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Posted by paige (220.127.116.11) on April 03, 2002 at 07:32:19:
In Reply to: Poor left hand technique posted by A on April 03, 2002 at 02:22:31:
: I'm worried about my left hand technique.
Plus, I don't use my little finger (it's a weak little under-developed thing) so I use my first and third fingers.
: Do I need to learn to use my little finger?
: Do I have a poor technique maybe?
: Do I need to build up stamina in my left hand?
Adam... I was in your exact place several years ago. You may be experiencing what I did... As I understand it, your third finger and your pinky share a ligament. One result of this is that your pinky is actually the stronger finger of the two, with all that muscle on the outside of your hand supporting it. When reaching regularly with the third finger, I would start to experience some pretty severe hand pain. Not everyone I know has had this happen to them, but I did. It boiled down to the fact that I was using my third finger too much (i.e. reaching with it) over the wider spaced frets at the nut end of the bass. I was actually causing slight inflammation around that ligament... it hurt big time. This was diagnosed by not only another bassist (a studio pro) but was confirmed by my doctor (who happens to be a guitarist as well). Now when I am below the 7th fret or so, I almost never stretch for any note with my third finger, but instead use the pinky.
When you said your pinky was "...a weak little under-developed thing..." do you mean you just have never used it - or is there a real physiological problem with its development that prevents you from using it? If it is a true physiological reason that causes the pinky to be unuseable, then the last paragraph below probably does not apply and you should see a teaching pro who can help you develop the technique you need to work around it. If, instead, you just have not used it this way before, you need to start bringing that little guy into the mix as I state below.
My hand pain is pretty much non-existant now. I would do my octaves 1-4-1-4 instead of 1-3-1-3. (first-fourth fingers vice first-third).
Hope that helps some...
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