WTF is wrong with my pinky--can't play in upper register

I am in module 9 doing the minor key improve. And I cannot for the life of me get my pinky across to the A string in any comfortable fashion. I am playing with the bass nearly vertical and dont even have my thumb behind and still dont have the reach. Putting my thumb behind the neck or lowering the angle to “normal” just makes it 10 times worse. Do I have some some of freak deformity? In order to get my pinky “over” I need to arch the hell out of my wrist, which is not comfortable. See pics of freakish hands below.





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I can’t reach it either @Old_Noob so I just use a different finger :metal:

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Looks the same here. Can’t use the pinky much in the higher register on the E and A strings. I try to use the other three fingers.

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Same here.
Just ignore the pinky where it can’t work.

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Use your ring finger instead, that looks comfortable enough.

One of the mistakes I did during B2B was that I tried to follow Josh’s fingerings no matter what, and it almost got me injured. Some of the things he does is impossible with normal sized fingers. If you can’t do it then just use a more comfortable fingering, your first priority is to not get injured.

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Having said that, some of the things that can help with this problem (in my experience at least):

  • Shorter strap length
  • Thinner neck
  • Tapered heel
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You’re holding the bass too close to your body on the left side. You can’t hug the bass. The bass body should contact right side of your abdomen alone, with the bass neck angled out and away from your left shoulder. This will free your arm up, and you won’t get all tied up on those upper frets…

I know what I’m talking about, because I was there too…

In this pic I am holding the bass further right, but it’s really the same mistake; neck is too close to my body.

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The guitar players I play with would have a cow if they saw me playing my bas above the 12th fret…:rofl::rofl::rofl:

We kinda have a rule for playing… I stay out of their territory, and they stay outta mine…:crazy_face::crazy_face:

Keep on Thumpin’!
Lanny

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I would agree and also suggest moving your elbow away from your body and see if that helps.

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Thanks all…i have found that when standing. It is easiet to rest the bass on my hip with the neck out an angle

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Yep. Took me a long time to figure it out. Once you finally got the ergonomics right, it goes so much better. Watch the guys that know what they are doing in video. Notice all the relations, hips, shoulders, legs, elbow, strap length to the instrument. As time goes on you’ll fine tune the way your hold your bass…to your own physique. There are general rules, but in end you’ll need to fine tune it to your own body.

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Glad to see I’m not the only one with this problem. I find it’s just easier to use another finger instead (like my ring finger) to compensate. I tried to match Josh’s fingering finger-by-finger, and it just isn’t working for me. When I just use the finger that feels most comfortable, I’m able to keep up pretty well.

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I’m late to the party but wanted to mention that Josh is playing a 24 fret bass, so the reach angle is not as sharp as on a 20 fret bass. That and he probably has gigantor fingers!

I have size XL hands and can’t reach it while sitting down. Playing while standing up and wrapping the thumb over the neck makes it somewhat comfortable and achievable for me with plenty of finger to spare.

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I agree with some of the comments above that some of the issue is your bass position, it’s super hugged close to your body (at least in the photo). Try pushing the headstock away from you at like a 30-40 degree angle, creating some space between your torso and the back of the neck. That helps make navigation a little easier.

But also, as your arm crosses over to the high frets, your pinky will naturally tilt away from the bass, so if you need to swap your ring finger, it’s not a huge deal!

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That works for me plus I have my strap at the smallest possible setting so what you said mixed with bass higher up works really well.

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My belly gets in the way because I am a fat loaf. My belly pushes the bass into a position that makes it hard sometimes to play with proper technique.

Nothing wrong with you.
Don’t be afraid to try different bass angles (headstock up/down, whole bass angled out more like a 45 degree angle to your body, etc). And don’t be afraid to start rolling your hand under the neck. Find what works for you.
It’s all a bit uncomfortable…until it isn’t.
Takes some time and…yup, practice.

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Same issue as the others. I have tiny hands. Using the micro shifts helps most of the time. But I find I need to bring my thumb around to the bottom or front of the neck for even my ring finger to reach on the higher frets. Is that a terrible thing to do? Is there another solution?


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Nope.
I hvae bigger hands and do it too.
Keeping your thumb straight up and down up there is not important.
My thumb spends a lot of time pointed at the headstock along the fretboard too.

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Thanks. :blush:

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