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Relatively quick way to increase distance between your fretting fingers?


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Hi. I'm currently learning "Purple Haze" by The Jimi Hendrix Experience and "Footsteps In the Dark" by the Isley Brothers. Both songs feature some notes that are 2 frets and/or 2 strings apart. I'm wondering:

1. Is there a relatively quick way to increase the distance between your fretting fingers? Finding that out will make practicing the songs easier or more efficient.

2. Is it worth practicing these songs now even though I have to move my wrist/hand in order to play them in time, which is less efficient/more difficult and more tiring than if I was able to play without having to move my hand along? Should I just wait until the width between my fingers increases, or will it not increase unless I play this kind of songs?

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When I started playing bass I bought a book to teach me how to do it. The first song in the book was Hey Joe by Jimi Hendrix. The author said it was a great tune to allow new bassists to practice the 'one finger one fret' method of playing bass. She was right. The walking bassline at the end, which Noel Redding plays, is perfect to practice one finger one fret and slowly stretch your hand span. My left hand can now stretch an inch wider than my right hand (and I don't have one freakishly large left hand and a freakishly small right one.....honest).


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I'd be careful about using the OFPF technique on the lower (1-5) frets. Everyone's hands are different and there is no one size fits all. Some find the stretch from say F on the E string to G#, too much, regardless of how long you have been playing.

It is just as easy and much safer, to use the thumb as a pivot for large stretches. You dont say how long you have being playing. My guess is not too long. Otherwise your hand would not be tired from being moved. It takes time to build stamina and dexterity. Give your hands time to adjust. Pivoting is briefly mentioned half way through the second clip below.

The OFPF is a great technique, but when starting out, it is prudent to only use it higher on the neck. As your hands adjust, then by all means, move down the neck.

Here are some clips worth checking out :



Here is a similar type of thread from the "Talk Bass" forum.


Edited by Coilte
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For 2 frets and 2 strings apart, use your index finger on the lower note and your little finger on the octave.

Always move your hand in order to place your fingers over the right note.... don't stretch.

If you find something difficult or awkward to play, start slowly and keep playing it until it's easy.

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When you get more comfortable playing, you'll be able to move your hand in the split second it takes to get to that other note without over stretching. I frequently go from using my middle finger around the 7th / 8th fret to using my index finger on the 1st fret and it doesn't sound at a'll messy. Just takes time! :)

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