Kinked or crooked fingers? Here is relief!

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When I wrote my book, Music  Theory for the Bass Player, me and my editors went back and forth (and forth and back!) about using the description of “kinked fingers” in the Technique Chapter! My editors wanted me to use the word “crooked” instead. It’s a subtle distinction between the two, but the word crooked just didn’t quite do it for me. 

What “kinked” describes is a bend that stops the flow of energy.

Not talking about a straw with a link here, just a straight straw that has an unintended bend in it.

This is a “kinked” straw:

kinked straw crooked

A kink is a sharp bend. It slows or completely stops the flow of your soft drink!

A similar phenomenon often occurs with bass players’ fingers

Whether it is the left, fretting hand…

crooked kinked fingers

Photo from Music Theory for the Bass Player ©CapCat Music Publishing

or the right, plucking hand…

crooked kinked fingers

Photo from Music Theory for the Bass Player ©CapCat Music Publishing

Why the kink is not ideal

Just like the kink in the straw impedes the flow of fluid, the kink in the fingers impedes the flow of energy.

Essentially, it means you lose control of the third finger joint.

And when that happens, you lose:

  • precision
  • groove
  • touch
  • feel

It is also often a symptom of tension in the hand.

Reason for the kink

Typically the reason we are kinking in the first place is over gripping.

The reason for overgripping is trying to overcompensate.

When playing bass we are asking small muscles in the hand to do things they usually don’t do, so the bigger ones are trying to be “helpful” to pick up the slack. It is not helpful, though. It cramps the hand and further weakens the muscles that we do need to isolate and train.

How to change the habit

Use my PORA Method to change ingrained habits quickly and effectively. Here is a quick guide to the method. You will get amazing and surprising results with this method if you follow steps precisely! Just make “round fingers” one of your PORA items (along with two or three others) and watch the habit change without effort.

Less tension means more flow of energy

With good technique, you stop fighting the instrument and start playing with more precision and effortlessness.

Semantics

So, what do you think, should it be “crooked” or “kinked”?

And yes there is a joke in there somewhere with that word. Stop it and go practice now!

Q: Can you add two more pictures of the fretting hand and plucking hand using the proper technique?

For detailed information, many more pictures (including how to do it correctly) and an entire chapter on proper hand positioning please see my book, Music Theory for the Bass Playerkinked fingers - right way

All pictures from Music Theory for the Bass Player ©CapCat Music Publishing

Comments(4)

  • RTodd620
    July 14, 2018, 05:16  Reply

    Can you add two more pictures of the fretting hand and plucking hand using the proper technique?

  • David Ammerman
    July 14, 2018, 11:18  Reply

    KINKED! and something that slowing me down, if it was easy anybody could do it, lol. What I’ve done and has helped my fretting hand Ring&Pinky finger is to use them when I’m doing other things, it’s helped strengthen them and build finger eye coordination..

  • Dave Hein
    July 15, 2018, 10:05  Reply

    My fretting hand pinky gets kinked all the time and sometimes it is hard to subsequently unkink it. The kink happens at the first joint above the knuckle, and usually when I stretching diagonally over the fretboard in first or second position. I’ve been trying to stop it by focusing on keeping the pinky curved and using shifting to avoid overstretching, but it’s hard to avoid on fast passages.

  • Ian Hall
    July 16, 2018, 15:35  Reply

    I’m definitely over compensating. I’ve used PORA to help get my fingertips fretting accurately right at the frets and this has stopped the fret buzz. I’m also using it to stop “flying fingers” which is really helping my fretting speed and accuracy. I’ll now use it to get rid of the kinks and hope for similar results.

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