One of the first things to get a grip on when learning bass guitar is left hand bass technique. Along with right hand technique, it is the foundation on which you will build your bass playing skills. This article will help you get comfortable with hand placement, fretting technique and fingering notes on the fretboard.
Left Hand Placement
Hold your left hand palm-up underneath the bass neck. Make sure your wrist is straight, and keep a small distance between your palm and the neck. Your thumb should rest behind the neck and your fingers should curl around the front, hovering just over the strings. Keep your thumb behind your first (index) or second (middle) fingers. Don't hold up the weight of the neck; your hand needs to be free to shift around.
"Fretting" is the action of pushing a string down so that it touches one of the frets, the little metal bars dividing up the fretboard. Aim for a spot just behind the fret, but not on it. The further back your finger is from the fret, the more likely it is for the string to buzz against the fret as it vibrates. If your finger is directly on the fret, the note will sound muffled or muted, and the string might buzz on the next fret.
When you push your finger down, use the pads of your fingers, rather than the tips like a guitar player. Push lightly and use your thumb for leverage. You don't need to push very hard to get a good clear note. Use just enough force to eliminate buzzing or muffling of the string's vibration.