I am learning the bass guitar and was wondering if anybody had any good exercises for faster fretting? I can read bass clef well, but getting my hand to accurately move between neck positions fast enough is difficult.

  • I'll leave this one for the basses, but there's the standby "practice something slowly, then gradually faster and faster..." Commented Oct 6, 2021 at 20:53
  • Need a lot more info. to answer this!
    – Tim
    Commented Oct 6, 2021 at 22:46
  • Related question: How do I improve my picking and fretting speed?.
    – Aaron
    Commented Oct 9, 2021 at 20:01

3 Answers 3


A couple of thing to try that might help with shifting positions quickly.

  1. Option one: don't

In many situations, you can find ways to avoid needing to shift so quickly. Especially in the middle/lower range of the instrument, make use of the open strings in the middle of a line to give yourself more time to shift. This is often called pivoting or using a pivot.

  1. Option two: slide/gliss into it

Instead of jumping your hand to the new position, grab the string and slide up into the next note in the new position. At least during practice, this gives your brain an extra channel of incoming information about where exactly on the string your hand is. With your eyes, focus on just the target note or fret position and let the ears pay attention to the motion.

Even if you decide that you do really need to jump very quickly to a new position, a little practice with these should help improve your fretboard orienteering.


Practice your scales, using fingerings that involve moving between positions as you would playing non-scalar lines. Eventually you will have muscle memory for the notes in each scale.


I started playing bass again, recently. With either guitar or bass, I start on any given fret, usually 5th on the low E, and do half steps with all of my fingers. Then to the A string, repeat, D, etc…I ascend to the 8th fret on the G string, then descend back to the 5th fret on the E string. Over and over, and then over again! I feel like it helps “wake” all of my fingers, and use them equally. It’s simple, but effective-

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