Aggressive right hand= destroyed fingers

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by ghostrider, Apr 17, 2012.

  1. ghostrider


    Jun 12, 2010
    I have an extremely aggressive perhaps superfluous right hand. I play finger style and my fingers become utterly destroyed and blistered. Also, yes I have calluses, but they are torn off. Is there anything solutions to this problem besides not being so aggressive with my attack? Would switching from roundwounds to flatwounds benefit my fingers' longevity?
  2. msxbass


    Mar 10, 2006
    i have the same problem,super glue works wonders
  3. ghostrider


    Jun 12, 2010
    Really? How would I apply it? Just smear it on my fingers or something like that?
  4. I have a much,much better idea than glue. Work on your technique. Lighten up a smidgen . Now,I understand to get a certain tone out of a bass,you gotta "dig in" every once in a while. But,to constantly play like that until you literally have raw strips of bacon hanging from your hands? Not good,unless your into "BME Pain Olympics",like the 2 girls,one cup "people?"
  5. OPBASSMAN1994


    Jul 30, 2010
    Grow out your fingernails a bit and play with them. It keeps your attack strong without tearing up the "meat" too much. plus it adds a certain pick-like tone that is, if I'm not mistaken, how Geddy Lee's style works (especially with that weird flamenco thing...)
  6. ghostrider


    Jun 12, 2010
    Haha...I have yet to experience the pain olympics. Well thanks for the suggestion. I have tried lightning up my attack, but I have always played aggressively, but I will try your suggestion.
  7. waynobass


    Feb 27, 2008
    Turn up the volume on your amp so high that you're forced to either lighten up, or go deaf.
  8. Al3x

    Al3x Supporting Member

    May 15, 2011
    Austin, TX
    It wouldn't be a bad idea to learn how to play with a pick. That way when you need to give your fingers a rest, you can keep playing.
  9. parmezans


    Nov 25, 2011
    Looser strings? IDK but when I play aggressively above the neck pickup on my jazz, I feel a lot less discomfort. And it's looser there.
  10. Mushroo

    Mushroo Guest

    Apr 2, 2007
    Find a teacher who can help with your technique. :)
  11. JonahTheAmazing


    Dec 19, 2010
    Ouch. That sounds pretty rough. My fingers are callused, I play a bit aggressively, but never have they been torn up like that. Maybe the strings? Rounds or flats?
  12. Tupac


    May 5, 2011
    I play unnecessarily hard as well and have nothing near that. And I SMASH those strings. My left hand, well, that's a different story.
  13. Mushroo

    Mushroo Guest

    Apr 2, 2007
    I am not saying this to brag, but I can play 3-4 hours and feel no pain whatsoever. It is possible and this should be your goal. :)
  14. ghostrider


    Jun 12, 2010
    Well that's cool. I can play for hours as well without my fingers being torn off, but literally I have gone through a gig in which I had ripped off my calluses and I was bleeding profusely. I attempted to play through the pain, but my fingers were out of order.
  15. ghostrider


    Jun 12, 2010
    I use Ernie ball rounds. Should I switch to flats?
  16. ghostrider


    Jun 12, 2010
    I think my technique is beyond unnecessary aggressiveness, but I'm trying to play with less animosity towards my bass and lighten up with my right hand.
  17. I'm very heavy-handed as well, best thing I ever found was getting my action as low as possible and cranking the bass and amp up, really helps calm the fingers down because they don't have to be as aggressive.

    Another poster mentioned the possibility of using flatwound strings - definitely helps. I was Flatwound only for quite a while until switching one of my basses back to rounds and lo and behold - pain and calluses so there is a difference in how bad the strings eat your fingers.

  18. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Too much hip thrust
    Don't use flats. If you are desperate for a string change, try nickel.

    Sounds like you might need a bigger amp so that you can get the same kind of sounds but not have to try so hard. I had RH issues that came up when my gear wasn't loud enough for my band.
  19. JazznFunk


    Mar 26, 2000
    Asheville, NC
    Wow, even coming from my upright bass background where blisters can be pretty gnarly, I have never experienced a situation where my right hand technique could do that much damage. IMO, if you continue to play like that there will come a day when you CAN'T play at all. Tone is in the fingers for sure, but I feel like you may benefit from trying to lighten/alter your touch in more ways than one. I have always stressed a light touch and economy of motion to my students; even those in heavy rock bands.
  20. henry2513

    henry2513 Supporting Member

    May 9, 2011
    Los Angeles, Ca
    Lighten up your touch man.

    I used to play with a crazy heavy attack, I'd break strings, my right hand was in terrible shape, I couldn't play for more than 2 hours without my hand seizing up and I got a repetitive stress injury (RSI) that was so bad that I thought I had to quit playing - and I did for years and years.

    I started playing again last year and smartened up, I play with a very, very light touch and can still get a nice fat tone and sound just as aggressive as someone who "digs in" and I can play for 8 to 10 hours without any pain and very little fatigue. THAT should be your goal.

    Part of it has to do with how your bass is setup and your gear. Low action and a amp with decent headroom helps, the other 1/2, especially if you want to be able to sound aggressive while playing with a light touch is your right hand technique and what part of your fingers you use to string the string with. Check out Gary Willis for a good demo of what I'm talking about.

    armageddon blues - Gary Willis - YouTube

    Gary Willis - the Chicken - YouTube