Hey guys, I'm having an issue when I play sitting down. The forearm of my picking arm starts to hurt, due to resting on the edge of the bass. I know the answer is to not rest it on the edge, but most of the pictures I see of other players seem to show them in a similar playing position to mine. Is this an issue for anyone else? When I stand up and play this isn't an issue because my forearm isn't resting on the edge of the bass. Anywhay, I just wanted to see if this was a common problem. Thanks.
The reason why most people discourage resting your arm on the bass body is because there is a tendency to press too hard, thus putting unwanted pressure on the tendons, nerves and muscles on your forearm. Your pain is most likely caused by you pressing your forearm onto the bass body too much, and the tendons and such are getting pressed against. Long term, this is another condition that will lead to something similar to carpal tunnel.
Since you have no issues when standing up, it means your bass is most probably strung medium to low, so my advice would be any of the following:
i) When you play while sitting down, RELAX. Your bass is not going to fall off your lap or anything. Rest your arm, but don't press down on it. OR
ii) Sit up straight while sitting down. Pressing down on your bass too hard can be contributed by you hunching over when playing. OR
iii) Learn to set your strap a tad higher when you sit down. Ideally you should always strap your bass on, whether you're sitting or standing. If you can find a length where your bass can sit on your lap but still be supported by your shoulders, that would be ideal. OR
iv) Practice while standing rather than sitting.
Yeah, don't press your arm down, just rest it. It's best to not have it on the bass at all, but if you do, don't exert any pressure down onto the bass from your forearm. I have the same issue, now and then.
Thanks for the suggestions. I have started to stand up when practicing, but I would still like to remedy the issue when sitting just so I have the option. I'll try the strap even when sitting deal. I do think I may be guilty of hunching over since I was mainly playing acoustic guitar, which I tend to hunch over a bit so that I can see the fretboard (I know that this isn't good technique either). I also gave the Todd Johnson idea of keeping the wrist straight a shot, but it seems to create tension in my shoulder since it's supporting the weight of the arm. I notice that on my bass, which is a Fender Jazz, there is a flat "ramp" area near where my arm rest. Is this where you're supposed to be placing the forearm as opposed to the edge of the bass? It seems like if you use that spot to anchor your forearm, you'll be forced to play near the bridge pickup.
Your forearm runs along the front of the bass, not over the top
Sounds simple, but it is that simple, some pictures may give an illusion of the forearm resting on the bass where it is not.
The elbow is usually the answer to such issues, elbow position can put un-due weight in to the forearm causing it to press in to the edge of the bass rather than running past it.
Check out the link, it explains and shows the position amongst a few other things.
Try practicing while sitting on a bar stool rather than a chair. I find that this allows me to have a more consistent posture "sitting" and standing.
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