Hi, I just wanted to share something with you guys, I hope you find it useful.
Earlier on today, I was going through some old stuff I had and I found one of these;
I hadn't used one in years and years, but I picked it up and started using it, and it felt brilliant. I had had a bit of a sore wrist recently, probably from playing bass too much actually, and it eased that really effectively, and felt like really good exercise for my grip muscles in my hands.
A little bit after doing this, I decided to play bass again for a while. Good god, I have never played so well and with so much stamina in my life. It was like having had the best warmup possible. My grip was ridiculously solid, but easy at the same time. My plucking fingers were completely relaxed too, while still being able to pluck faster and more consistently, and for much longer, than I had ever experienced before. I honestly felt like I had added years of experience to my playing.
Also, aside from just warming up, they also build muscle in your arms and increase your stamina too. I'm going to be using mine a lot from now on, I think. Also, on a side note, I think they're advertised as being helpful for things like RSI, which is a pretty common affliction for bass players with imperfect technique. If it helps avoid that in the long run, then that would be an incredible help for a lot of people.
And before you ask, no, I do not work for the people that make these haha. I was just stunned by how much it helped me.
While I'm sure that the power-ball has it's uses, I am not convinced that it contributes much from a bass playing aspect.
What makes me say this ? You talk about the power-ball improving your GRIP. Why would you need to do that to play the bass. Gripping is not (or should not) form a part of playing the bass. Actually, quite the opposite is involved, i.e. developing the tendons that lift the fingers off of the fretboard to be placed elsewhere.
You say you had a sore wrist from playing too much bass. This is a technique issue, which no amount power-ball usage will resolve. In fact, if your wrist is sore or weak from possibly keeping it bent when playing, the power-ball could aggravate it even further if used too much.
If you are using the power-ball for the sole purpose of improving your bass playing, do some research to make sure it is exercising the parts of the hands/arms required to do so. From what you say in your post, this does not seem to be the case.
What I'm saying is not that it allows you to develop a death grip on the neck, far from it. More that it exercises muscles in your hands and forearms that allows you to maintain a subtle but firm grip, in the way that is obviously necessary if you're playing with heavy strings with a high action. This can obviously be developed by practice, but what I'm saying is that a powerball can help you develop this quicker, while also helping you loosed up your wrist, and warm up your muscles while doing so, helping you keep your movements firm but smooth.
Maybe my technique isn't as developed as yours, as I have only been playing for 4 or 5 years now, and am self taught, but I do try to focus on reducing any strain in any way I can, and the powerball seems to help that. Also, I wasn't talking about tendon or joint pain, just fatigue from practicing for many hours a day, quite intensively, every day for a long time.
If you find it beneficial, so be it. :)
However personally, I am still not convinced about it's benefits from a bass playing aspect.
With any blurb I have read, the main emphasis seems to be on strength and grip. In the former, a minimal amount is required.
This strength has been there since you were a young child. As I said earlier, there is no requirement for the latter in bass
I have no doubt that the power ball would be beneficial to someone trying to build up strength after
an injury or for someone suffering from RSI or Carpel Tunnel etc, but for bass playing, I fail to see
where the benefits lie.
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