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Left Hand Exercise #1

by Laurence Mollerup
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The Left Hand can be developed by adding in a few simple exercises every day.

The basic rules of the left hand are that the thumb is positioned in the center of the neck, opposite the space between the first and second finger. It is important that all the joints of the hand and arm are relaxed. The fingers need to be gently curved, so that they act as "springs" with a lot of flexibility.
Both wrists should be somewhere in between the extremes of their range of motion - A bent wrist is a recipe for carpal tunnel sydrome! On the electric bass it is important to play very closely behind the frets to minimize fret buzz. Try to keep both shoulders down and relaxed. Keep your spine well-supported and not hunched over, with your head gently balanced without being thrust forward. (Breathing naturally is good for bass playing also!)

This first exercise starts in the middle of the neck where the notes are easy to press down and not spaced too far apart. Go for good tone and intonation, and stop before you feel anything even remotely like pain. As you do these exercises, increase the tempo daily, but don't sacrifice a good legato (connected long held notes) feeling. The bowing can be "as comes" -down/up, or you can invent some new bowings. If you are an electric bass player, try alternating between your first and second right-hand fingers, or your first and third fingers.

For this exercise, we'll only use our first, second and fourth left hand fingers. Remember to keep the first finger down when you use your second finger, and keep all your fingers down when you use your fourth. If you can barre the notes, all the better.

Try this for about 5 minutes a day, until you feel that you have it.

Be patient with yourself, and pay attention to how your hands feel. seq|2_5|1_7|2_6|1_6|2_7|1_5|1_5|2_7|1_6|2_6|1_7|2_5|seq

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