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"Clicking" in plucking hand

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Hello_Friend, Feb 18, 2014.

  1. Hello_Friend


    Feb 18, 2014
    When I play a lot, I get clicking in the "thenar" of my plucking hand. The thenar is the chubby part of the hand located below the thumb:


    Some joints or bones or something start clicking in there and sometimes it hurts.

    I corrected my right arm position by straightening my forearm so it aligned with my hand (basically, I point my elbow upward now). This worked for a few days but the clicking has begun to affect my hand even with the new posture.

    Basically, my questions are:

    Does anyone else have this problem? Does anyone know anything else I can do? Is this harmful (can it lead to CTS, etc...)?

    Thanks in advance--new member here, great site.
  2. adamaarts

    adamaarts Supporting Member

    Apr 19, 2001
    Corona, CA
    Beta tester Source Audio, demos/reviews of many others
    If it hurts you might want to see a doctor about it. My wrists were flaring up for a while (I have Fibromyalgia) and was worried that I was doing damage to them. The doctor said for me to take it as easy as I can on them. I corrected my positioning as you did, and it has helped tremendously.

    I've never had the click or heard about so I don't feel comfortable saying anything but try and see a professional as soon as you can before you hurt yourself permanently, freak yourself out, or do damage.
  3. vbchaos


    Sep 5, 2011
    Groningen, The Netherlands
    Uncompensated endorsing user: fEARful
    Do you suffer from hypermobility? My joints are clicking all the time.
    Can't do anything about it, but usually it doesn't hurt.

    In any case, I'd advise to grap your instrument and go see a doctor/fysiotherapist. Tell them the problem and show how you play.
  4. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006

    Only a doctor can answer these questions and prescribe treatment.
  5. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    i know a "mature" gigging full-time show band player who deals with this; his doctor calls it "trigger-finger".
  6. TomB

    TomB Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2007
    Trigger finger is inflamed tendon / sheath. They can become quite swollen and sore as well. There are lots of treatments - check on line. Cortisone injections are highly effective, but the number of times you can treat one area is limited. Check with a doctor - preferably a hand specialist.
  7. See a doctor and get it checked out. There's no sense in fooling around with something that could ruin your love of playing bass.

    As for playing technique, let the amplifier do the job of making your sound loud. This sounds so obvious, but there are times when I have been "digging in" hard with my plucking fingers to get loud. That leads to getting tired quickly and then experiencing pain. Forget that! Crank up the amp and let it do all that work.
  8. FretlessMainly


    Nov 17, 2010
    I don't have this particular problem, but I did suffer from problems with my ulnar nerve about 12-13 years ago that resulted in no playing for nearly six months and a relearning of my fingering patters to strictly 1, 2, 4, in most cases. Normally, I'd give you a big thumbs-up for keeping that elbow up and away from the bass to maintain a neutral wrist position.

    However, these recommendations are a balancing act. No one rule is hard and fast for every player and there is certainly more than one rule/recommendation for physical position while playing bass.

    I'll assume you are a thumb anchoring/finger-style type like myself; it's hard for me to imagine pain where you describe it if you don't play this way (so let us know on this topic).

    When I damaged my ulnar nerve, I went to an orthopedic specialist in Boston; one who specializes in musician injuries. Hopefully you have one nearby. I'd firmly recommend you take the same course of action. I was debilitated for nearly six months, yet today, I can play as much as I want, pain free.

    Good luck!
  9. Hello_Friend


    Feb 18, 2014
    Thanks for the replies everybody. I only seem to experience the clicking if my elbow isn't perfectly straight. I look like a robot, but its worth it. I'll see a doctor if it comes back.

    Good to know that there is musician-specific help out there. And yes, I am a finger-style player. By that you mean not using a pick, I assume? And thank you!