Burning fingers and bad habits

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by avattz, Nov 16, 2012.

  1. avattz


    Oct 28, 2012
    San Francisco, CA
    Hi guys, newbie here. So I finally received my bass guitar a few days ago (pictures in my first thread), and I also received my USB interface for the bass guitar yesterday.

    I started using the bass guitar last night for about 3 hours, and this morning, my fretting fingertips burn (like I held them to a candle for a few seconds) and really hurt just typing on the keyboard lol. Halfway through last night it was somewhat painful to the point that I started getting fretbuzz for not applying enough pressure to the strings. My question is how long does this usually take to "heal", I tried playing my bass guitar again this morning but the pain is unbearable. I'd like to start playing again but not sure how soon I can.

    Also since I'm "self-teaching" I've read that if you don't know what your doing you can develop bad habits with how to hold your bass guitar, finger placement on the fretboard, or plucking (and other bad habits).

    I usually hold my thumb on the ends of one of the pickups and pluck with my index and middle finger ("walking"). But I've also seen that you can rest your thumb on the "previous" string while plucking. I tend to pluck harder with the pickup, and softer resting on the string. I'm not sure how hard you're suppose to pluck, or which method is preferred. I tried the slapping and popping technique and I felt like the B string was going to rip the headstock off lol.

    Thanks for your help!
  2. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    I'd suggest the book Bass Guitar for Dummies. It will get into all the basic stuff. How to hold it, how to tune it, how to get sound - fingers, pick and or thumb, etc. Your public library will probably have a copy.

    www.studybass.com is a very good site and well worth your time.

    Sour fingers, nature of the beast. Lay out for a day or two then practice in shorter time spans. Your fingers will toughen up in a few weeks. Sounds like you could use a set up. Did you get a set up when you bought your bass, or did they just open the box and put it on the stand and you brought it home like it came out of the box? If that sounds like it happened call and see what a set up will cost you. Getting those strings down a little closer to the frets will help the ole fingers. Money well spent.

    As to picking up bad habits, most everyone I know has a few bad habits, I never did put much stock in all that. Others take it quite seriously. And if you are going to make music your profession then I would say get with a teacher right now and forgo any bad habits. But if you are doing this as a hobby and can not afford a teacher, do the best you can and go have some fun. The teacher is going to save you a lot of time. $75 +/- for four 30 minute lessons (a month's worth of lessons) is the going price. Couple of months and you will be well on your way. In two months a teacher will give you enough home work to keep you busy for 3 or 4 months. Lay out catch up and then go back for more.

    Have fun.
  3. willbassyeah


    Oct 9, 2011
    Does your wrist hurt or finger? If it is finger , it is a normal thing. You just need to keep on playing and build up that callous on your fingertips.
  4. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    + 1 to fingertips. Fingertips take up less room and because of that you get good chrisp clean notes.
  5. avattz


    Oct 28, 2012
    San Francisco, CA
    My wrist don't hurt, just the tip of my fingers (the fingers that press down on the string).

    I'm doing this purely as a hobby, I'll see if I can get a copy of that book at my local library. As for the bass guitar, one of the members here tested it out and said it had a good setup and low action.
  6. Chief2112


    Aug 31, 2011
    Greenville, SC
    It's normal. Just keep playing and your fingertips will adapt within a week or two and will toughen up.

    As far as the other stuff you can find plenty of great resources online. studybass.com is one of my favorites. And you're right. Don't pluck too hard. Your fingertips should just be gliding across the string. Some people play a little harder than others but you should never feel like you are really "plucking" the string. I tend to use a very soft touch and let my amp do the talking. :) Good luck!
  7. Already In Use

    Already In Use

    Jan 3, 2010
    Flatwound or coated strings will help your finger tips feel better if you like the tone they offer. I use Finger Ease string lube/cleaner which makes the strings a bit slick to the touch. I like the stuff. Some new strings feel "sticky" at first. This product takes that away.
  8. Shakin-Slim


    Jul 23, 2009
    Tokyo, Japan
    Don't keep playing after it hurts. You'll just get blisters and be back to square one. Once it starts to hurt a little, that's you for the night. If you overdo it, you won't be able to play the next day either, like the position you're in now. Keep going until your fingers tell you to stop, then you'll get some nice calluses and no blisters.
  9. FSFromTX


    May 6, 2006
    Dit Da Jow, a Chinese liniment used by Kung Fu practitioners, works wonders for the finger tips. Takes the pain away immediately and builds calluses fast. I make my own but if there is a Kung Fu school in your area you might be able to get some.
  10. EvilJekyll


    Dec 23, 2011
    Having someone adjust the action for you might help, but it is normal in the early stages for this to happen.