays with just his thumb, left handed guitar, has a special pick thing devised too. he. is. amazing! and your hand sounds less deformed so go for it!
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#8
Wow...didn't think so many replies so quick. From what I understand about bass, it's not fast picking like a regular guitar...correct? I'm much more cordinated with my right hand (yes...normal length fingers). Does anyone see any problems that can happen that just aren't overcomable (is that even a word?). Or, maybe I can learn to "thumb" the top two strings and "pinky" the lower two on the neck (using a right hand guitar).

thanks soooo much for the encouragement so far!

matt
#9
Quote by Thin Ears
OMG I CAN ANSWER THIS ONE! the guitarist in my school jazz band is amazing and he plays bass really well too, all he has on his left hand is a baby sized thumb (doctors screwed him up somehow b4 birth) and he plays with just his thumb, left handed guitar, has a special pick thing devised too. he. is. amazing! and your hand sounds less deformed so go for it!



WOW! thanks for this insight!
#10
Dude, don't let something like this stop you from playing. You can still have fun, regardless; and do something good for you and your church.
#11
There are videos of that one guy with one hand playing bass. Hell.. there's videos of that guy without arms playing guitar.. anything is possible. Don't give up because of something like that; it'll take practice and dedication, but it's possible. I wish you the best.
#12
Thanks guys. I just didn't really think about it much. Just figured I'd leave it alone at first, but this has me giddy.

If I got a lefty bass guitar, a thumb pick should do it....right? Like I said before, thumb is normal. Are lefty guitars just as common as righty guitars? I'm looking online and only notice righty guitars.
#13
You could probably get decent with practice. 2 fingers is plenty. Half the main stream bassists only use one anyways.

Try to get a bass with a thin neck, so you can use your thumb to fret. Good luck, man.
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#14
Do not give up.

The story of TONY IOMMI (of Black Sabbath) from Wikipedia:

Tony Iommi picked up the guitar as a teenager, after being inspired by the likes of Hank Marvin and The Shadows. In an industrial accident at the age of 18 on his last day of work in a sheet metal factory, he lost the tips of the middle and ring fingers of his right hand. Being left-handed, he used his right hand to fret the strings of a guitar. He initially thought that his days of playing guitar were over, but his boss (who knew of his "night job" as a pub band guitar player) paid him a visit during his recovery and encouraged him to reconsider by playing a Django Reinhardt record, because Reinhardt lost mobility in the third and fourth fingers of his fretting hand in a fire. After attempting to learn to play right-handed, Iommi strung his guitars with extra-light strings (using banjo strings, which were a lighter gauge than even the lightest guitar-strings of the time) and wore plastic covers over the two damaged fingers. He fashioned the latter himself, by melting washing-up liquid bottles into a ball and then using a soldering iron to make holes into this ball, putting his fingers in whilst the plastic was still soft enough to be shaped. He then trimmed and sanded away the excess plastic to leave himself with two thimbles, which he then covered with leather, to provide better grip on the strings. Subsequent tips have been custom-made.


And look who he became.

Good luck man.

-Sno
#16
Quote by abcdboy
You could probably get decent with practice. 2 fingers is plenty. Half the main stream bassists only use one anyways.

Try to get a bass with a thin neck, so you can use your thumb to fret. Good luck, man.



Ok, so you are saying to get a right handed guitar...

Seems about 50/50. I will just have to go to a store and see what feels best.
#18
So the fingers on your plucking hand are all (roughly) the same length?
#19
Quote by Tallman
So the fingers on your plucking hand are all (roughly) the same length?



Yes, my right hand is completely normal. Only the left hand has the defect. In fact, I can still type about 42 words per minute using both hands with the short fingers....I don't know if this will help (if you can type with your left hand, you can play guitar - kind of thing).
#21
I would definitely go lefty. But there are definitely things you can do if you stay righty, thumb chords and such. http://www.richiehavens.com/HM3365.htm
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#22
man you type faster than me and all of my fingers are normal(i type like 34 words per minute)
#23
Thanks to everyone for all the kind words of encouragement. I will let everyone know what happens with this.

matt
#24
I agree with playing lefty. There's no reason you can't hold a pick with your left hand still between your thumb and index finger. Or pick with your pinky and slap with your thumb.

It will probably feel really awkward at first, but I think in the long run you'll be much better off using your right hand for fretting.
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#25
Quote by krims0n
I agree with playing lefty. There's no reason you can't hold a pick with your left hand still between your thumb and index finger. Or pick with your pinky and slap with your thumb.

It will probably feel really awkward at first, but I think in the long run you'll be much better off using your right hand for fretting.



