The Gripmaster is probably the greatest strength-building tool for guitarists, bassists, banjo players, violinists, or anybody else who plays stringed instruments. They also benefit keyboard players as well as any athlete whose sport relies on a powerful grip, like grappling, martial arts, rock climbing, and weightlifting.
I got my Gripmaster five years ago from Musician’s Friend. Mine is a medium tension (the most common for guitarists) I keep it in my car so I can keep my grip good and strong during my busy daily schedule. The secret to the Gripmaster’s success is the four individually spring-loaded buttons, one for each finger. This allows each finger to develop strength in its own, which is important, because the fingers will get stronger faster if they are forced to work independently.
When I ordered my Gripmaster, it only came in two tensions (light and medium), and one color (red). It is currently available in three tensions: Extra light (for wusses (just kidding!) comes in yellow, light (for kids and novices) comes in blue, and medium (for experienced guitarists) comes in red, and heavy (the maximum) comes in black.
The extra light Gripmaster has 2 pounds tension per finger, the light has 5 pounds per finger, the medium seven, and the heavy a whopping nine pounds of tension per finger.
Only the lower three tensions are available through Musician’s Friend, but I recently found the black heavy tension Gripmaster on amazon.com for only $11.95, which is three dollars cheaper than Musician’s Friends sells it for.
Of the grip strengtheners on the market, I’d rate the Gripmaster about a 4 out of 5. It is brilliantly engineered, and the rubber palm rest is very comfortable, and does a great job of keeping the tool in place as you work out. The palm rest is also reversible, so you can reverse the position of the buttons after a while as the springs under the strongest fingers eventually wear out.
Although the Gripmaster does well to develop individual finger strength, endurance, and dexterity, it seems to wear out quickly if you use it every day like me. The buttons become loose and the sliding action becomes choppy and sticky after years of use. Lubricating them does not help, because the inner bushings seem to wear out before the springs, hence the sloppy button response.
All told, however, at under $15.00, the Gripmaster is a great investment, and after a few years of hard service, you can easily afford to buy a new one, preferable the next tension higher. I have found no other grip-strengthening tool in its price range that yields such dramatic results in so little time.