Module 7 / Major Scale -- The wrist

Since module 6 I’ve had this feeling that I’m doing something terribly wrong. I can sense the groove, I can read music, and I’m coming along. But, fretting has been giving me problems. My hands aren’t small ,I am left handled, and I have good command of all four fingers, but for whatever reason I can’t span the frets.

Somewhere in Module 6 I realized while watching Josh that the pinky extended most of the time, unless he’s way up the fretboard. And that helped, but still things just aren’t right.

Then came the scale lesson, and I was dreading it. Because I had tried to play scales before, but it was so awkward. So, I stopped the video and looked at his fret hand, and then I looked at mine.

My wrist is broken backwards and his is cupped forward. Arrgh. Now I have this habit, and I’ve got to break it.

Anyone ever have to deal with this?


I feeel with you!

It is not really A habit for me -yet- But I end up with the same hand position as you describe (fretting with left hand though, as I am Right handel)…
Practising scales at least an hour every day, but extending that pinky seems impossible, he he…

Back to work! Hoping it Will come :slight_smile:


@kwt7667 I’m not sure what you’re referring to with wrist position. Can you post a picture?

Also, as to the stretching, you are not alone. Everybody struggles with the stretch. I recommend this exercise for working on it.


Is your upper arm against the side of your chest?
If so, take it off! Stick out your elbow. That should fix it.



You asked for a pic; I’ll give you two!

This does not look at all like Josh’s fretting, and it’s not finger size. I’m doing something wrong! This is with the root note, C fretted.

A little better, but still not right…


I’ll definitely look at the elbow tonight. Hopefully the pic gives some clue.



Yep, moving the elbow looks like it would help.

To see what I’m talking about, hold your hands in front of you like your holding your bass. Then focus on rotating at the shoulder, moving your elbow up and away from the body. What you should see is the hand/wrist/forearm come more into an ergonomic alignment.

This does put more stress on the shoulder but as long as all your parts have a more natural alignment, the less likely you are to injure yourself and you should have a greater range of movement.

If this doesn’t help I would recommend tagging @JoshFossgreen and/or @Gio and asking them to take a look at these pictures.


Well, I just go through repeating the lesson 2 and the workouts on Module 7 / Lesson 2, and with my attention divided between Josh and my fretting hand I figured out what was going on: I start in position, but then my hand starts riding up into the neck of my bass. So, I’m looking down and my thumb is riding over neck. :+1: If I were to take a video you’d see me giving it a thumbs up! The gap between the bottom of fretboard and my palm is gone. My palm is contacting the fretboard. I seem to remember @JoshFossgreen at the beginning of the course saying you need to maintain a gap between the palm of your hand and the neck.

So now I am making a conscious effort to keep that spacing between my palm and the neck. It took effort, but it seemed to help. I think it will get better over time. We’ll just have to see.

I’m going to check out the elbow and shoulder. I may just take a video (once I figure out how to get the Mac to do one; I’m sure it’s easy, but the Mac OS isn’t my specialty).

Maybe it’s not all in the wrist after all, but rather in the palm of my hand ( or what’s not in the palm of my hand…)



I recommend this video.

I am convinced this video saved me from a RSI.


@kwt7667 -

I see what you’re talking about.
I would say - keep an eye on it, stay aware of it, keep on the path toward perfect technique annnd - don’t let this stage get in your head.

Perfect technique and posture in the left hand is a long time in the making.
Everything you’re doing there looks good for beginning technique.
Great, really.
A lot of the fine points, the relaxation, the flexibility and the finger strength come from time time time and playing playing playing.

As long as it’s something you’re aware of and constantly checking on, you’re in a very good place to launch into playing.

And for more in depth review/comments, post a video of you actually playing a piece. It’s much easier to analyze and watch and assess when we can see how things are moving.

All the best to you in your playing!


Thanks @Gio I really appreciate the encouragement. This has been the “thing” that’s been bugging me since the beginning. I wondered sometimes if there wasn’t something wrong with my wrist. Everything else seems to be coming along, except for this awkward feeling with my wrist/hand/fingers (which should not be, I’m left handed after all).

I’ll work on that video and post it soon. I haven’t posted a video in years, so take me. bit fo that. Again, I really appreciate the encouragement; it really helps!


@howard this could be a game changer. I quickly grabbed my bass to hold it while watching and it felt right. I’ll have work with it, and like Gio says it will be a conscious effort for a while to get it down.

Interestingly enough, YouTube suggested an old video on @JoshFossgreen old channel. So I plan to watch that one as well!





Well, I think I might be starting to put it together, all these pieces of advice from everyone and some head scratching.

