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Finger postion of fretting hand


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Hi Guys.

Been playing almost a year now and i'm beyond the beginners stage but i am really worried about my fretting hand

When I compare myself to other players on you tube, their fretting hands seem to be flat to the board. Although I can play notes fairly quickly now, other peoples technique seem a lot better than mine and i'm not convinced i'm using the 'classic' playing style (if there is such a thing), i.e playing notes with the correct fingers etc. I do take lessons but nothing has been mentioned so far.

Is this something I should be 'fretting' (sorry couldn't help myself) about or is everybodys had positioning different?

I looked up Larry Graham on YouTube and he has his only unique style again so maybe you just develop your own style?

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If you are playing ok I wouldn't get too worked up about it, there are many great players with a 'unique' left hand (even someone like hadrian feraud has a 'bad' habit of lifting all his fingers off at times with his left hand and he does alright!), but to be honest if you spent a bit more time on your left hand technique, you will notice an improved in a few areas of your playing.

The one finger per fret is a standard thing, but when you practice it (usually by going 1-2-3-4 on E, 1-2-3-4 on A, 1-2-3-4 on D, 1-2-3-4 on G then 4-3-2-1 on G, 4-3-2-1 on D and so on up the fretboard) you have to be concious of what all the fingers are doing. The common problem is moving fingers away from the fretboard when you are playing a not with one of the fingers the others tend to raise. Slowly practice the above exercise and conciously hold the other fingers near the string when you play each note. The hardest to keep down tends to be your little finger when you are playing with your middle or ring finger because the nature of how the tendons in the had are.

You will also find if you can keep this shape with your fretting hand you can access a wider range of notes more easily and your lines will be more fluid.

I had exactly the same problem when I started. I thought I was great could play relatively fast, then one year on I looked at my technique after seeing a Patitucci video and thought "time to start all over again'. So I went back to basics and did everything slowly trying to sort out my technique on both hands. It's still not perfect, but it is at a point where I am happy and it doesn't stop me executing things I want to. Well, the majority of the time! :)

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Watch Francis Rocco Prestia. He keeps all the fingers of his left hand straight, resting on the strings, and moves his hand up and down the fret board. I brought his video, hoping to gain an insight into his technique, and found that he can't be copied. Great video though.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest Bald Eagle

Patrick Pfeifer does an exercise on finger permutations in his book bass guitar for dummies it covers every possible left hand fret permutation the key being to hold down all fingers except the one fretting the note, it's too long winded to explain it here recommend you buy the book don't be fooled by the tile it's an excellent resource for all levels. Theres a hammer on exercise aswell to tame fly away fingers along the same principle if you google it you may find same/similar exercises.

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