Left hand technique

Hi everyone, in this basic technique lesson I will give you three essential advices on how to position your left hand on the electric bass, plus a bonus tip exercise to let you practice efficiently without your hand feeling too tired.

Advice #1: your thumb in the center part of the neck and the other four fingers on the fretboard, in a relaxed position.

Remember not to raise your fingers too much and keep them as close as possible to the fretboard. When you start playing the bass, it’s natural that your fingers don’t want to cooperate, since they tend to move further from the fretboard, as you play. So, first of all your hand should follow the wrist in a straight (or almost straight) position, like in the picture above, and never at a 90 degree angle.

Advice #2: extremely important, the relaxation of your hand: before starting your daily practice, stretch both hands with a smiling soft ball, like this one.

Advice #3: always check the fingerings on your instrument out of tempo first, and once you feel confident, start your exercises at a slow tempo (usually between 60 and 80 bpm), and increase gradually, still focusing on keeping a good hand posture.

Bonus tip exercise: this one is a very simple exercise that puts into practice the previous advices. I want to share it with you because I found to be really effective among students that want to improve their left hand technique. Starting from the third fret of the E string, use index and pinky to play respectively G and Bb. When lowering the pinky to play the Bb, bring down the middle and ring fingers as well. Follow the same procedure for the rest of the exercise, and remember that the whole point is to have a left hand well positioned and closer to the fretboard, in order to develop a better technique, and don't strain your hand with strange as well incorrect positions.

Again, this exercise is a practical and easy way to muscle memorize your left hand position, and the whole point is to keep all your fingers as close as possible to the fretboard, so that you’ll be able to develop speed and accuracy in a more efficient way.

 

Remember: even if you’re using only the first and fourth finger, make an effort to lower your middle and ring fingers on the fretboard together with the pinky. This will help you to keep a good left hand posture when playing. In my teaching experience, this exercise has proven to be the most effective among beginners, and even for students that want to correct at a later time a bad left hand posture.

 

That was it for this time, practice daily on this exercise and soon you will see improvement in your hand posture and technique. Thank you for reading and see you in the next one!

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