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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by Breitag, Mar 26, 2001.

  1. Hi All,
    Have any of you guys had trouble with CTS? After three weeks with this lovely instruiment I'm starting to notice tingling and numbness in my left hand. I know I should probably lay off for a while but playing DB is like a drug.I'm reading the injury postings,however I would like to hear from anyone who has had difficulty with CTS.

  2. Allow me to swim up from the BG forums for a second to make a recommendation.

    I would cool it immediately and seek a medical opinion. Also, I cannot recommend a teacher enough. An instructor will help you develop a technique that won't stress your wrists.

    Remember that CTS is a permanent thing, and it isn't fun. Trust me. This is one of the reasons I play a bass guitar rather than a double bass. The smaller instrument requires less of my wrists than a DB.

  3. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    Bright Day:
    We don't know if it's a case of too much too soon, or wrong technique, or a combination.
    Proper form/technique is designed to minimize the likelihood and degree of your aches. However, even with good technique, you have to build your strength slowly. Like Friday says, a teacher's a must.
    By the way, I subbed in a blues band in a joint in Hoboken. The Liquid Lounge? Bloomfield Ave? Almost lost my hearing.
  4. Sorry about your hearing Don, the boys can get loud in Old Hoboken.
    It's too much too soon I fear. I've been playing electric bass for thirty years. I've always prided myself on using good technique. I haven't found an upright teacher yet but I'm working from my very old copy of Sher's bass method book as well as Reid's latest Evolving Bassist. I've also tried not to wear out the Bassically Karr Video
    I took the bass out to a jam in Hoboken last week and everyone was impressed with my playing. My intonation got raves, I sing and have played frettless since I was 14. And everyone said that I looked comfortable with the instrument, as if I'd always played it. I know better!

    I think my setup is a good compromise for sound and comfort. I play with a very light touch. I guess I need to slow down a bit practice a little less and try to find a good teacher.
    Anyone have any teacher recommendations .
    I just hate not playing the upright. It's as if a whole new world has appeared and I just can't get enough.
  5. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I've posted this before, but it's worth saying again: When I started playing DB, before I had a teacher, I sprained BOTH wrists and got tendonitis in my left arm from playing too much too soon. I literally couldn't put it down. One night I found myself playing a four hour gig followed by a three hour gig, and I thought I was gonna die. After that night, I couldn't play the DB, couldn't play the piano, couldn't write, and couldn't (uh, what's a PC enough way to put this so's it don't offend anyone...) enjoy some of the nicer perks of being a relative newlywed for a whole week.

    The only way to avoid being as dumb as I was and hurting yourself in the same ways is to get a teacher. Now if I have a 7-hour playing night ahead of me, I know that the worst that will come out of it is a blister or two and maybe a headache. :cool:
  6. BaroqueBass


    Jul 8, 2000
    Salem, OR
    How long did your tendonitis last Chris? I got it from playing video games. *shame shame, I know*
  7. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    It was only in my left forearm, and it only lasted about a month, thanks. Once I got it, I got scared and laid off the gigs for a couple of weeks (played fretless when I had to). During that time, I rested a lot, took lots of Ibuprofen, and started learning how to generate left hand strength from arm weight via the shoulder and back (i.e. "hanging arm" technique) rather than from the thumb & wrist (as is the BG custom). During that time, I practiced only in short sessions, and only played slow scales. As it turns out, when I finally got a teacher, he had me working on a lot of the same things, only in a much more specific and better way.

    Arm pain is a frightening thing to a musician....if that doesn't wake you up to facing your bad technique, what will? Good luck.
  8. I also have had the tingles. I went to doctors, they wanted to cut me open, I went to the guys that stick needles in you. the guy that finally worked was the chiropractor, it ended up that my tingles were not CTS as the doctors told me. it was a pinched nerve in my spine. I went for a couple of months and it is pretty much gone. I go for a little cracking every once and a while but all and all I feel great. nice to have my plucking hand buck.

    nothing against doctors, but as always you should check out all options before a solid conclusion.
  9. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    Something that helped my flare-ups BIG-TIME was the purchase of a Logitech Marble FX mouse. That's right...we're all obviously heavily into computers (also my day gig), and it's amazing how much incorrect use or too much use of a mouse can aggravate symptoms that'll limit your playing even further. A mouse with less impact might decrease the stress overall on your wrist. Once I got my trackball mouse, my symptoms on the gig practically went away.

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