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Carpal Tunnel and 35" scale basses

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by count_funkula, Nov 12, 2003.


  1. I've been developing some pain in my wrists when I play. I'm going to go have a doctor check it out next week. I was just wondering if a 35" scale bass could have something to do with it. I have pretty long fingers an don't have any problem playing the bass but, I don't recall ever having this problem with my 34" Carvin or any of the 4-string basses I've owned.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Funkize you

    Funkize you Guest

    Nov 4, 2003
    Westminster Ca.
    Any thing is possible...

    why dont you try some Half-scale basses?
     
  3. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    Carpal tunnel has much more to do with the wrists, so even if you have very long fingers, it's possible to get it if your wrists are bent for prolonged periods. I've worried about getting a 35" scale for the same reason, and Anthony Jackson doesn't play his 36" scale basses anymore since developing wrist problems.
     
  4. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    For me, it depends on the neck profile more than the scale length. I can't play a Spector or Warwick 34" 4 string for more than a few minutes without pain. I can play my Cirrus 35" scale Cirrus 6 for a couple of hours, with just a little minor discomfort.
     
  5. snyderz

    snyderz

    Aug 20, 2000
    AZ mountains
    I found that the string spacing at the bridge was also a factor. Had to trade my 55-94 for that reason.
    Doc
     
  6. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    Anthony's move to 34" from 36" is due to an accident/illness (that had nothing to do with his bass playing) that has affected the strength in his left hand.

    As far as longer scale leading to carpal tunnel: wouldn't there be a lot more upright players (scale of 40" or better) with this problem?
     
  7. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I've found exactly the same thing - thick chunky neck = wrist pain after a few minutes. Flat, wide neck is fine, for as long as I like!
     
  8. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    But the wrist position with upright bass is completely different.

    I think the key is to find a position where your left wrist is relaxed and you aren't putting any undue strain on it.

    On BG - this is to do with how high you have your bass on the strap - finding a position where your left wrist is not strained.
     
  9. I rarely play standing up so I don't even use a strap 95% of the time. Thats probably a good thing because my Gecko is really heavy. :^)

    I was actually thinking about using a strap even when sitting in order to raise the neck angle. That should reduce the angle in my wrist when I play. Of course that will probably lead to back pain.

    Maybe I need to go back to a light weight 34" scale bass. I'm really spoiled by the B string on my Gecko so that would be a tough move.

    Getting old sucks!
     
  10. NJL

    NJL

    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    i have heard about this as well. do you happen to have any specifics on this?

    :)
     
  11. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    TB Mod Pacman once made a great post about this. He said that the best way to handle the weight of a heavy bass isn't to get a lighter one, but to get your body to be able to handle that weight easily, by strengthening your back and shoulder muscles and stretching (he suggested yoga). I agree with this. If you think about it, soldiers have to be able to carry the weight of several basses on their backs for much longer periods of time, so even when I had my 14 pound seven-string, I never considered the weight to be much.

    This doesn't apply to people with medical conditions involving their back or shoulders, of course.
     
  12. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    Exactly my point. The wrist position, not the scale, is more likely to be responsible (I guess it wasn't as obvious as I thought).
     
  13. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    He meantions it in an article in Bass Player a few issues back. He didn't go into detail. I have heard he may have had an illness that left some nerve damage (unconfirmed), but I also know he had a car accident a while ago (ended up in a ravine filled with freezing water and barely got out of his car before drowning) which may also be the culprit. Not sure.

    All I know for sure is the weakness in his hand is not the result of playing a 36" scale bass.
     

  14. Well, then I must be some kind of freak, because I'm the exact opposite!


    But as for carpel tunnel, always always always stretch your hand out before you play...search for some techniques here on TB and DEFEINATELY ASK YOUR DOCTOR!!! Good luck man! and CT sucks, and I'm only 18.