#1
Lately, we’ve seen quite a few threads on the “I want a short scale because my hands are too small for a standard scale bass". Well, Miss G and I would like to dispel some rumours here.





Here are two pictures of my hands. As you can see, they aren’t exactly John Entwistle material. I’m not a big person overall at 5’4”. And yet, I manage a full size bass quite well, even those chunky necked Precisions. I have no problems with 5 and 6 string basses either.

What it comes down to is practice, esp. scales and good technique. For those smaller handed members, here are a few words to the wise.


1. Make sure you wear your bass higher and the neck slanted up. You will never play like Paul Simonon and be able to manage a P bass:



You should be more like Rocco Prestia:




2. Make sure your fretting hand thumb is behind the neck. Your thumb should act as a pivot, which eliminates unnecessary shifts, esp when shifting from a note played with your first finger to a note played by your fourth finger (pinky). This is not a recommended technique for you; its a vital technique for you to be successful.

3. Make playing scales part of your everyday routine. Run your scales in all positions and play them straight, broken 3rds, arppegios etc. If you go to the bass FAQ, there is a link to a bass exercise routine that covers this nicely. This will help you develop stretch and stamina. Make sure you play each note cleanly with good tone. As Applehead says, speed is a by product of accuracy.

4. Be aware that tabs are not always going to work for you. You may have to adjust fingering to be more efficient and make the song easier for you to manage.

5. Spider walk scales are going to be your best bet for developing flexibility and stretch. There are two versions of this exercise, both are worth considering. My former bass teacher taught me version two and it really pushed my speed, stretch and flexibility.

Version 1:

http://www.expertvillage.com/video/5520_bass-guitar-spider-walk.htm

Version 2:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QVFHpMWCuv8


And buy a short scale because you want to, not because someone tells you, you have to.

And I've posted this before, but its worth a second look. This is my former bass teacher and he's got marginally larger hands than I do. And that his 6 string he's playing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhpdSPcu__w
#2
yes! i'm doing everything right! except the spider scales i'm gonna have to check on those

btw, thank you very much anarkee. this helps. and i know how much you hate it when small people think they have to buy short scale basses
#4
hehe i think my hands are about the same size. its really tough to play bass because of them. classical position helps tho
Some grammar and proper spelling omitted as an exercise for the reader.

*This has been a public service announcement*
#5
Just about the spider exercise (the second one, which to me is 100x better than the first). In that video he didn't keep his fingers down, but you should try and keep your fingers down for as long as possible before having to move them to play a different note. This will definitely help with stamina and hand strength.

Good thread idea though.
#6
Bales is correct--you should try to keep your fingers in place and only move the finger that is walking to the next note. I'll see if I can drag up a better video to demonstrate.
#7
And I thought MY hands were small at 3 1/2 inches for my middle finger.

Oh, and some advice, though its not one fret per finger, sometimes I use my pinky to do octaves low on the neck and for extreme fourths.
#8
I have rather large hands. but it indeed still feels good with a high strap.
Quote by FatalGear41
I wouldn't call what we have here on the Bass Forum a mentality. It's more like the sharing part of an AA meeting.

Quote by Jason Jillard
HUMANITY WHATS WRONG WITH YOU.


Warwick Fortress>>Acoustic AB50

http://www.myspace.com/rustingbloom
#10
Yes!

My hands aren't very big either but I make my Squier's P bass neck my b*tch daily




#11
Great advise cheers!
Quote by futurejimmypage
HOLEY MOLEY MACCARONI!!!! you are like 7 hours into the future. Whats it like? is the war over? is bush dead? Are the new episodes of family guy out yet? is global warming over? Did they unfreeze walt Disney???


#12
Quote by the humanity
I have rather large hands. but it indeed still feels good with a high strap.

Oh yeah, I have my strap as high as it can go. and I look damn cool to.

Thanks anarkee, I think you should add this to the FAQ.
Quote by Hal-Sephira

We all have the rights to be mad

So does you
#13
Quote by Victory2134
Oh yeah, I have my strap as high as it can go. and I look damn cool to.

