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Fretting hand: How 'lined up' do fingers have to be?


bass2345
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In the following video the guy says at the 1 minute 49 seconds mark that the tip of the fingers on the fretting hand should all be in the same line, or pretty much on the same plane.

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

How important is this, and how close to being in a straight line should the finger tips be? How precise should one be when thinking about this

Also, does it matter if that line is more diagonal that horizontal? I sometimes find my finger tips are not in a horizontal straight line when I shift all the fingers up a string.

I'm not talking about playing with the fingers being straight rather than bent, because apparently they [i]should[/i] be bent (but not extremely); I'm talking about what he's talking about. It's hard to explain. Sorry for my lack of good explanation.

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I am not quite sure of your question, but my guess is that you are asking should your fingers be in line with the frets ? If this is correct, then he addresses this at around the 05.00 minute mark. It is not necessary to have the fingers parallel to the frets. They can be at a slight angle. IMO this is a more natural way of playing.

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So is it correct to say that what's natural is always what's best as long as you don't feel bad discomfort, not just here but in bass playing in general? Because sometimes I think my bass teacher has told me to do things when playing bass which I think I have not done naturally, at least not all the time, like taking my palm of my fretting hand away from the bass guitar.

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It may help to think of fretting a note not as if you are pushing the string into the fretboard but rather that you are pinching it between your finger and thumb. Try doing that in sequence from your index to your little finger, without the bass there, and you will notice that all your finger tips are in a line.

If you were to straighten your fingers and do the same thing you will note that your thumb cannot reach the longer fingers without you bending them. You would also then be fretting with the pad of the finger instead of the tip, which is going to reduce the force that you can apply.

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[quote name='bass2345' timestamp='1391973265' post='2363182']
So is it correct to say that what's natural is always what's best as long as you don't feel bad discomfort, not just here but in bass playing in general? Because sometimes I think my bass teacher has told me to do things when playing bass which I think I have not done naturally, at least not all the time, like taking my palm of my fretting hand away from the bass guitar.
[/quote]


As a general rule of thumb (no pun intended ;) ) if something feels comfortable, works for you, does not cause any pain and is safe, i.e. it wont cause problems in the future then it should be OK. Sometimes with certain techniques we may not feel any pain [i]now,[/i] but if we continue using them, it may cause injury over time.

Having said the above, there are tried and trusted methods that gets us playing in the most efficient way. They dont always feel natural and it takes time for them to become second nature. We pay teachers to teach us these methods, along with theory etc., so it makes sense to heed their instructions, unless you experience pain.

An example is what your teacher advises you about keeping your palm off of the neck of the bass. Keeping it there seems natural, is not going to cause any injury problems, but it is not a very efficient way of playing. So IMO your teacher is correct.

Edited by Coilte
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