anarkee
oh the horror!
Join date: Aug 2006
3,136 IQ
#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
guylee
Obeys the Demon Code
Join date: Jun 2007
237 IQ
#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
Eklund
Registered User
Join date: Aug 2007
152 IQ
#3
Should be a sticky, me thinks.
Fler Ismaskiner!
Kivarenn82
Metal Un-Litist
Join date: Feb 2007
1,402 IQ
#4
hehe i think my hands are about the same size. its really tough to play bass because of them. classical position helps tho
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jazz_rock_feel
UG Resident
Join date: Jun 2006
2,342 IQ
#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.
anarkee
oh the horror!
Join date: Aug 2006
3,136 IQ
#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.
IndianRockStar
Epiphone bass=fail
Join date: Sep 2006
1,172 IQ
#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.
the humanity
A Political Man
Join date: Jun 2007
3,177 IQ
#8
I have rather large hands. but it indeed still feels good with a high strap.
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Royal Celebi
Registered User
Join date: Jul 2008
916 IQ
#9
Thank you anarkee! My hands are the same size as yours.

I hope these exercises will help...
Miss G
Registered User
Join date: Mar 2007
1,348 IQ
#10
Yes!

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




guitargod108
Defenstrated
Join date: Jan 2007
10 IQ
#11
Great advise cheers!
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Victory2134
UG's Harsh Observer
Join date: Jun 2008
174 IQ
#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.
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Everyone is mad

We all have the rights to be mad

So does you
the humanity
A Political Man
Join date: Jun 2007
3,177 IQ
#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
Victory2134
UG's Harsh Observer
Join date: Jun 2008
174 IQ
#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
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We all have the rights to be mad

So does you
thefitz
I Hate Naming Instruments
Join date: Dec 2006
2,922 IQ
#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..
TrainwreckX
Registered User
Join date: Oct 2008
133 IQ
#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:
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the humanity
A Political Man
Join date: Jun 2007
3,177 IQ
#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
Applehead
Acta non verba
Join date: Jul 2005
2,744 IQ
#18
And of course, girls, knowing how to handle something thick will hold you in good stead in other aspects of life....
gm jack
Warwick Fanboy
Join date: Apr 2006
241 IQ
#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.
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+1
thefitz
I Hate Naming Instruments
Join date: Dec 2006
2,922 IQ
#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..
anarkee
oh the horror!
Join date: Aug 2006
3,136 IQ
#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!
FenderAmpeg93
Loves Jazz Basses
Join date: Jan 2008
526 IQ
#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
apothecarrie
OOOoooOOO
Join date: Apr 2008
54 IQ
#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.
--------
alternitivebass
UG's John C. Reilly
Join date: Nov 2007
100 IQ
#24
i dont have bigger hands then you Tam and im 5'7'' but i have no problem either playing any full scale
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Wolfsblood138
Dude
Join date: May 2009
223 IQ
#25
Steve Harris from Iron Maiden is just your average guy but he could probably crush bricks with his hands.
We Are 138!

lol


skater dan0
ex-mod
Join date: Jul 2006
1,755 IQ
#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.
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Dan

Don't stop being you <3


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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.
anarkee
oh the horror!
Join date: Aug 2006
3,136 IQ
#27
Dan and I discussed this briefly and I will included this, with some editing for the new FAQ.
bassman10101
The Count
Join date: Jun 2007
2,004 IQ
#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.

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EvilCloset
Banned
Join date: Apr 2009
42 IQ
#29
This just made me want to measure my fingers; my middle finger is 4 and 7/16... do I have monkey hands? =(
thefitz
I Hate Naming Instruments
Join date: Dec 2006
2,922 IQ
#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..
Wolfsblood138
Dude
Join date: May 2009
223 IQ
#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,
Haanz
Mediocre Extraordinaire
Join date: Feb 2008
327 IQ
#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.
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skater dan0
ex-mod
Join date: Jul 2006
1,755 IQ
#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.