I didn't think of using pinky and thumb as you mentioned...time to go feel one out soon I think...
#26
totally go lefty. its better than not trying at all. if you're looking for a decent lefty bass try this one: http://www.guitarcenter.com/Ibanez-SR300DX-Soundgear-Left-Handed-Electric-Bass-100354649-i1150624.gc

its the best i could find at a (somewhat) lower cost. the others were kinda bad...
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#27
Quote by Don't Panic Ok?
Man don't let your situation discourage you from guitar or bass. Look up Django Reinhardt and read about what happened to him, and what he overcame.


The Wiki:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Django_Reinhardt



I believe it was that man who inspired Tony Iommi to keep playing. Good stuff right there.
#28
I wouldn't doubt for a minute that you can play. You can develop your own style and technique.

Django Reinhart played with only a thumb and two fingers on his left hand, and he was one of the greatest ever to pick up a guitar.
#29
I deffinatly agree with everyone who says you should go for a left-handed bass. Whatever you do, don't let your disability stand in your way. Like others have said there are lots of disabled players out there. I remember reading about a girl called Wallace Bird who lost all the fingers on her left hadn in an accident,yet taught herself guitar and has just released an album. Go for it and then come back here and tell us all how you getting on!
#30
I really didn't realize that there was people out there playing with less than I have to deal with. I have no doubt now, that I can play as long as I practice hard and commit myself to it. thanks again.
#31
Quote by mlomeli
Wow...didn't think so many replies so quick. From what I understand about bass, it's not fast picking like a regular guitar...correct? I'm much more cordinated with my right hand (yes...normal length fingers). Does anyone see any problems that can happen that just aren't overcomable (is that even a word?). Or, maybe I can learn to "thumb" the top two strings and "pinky" the lower two on the neck (using a right hand guitar).

thanks soooo much for the encouragement so far!

matt



Sadly, bass is just as fast as guitar (unless you compare shreading to fingerstyle bass) and is often easily as complex.


Playing left handed with a thumb pick for either bass or guitar is probably your best option.
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+1
#34
i agree with the people who said you should get a lefty guitar, (so you can use your right hand to fret) it sounds like you might not even need to use a thumb pick.

i think the main problem you would have fretting with your left, is it might be harder to reach all the strings and chords.

Where as if you get a lefty guitar and fret with the right hand, you won't have any problems with that (at least no more then everyone else does) but your gonna to have a harder time with coordination of both hands if your right handed.


PS. Go for it!
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Last edited by Yakri at Dec 14, 2007,
#35
I basically decided to go lefty and going to get a Washburn T14 (T12 if they offer a lefty version). I will let everyone know what happens once it's in hand and I get to try it out. Thanks again to all of you.
matt
#36
Hi Matt, answering your question, you could more than likely play bass without half of those three fingers. Look at Tony Iommi (guitarist for Black Sabbath). He had his fingertips cut off in a machine in a sheet metal factory. He made artificial fingertips using some melted plastic, but nowadays I think he has them custom made out of rubber. Maybe you should look into something like that?
Last edited by playinbass1432 at Dec 16, 2007,
#37
I agree that you should go lefty.

Also in addition to Iommi and Reinhardt, check out Phil Keaggy. He is missing the middle finger on his right hand, and he's a fingerpicker. That right, a fingerpicker, and one of the best there is too.
#38
for a right handed bass u will need to use more then one finger most of the time. you could play with one finger but you would need to have a pretty strong arm and a strong pinky. i play master of puppets (metallica, fast) with one finger on the bass and it tires my arm out extremely fast. otherwise go lefty. i didnt quite get ur description but it sounded like u had parts of ur 3 middle fingers and if u have any dexterity in them u might be able to finger pick. or another idea that may work or horribly fail, is to get alot of plastic, melt it and mold it similar to the shape of someones fingers, from the point where urs stop. then stick them in a glove. put blu tack or whatever on the stubs (sorry i couldnt think of another word) and put ur hand in the glove. it will be a bit clumsy at first but if u persist u will get used to it. play with ur thumb for church and practice at home with gloved things. if u get good enough with the glove u can try it at church.
#39
yeah, look up django reinhardt.

he was in a fire and i think some of his fingers were fused together, into some sort of giant omni-finger, and he was ****ing awesome.
he just developed a playing style that worked with him and his disability.

i think it was einstein who said, "if the facts dont fit the theory, change the facts"

if you cant play things in the traditional way, work out your own.


edit: oh, and then theres the guy who plays guitar but has no arms whatsoever. he uses his feet. its immense.
cant be bothered to look for a link at the moment, but there are videos around.
i think his band was called big toe?
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#40
Take a look at Martin Deschamps.

This guy was born with only ONE good leg. Both of his arms are almost unusable and one of his legs.

He played drums in a band in high school.

He is now one of the most respected rockers here in Quebec, and he plays Bass guitar.
Look at this picture.

Martin Deschamps

Do not let anything discourage you. When you want, you can!
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