Fretting Hand Pain
Had a great gig last night, but from the 2nd song on I had to deal with noticeable pain in my left hand through the whole set. This is something that's happened maybe once before, not as bad, but never at rehearsal or practice. It was cold out and i hate playing with cold hands so I did wash them with warm water right before going on.
I'm just curious if anyone else has had something like this and what kind of doctor I should look into if this happens again.
Can you tell us anything about your left-hand technique that would allow us to give you meaningful feedback? What specific methods have you used to learn proper left-hand technique to ensure a pain-free lifetime of bass playing? Do you have a private instructor who can look at your technique and tell you what you're doing wrong? Are you willing to take Skype lessons with some of the excellent teachers here on Talkbass?
Without knowing anything about how you play, my guess is that you are trying to stretch your hands using 1-2-3-4 fingers over 3 frets (common rookie mistake) rather than using the comfortable and relaxed 1-2-4 fingers over 2 frets.
Electric bass, when properly set up and played through a loud-enough amp, should be one of the physically easiest instruments to play. There should never be any pain or discomfort. Try getting your bass set up with low action by a pro tech, use low-tension strings, turn your amp up, and play with a lighter touch.
Good luck, hope the pain goes away on its own and medical treatment is not necessary! :)
To add to Mushroo's good advice above, I would suggest that you may be gripping the neck and/or pressing down too hard on the strings.
I agree with Mushroo that a bit more information would help people to give specific advice.
I would recommend warming up before a gig or practice session with gentle stretches. Search You Tube for "Hand stretches for guitar".
IMO you need to address your left hand technique. Here is a clip that might be helpful :
^ That was a great video, I hadn't seen that before. Thanks!
Here's another video demonstrating the "neutral" technique, notice how Jackson uses frequent small shifts of his left hand, rather than stretching, tearing up the funk for 66 minutes!
eh, cold night and that doesn't usually happen? i might not worry about it. you were perhaps overcompensating because of the cold and putting too much stress on your hand. if it continues or happens again, then do what's been suggested above. go to an instructor and have them see if there's anything screwy you are doing.
first rule of playing, if it hurts, stop!
I've got a couple basses I take on stage with me, and there are a couple of factors I've noticed that affect my fretting hand comfort:
String height. Make sure your truss rod and action height are set right for your comfort and style of play.
String tension. Tighter strings take more force to fret. My flat wounds are much higher tension than my rounds.
Stress. Chill, dude, don't "fret" about it (sorry.) Seriously, when you're nervous or excited its easy to fret way too hard, which is both unnecessary and fatiguing.
Fret less down low. Play open strings instead A, D and G on the 5th fret. Or move everything up an octave and play further up the neck.
Lastly, if your fretting hand gets tired, use 2 fingers instead of one, or shift your hand so different fingers do the work some of the time, or change the bass line if you need to (and then practice more to improve your left hand stamina).
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