1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

5 string wrist bend

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Bofink, Apr 11, 2014.

  1. Bofink


    Dec 28, 2013
    I bought a 5 string bass last week and thought that I should start learning scales.
    But when Im using all four fingers, and streching them, its impossible to play without bending my wrist
    This causes minor pain and stiffness during and after playing.
    I have small hands and short fingers
  2. Ewo

    Ewo a/k/a Steve Cooper Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2008
    Huntington WV
    If I'm visualizing what you're describing correctly, the bend is most pronounced when you're playing notes on the B string..?

    Try shortening your strap so the bass sits higher on your body.
  3. Bofink


    Dec 28, 2013
    The most on the B string, yes. but also on the E and A string.
    I find it harder to play higher up on the fretboard (8th fret and upwards)
    And when I go up and down a scale it sometimes feel like a tendor is moving, it doesn't really hurt but it is unpleasant.

    As for my technique, I try to keep my thumb at the center of the neck. I'm also pretty new with using all 4 fingers constantly when playing (played mostly with only 3 fingers before). I have the strap at same height as when I'm sitting.

    This image shows where it normally hurts:
  4. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    Without seeing you play, it is hard to offer advice. However, going on what you describe, I'll try.

    Are you using "one finger per fret" on the lower frets ? This technique can cause over stretching. Try using the ring and pinkie together.

    Also, keeping the thumb stuck rigidly in the same place can cause problems. Let the thumb go where it naturally wants/needs to.

    Here is a clip that may help :

  5. Bofink


    Dec 28, 2013
    I'm using "one finger per fret".

    I lowered the action on my bass so it is easier to fret. I'm still not sure but alot of the pain might be coming from the thumb, putting pressure on the wrist.
    Does that seem logical? :D
  6. callofcthulhu


    Oct 16, 2012
    Great this is exactly what I needed and have been looking for for a while now. Since I switched to a shorter, fatter, rounder neck I've found my wrist falling into that horrible kinked up L shape. Some good pointers on how to avoid that here.

    Thanks for the link.
  7. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    Glad you found it helpful. :)

    Lowering your action was a good move. Regarding the OFPF issue....see the link below.

    Regarding the thumb. You could indeed be pressing down too hard when you fret. It does not require much pressure to get a clean clear note. Before each practice session, spend five minutes pressing very gently on a fret until the note sounds clear. This will give you an idea of just how little pressure is required. In time, your fingers will "get the message" and only use the required pressure.

    "One Finger Per Fret" :

  8. Bofink


    Dec 28, 2013
    Thanks for all the advice! :)

    After improving my technique my wrist pain has vanished! :)
    Here are some things I did:
    Play the bass in a ~45 degree angle (rather having it aligned with your chest), so playing is more natural.
    I don't fret as hard.
    Lowered the action.
    Avoiding stretching my fingers to the limit.
    Warming up before and after playing.

    One problem I also had, was that my thumb was getting sweaty, which made it tricky to move it. I fixed this by taking an old gardening glove, cutting away all fingers except for the thumb, and Voilà! the problem was solved :)
  9. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    Glad you solved most of your problems. :)