I was starting to feel pretty good until I hit the improv lesson. The improv was no problem, it was accessing the notes above the 12th fret with my fingers. I spent 40 minutes studying, try to figure out what I was doing wrong. Why can’t I do what others seem to do so effortlessly. Take this video at 1:48, when she goes right up past the 12th fret:

So effortless! So easy! But, what I finaly saw was clearly she’s coming under the neck so effortlessly, and here I am doing this contorted thing. I’m coming at it from the left at an angle:

Maybe I’m such a big guy that I can’t get access with the bass sitting on my right leg. I watched Ben Burleigh ( a big guy) play as blind folded bass reviewer on some bass review video on the Bass Buzz channel, and I saw him holding a bass a bit more centered to his body, so I tried it, and I can now access those high frets without stretching my fingers so hard. I can do it on my right leg, but I really have to turn the neck away and up to get access. I just really want to sit the thing on my right leg like most people.


Don’t give yourself such a hard time. The lady in the video is obviously very experienced and comparing yourself to her isn’t a very fair assessment.

Also, there’s this… How do you hold your bass when sitting?

All of us have to find what works best for us. I play on my left leg. No particular reason other than that’s what’s most comfortable for me. I even did it that way back when I was thin.


My first comment was going to be “wow your bass is really far to your right.”

How does it feel when you play standing up?


@eric.kiser Oh, I know she’s real good, but I really like to look capable players and see how they do what they do. Interestingly enough, she only has two videos on her channel and the vids are 5 years old. I wonder what happened to her?

As for me, just came back from another 20 minutes with my bass. Thanks to you and everyone on this thread, I can play the major scale down low smoothly and comfortably now. Just need more practice, it’s coming along very well. I feel unstuck know, and I feel comfortable moving along with the course. I just felt I needed to address this before I moved forward.

As far as those frets go above the 12th fret, I feel the key for me is to get my arm as perpendicular to the neck as I can. Some how watching bassists like Gio, Josh and others, their arm seems to somehow come up from behind the neck at just the right angle so that natural position for the wrist possible (thanks @howard Howard for the video!)., Being big doesn’t help, but I agree with you it probably wouldn’t make a difference, your frame is your frame. Now that I am aware of arm angle relative to the neck, I can do this two ways: 1) Sit is on the left leg, which is really comfortable, or 2) saw the lady in the video drop her left shoulder to help her gain access to those upper frets, so if I drop my shoulder and move the neck forward I can do it, but not quite as comfortable.

I can’t thank you all @eric.kiser, @Gio, and @howard for your help with this. It means a lot to me. I want to make music in a very bad way. It’s been a life long dream, and after 54 years, I just want to do it. I can feel the groove, and I can improvise inside my head. I wanna put those from my head into hands on this bass!


@howard Actually, standing up it feels much better, than when I am sitting.


I bet. I think your problem is much more of simple positioning of the bass there when sitting than anything you are doing.

I personally don’t like playing sitting for this reason, the bass is in a different spot than when standing for me. Just feels kinda wrong.


There are all sorts of body movements and adjustments that I have to make to get to different areas.

The best way I’ve found for working through these shifts is with set exercises that make me move from 1st fret all the way up my fretboard and back again.
I like to do exercises that don’t involve any scales or brain power to remember, so that I can focus only on fingering technique and position shifting.

I do one I call the Spider Climb.
I start on the first fret of the E string and play frets 1-2-3-4
Then, A string: 2-3-4-5, then D: 3-4-5-6, then G: 4-5-6-7 once I’ve hit the G string, I bounce back towards the E string, always moving up one fret at a time - so -
after G: 4-5-6-7, it’s D string: 5-6-7-8 and so on and so on.
I usually stop when I get to the 13th fret of the G string, then go back.

G: 13-12-11-10, D: 12-11-10-9, and reverse the excercise.

If you can shift through all the positions on the way up, you’ll get an idea of what your arms and body need to do to accommodate the access to the upper register.

Lemme know if it helps.


Thanks @Gio I’m going to do it tonight. Watching that video I was thinking there’s got to be a transition-- but how does she do it? Answer: we’re all made differently, but do the Spider Climb and work it out! It’s just going to take effort, that’s why I hit the brakes in module 7 thinking, “Quit pretending! You need to figure this out, else you’re going to limp through these lessons as they get harder.” So, I did spend nearly an hour analyzing everything I do, taking pics, etc. I’m sure the Spider Climb is going to help me work out the last kinks. I"ve gotten a lot better already since starting this thread. :slightly_smiling_face: