De Quervain's Tenosynovitis
I have just received my first bass in 34 years!!
When I was 14 I got my first bass,practiced all hours and got a severe case of De Quervain
My question is, what would be a really sensible amount of time to practice in a day for a total beginner?
How is it best to build up practice time over the coming months and years to minimise the possibility of injuries?
Any help greatly appreciated
Practice until you start feeling fatigue in your hand. If it feels like you're lifting weights (which is a sensation you'll start to feel eventually), you should:
1) Shake that hand.
2) Make a fist, spread your fingers, make a fist, spread your fingers - do this really fast.
3) Do number 2 again, but this time slowly and powerfully.
4) Stand up. Arch your back, pushing the stomach forward, and press agains your spine with your fists.
5) Arch your back backwards and stretch your upper back by crossing your arms. Grab one arm with the other, and pull it forward.
And of course: Some precautions must be taken.
1) Don't bend over the bass (like I do), when sitting down. That back should stay straight. (Alternatley, if you have the patience for it, it is ideal to stand while practicing.)
2) Proper technique. In the beginning you will experience fatigue, no matter what. Rembember that it is important to a) Play your fingertips, dont push the fingers flat on the neck. This means bending them at the joints. b) Imagine you are holding a beer bottle, with a straight wrist. Thumb should point directly to the left, and the rest of the fingers should attack the fretboard directly from above with the finger tips.
3) Don't bend either wrist. This affects both you playing and tenses you up. a) On the left hand, hold the hand out straight and let the fingers hang freely. Now turn it upside down, so the palm faces upwards. That's the most comfortable position. b) With the plucking hand, lift your elbow, so the wrist doesn't bend over the strings. This removes tension from the arm, letting you play freely without fatigue. At first, holding the elbow up will be tiresome, but it goes away within a week.
Get someone to do a backrub on you every once in a while. A lot of people don't realize that a lot the tingling sensation and pain in the arms can come from not enough blood going through the shoulders and upper back. Many problems with muscles further down the arm can come from here. The tendons in the shoulder and tricep area should be massaged every once in a while, as well as the lower arm. This you can do yourself. Remember, if rubbing your tendons gives you a stinging pain, you should probably do it more often.
Now, if you follow these precautions, you can practice about 45 minutes of constant playing before you should take a 10 minute break. Rembember to warm up.
A good way to warm up can be to play this chord exercise, if you know how to read tabs:
It's a great way to stretch your fingers out. Remember to do some chromatic runs, up and down the bass aswell. And, oh! Always use a metronome when you practice these techniques. Make sure the technique you learn is in time from day one.
Good advice, above.
Welcome back, OP! FYI, there are threads about health-related things in the bass guitar forum, so look there, also.
Yes, key to this is segments of time. If you have the time you could practice all day, but, do it in 45 to 60 minute segments, i.e. don't practice beyond an hour with out a break.
Get up and walk around, read some theory, close your eyes and visualize the notes on your fretboard. Where are the E's? What are the sharp notes in the D scale? Give your mind and body a short 10 to 20 minute rest from what you have been doing. Clear your head and then get back in the shed.
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