Thanks anarkee, I think you should add this to the FAQ.

I have mine higher...
Quote by FatalGear41
I wouldn't call what we have here on the Bass Forum a mentality. It's more like the sharing part of an AA meeting.

Quote by Jason Jillard
HUMANITY WHATS WRONG WITH YOU.


Warwick Fortress>>Acoustic AB50

http://www.myspace.com/rustingbloom
#14
Quote by the humanity
I have mine higher...

*raises strap until the bass neck points down*
I know how much you can't stand neck dive Humanity, therefore I win.
Quote by Hal-Sephira

We all have the rights to be mad

So does you
#15
You guys are all lucky you can nipple ride. When I nipple ride, I have about 5 and a half feet of man below the bass and it's not attractive.

And as I always said - if my fingers (which are wider than they are tall) can play mandolin, anybody can play a full-scale bass. Although I must say that while I have a decent hand size, I have one of the smallest pinkies I've ever seen in proportion to the rest of my fingers and because of it cannot properly play unless I thumb the back of the neck.
Quote by Cody_Grey102
I was looking at a used Warwick Vampyre LTD 5'er for about $200. I went home to grab my wallet and came back and some jerk with an epic beard got it already..
#16
Thanks a lot for posting this. I'm a brand new bass player and I found this incredibly insightful and I could see how it would be useful. My pinky is so small, but the rest of my fingers are longer...
Practice Gear:
Ibanez SRX3EXQM1 Bass (Black)
12ft Monster Cable
Peavey MAX 158 Bass Amp
Sennheiser HD 280 Pro Headphones


Inspiration: Flea, J. Myung, L. Claypool, R. Trujillo, V. Wooten, N. Mendel
#17
Quote by thefitz
You guys are all lucky you can nipple ride. When I nipple ride, I have about 5 and a half feet of man below the bass and it's not attractive.

And as I always said - if my fingers (which are wider than they are tall) can play mandolin, anybody can play a full-scale bass. Although I must say that while I have a decent hand size, I have one of the smallest pinkies I've ever seen in proportion to the rest of my fingers and because of it cannot properly play unless I thumb the back of the neck.

I look like a dweeb too. not a horizontally advanced dweeb, but a dweeb, nevertheless. just do a stupid dance, the audience will celebrate your dweebness.
Quote by FatalGear41
I wouldn't call what we have here on the Bass Forum a mentality. It's more like the sharing part of an AA meeting.

Quote by Jason Jillard
HUMANITY WHATS WRONG WITH YOU.


Warwick Fortress>>Acoustic AB50

http://www.myspace.com/rustingbloom
#18
And of course, girls, knowing how to handle something thick will hold you in good stead in other aspects of life....
#19
Just to further this, depite being 6'6", my fingers average about 0.2" longer than Anarkee's, and I play a 5 string Warwick.

And fitzy, I am just about as tall as you, and I pretty much nipple ride. Just adopt a Necrophagist style ninja stance while playing.
Warwick freak of the Bass Militia. PM Nutter_101 to join

Quote by elliott FTW
Damn you and Warwickyness

Quote by ScottB
Quote by CLIFF_BURTON
gm jack knows everything
+1
#20
I just look bloody ridiculous and it's not flattering. I don't have a ruler with me, but my middle finger's the length of my Samsung cell phone and that's all I can really say. I can play at my strap height very, very comfortably, but hitting the E string past the 10th fret with my pinkie's difficult without adjusting my position. My middle finger can actually reach it better than my pinkie. 5-string Warwicks have super-tight string spacing and maybe I could reach better, but picking would be a huge adjustment.
Quote by Cody_Grey102
I was looking at a used Warwick Vampyre LTD 5'er for about $200. I went home to grab my wallet and came back and some jerk with an epic beard got it already..
#21
Another myth that Fitz touched on in one of his blogs is the one finger per fret vs Simandl method.

With some practice, any bassist above the age of say 10 should be able to handle one finger per fret method., even on the lower frets. I know that Hal Leonard pushes Simandl in their first bass method book, but unless a player is very young, its unecessary in my opinion.

I will admit I use Simandl method on fretless, but its not because I have to, its because I find I have a higer level of accuracy when I do.

Quote by Applehead
And of course, girls, knowing how to handle something thick will hold you in good stead in other aspects of life....


Oh man, you finally found a female version of all those tapping and slapping jokes!
#22
To anarkee, maybe you should sticky this.
Fender FSR Standard Jazz Bass(Sapphire Blue finish!!)
Squier VM TB Bass
Squier Precision Bass(heavily modified)
Behringer 180 Watt Combo<--My EQ pedal made this sound decent O_o until I get my Gallien-Krueger half stack
#23
I like this thread.

Anarkee, my fingers are about 1cm shorter than yours and yeah, I play a normal scale bass fine.

It was difficult playing in the beginning but stretching and playing exercises that my teacher gave me helped me position my fingers better. It's not that much of a problem anymore.
--------
#24
i dont have bigger hands then you Tam and im 5'7'' but i have no problem either playing any full scale
Quote by RevaM1ssP1ss
The 2 best colours EVER pitted against each other? No wai!

I voted lime.

Quote by SeveralSpecies
btw lime kicked ass

Member of the Bass Militia PM Nutter_101 to join
Team Lime Green!
#25
Steve Harris from Iron Maiden is just your average guy but he could probably crush bricks with his hands.
We Are 138!

lol


#26
don't bump old threads with useless posts like that.

i'm not going to lock this thread because it's a great resource for small handed bassists.
Quote by bassmanjoe08
Dan

Don't stop being you <3


Quote by fatgoogle
I think after this relentless adding for the last 10 mins, that Dan is the coolest looking. Goddamn welsh people and my great etc etc etc etc etc granddad is welsh.
#27
Dan and I discussed this briefly and I will included this, with some editing for the new FAQ.
#28
duuude play with your bass up hiiigh then when you get a boner when youre playin all the ladys can see it! ahhh yehhh on stage bj
My name is Greg, use it.

Sarcastic

Angry

Hopeful
#29
This just made me want to measure my fingers; my middle finger is 4 and 7/16... do I have monkey hands? =(
#30
Quote by bassman10101
duuude play with your bass up hiiigh then when you get a boner when youre playin all the ladys can see it! ahhh yehhh on stage bj

Didn't seem to matter to Lemmy...
Quote by Cody_Grey102
I was looking at a used Warwick Vampyre LTD 5'er for about $200. I went home to grab my wallet and came back and some jerk with an epic beard got it already..
#31
Quote by skater dan0
don't bump old threads with useless posts like that.

i'm not going to lock this thread because it's a great resource for small handed bassists.



I was only saying that because he has small hands and he is great on the bass with a strong attack.

Edit: Its just to give encouragement. Or at least I tried.
We Are 138!

lol


Last edited by Wolfsblood138 at May 21, 2009,
#32
Thanks a lot for this threrad. Is it stickied? I didn't check. If it's not, it damn well ought to be.

It's pretty daunting at first playing bass with small hands. I'm 5'10" and have marginally smaller hands than anarkee, so I went for a short scale first.

After I started lurking these boards, my second ended up being full scale and I absoloutely don't regret it.

Anyway, great thread. I've always been unsure about strap height and the Rocco Prestia pic actually turned out to be a pretty awesome height. Also, I didn't know about that second spider scale seems a much better workout than the one I was doing (the other one listed). Definately should be stickied.
Quote by Marcel Veltman
Being a rather mediocre musician myself, I'm all on the hand of Haanz.

Guitar:
MIM '09 Fender Telecaster
Laney VC15-110 Old English White '10
Freshman FOP1DN Acoustic

Bass:
Ibanez SRX590
Laney RB4
Tech21 SansAmp BassDriver DI
Boss ODB-3
#33
the thread won't be stickied, The information will be taken, edited and used in the new FAQ thread which will be stickied
Quote by bassmanjoe08
Dan

Don't stop being you <3


Quote by fatgoogle
I think after this relentless adding for the last 10 mins, that Dan is the coolest looking. Goddamn welsh people and my great etc etc etc etc etc granddad is welsh.