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Cramps (Not that knda cramps)

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by DRN, May 31, 2003.


  1. DRN

    DRN

    Mar 17, 2002
    Las Vegas
    I need some help. How many of you experience hand cramps. I played a gig last night and my right hand cramped up first then my left hand. What can I do to eliminate them. This is not the first time this has happened. What causes it HELP.

    Alright I know you need some background info so here it is.

    5 string pick/slap player
    Hard rock style
    I play live three times a week
    I practice at home every other day
    Before a gig I try to drink alot of gatorade to hydrate.

    What do you eat and how long before a gig do you eat.

    Any help would be great.

    Thanks,
    Dave
     
  2. SuperDuck

    SuperDuck

    Sep 26, 2000
    Wisconsin
    Concerning your left hand, how high is your bass?

    Concerning your right hand, is your forearm resting on your guitar at all?
     
  3. DRN

    DRN

    Mar 17, 2002
    Las Vegas
    The bass top sits about 5-6" above my waist

    My arm rests slightly on the edge but mainly off of it.

    Any thoughts?

    Dave
     
  4. SuperDuck

    SuperDuck

    Sep 26, 2000
    Wisconsin
    Demonic posession? ;)

    Do you warm up at all before you play? Slow, even arpeggios, scales, etc. Nothing too fast. You should also stretch out your forearms before you play, as well. Those things might help. A little. Maybe.
     
  5. DRN

    DRN

    Mar 17, 2002
    Las Vegas
    Demonic possession for sure. My right hand cramped like a crab.

    I usually do warm up before playing for at least 10-15 minutes. At practice this si fine but live I am finding that by the time I warm up the band on stage breaks down gets off stage we load on and get ready I am cold again. By this time the owners, sound guys and crowd are pushing to start the show. How do you stay warmed up with this gap in time?

    Thnaks for all your help.

    Thanks,
    Dave
     
  6. it could be that you're just putting more pressure on the fretboard/strings than you need. Maybe try lowering the strings and/or increasing the volume so you barely have to touch the strings to pluck a note. Or just be conscious of the fact that you're (if you are) squeezing the life out of the fretboard and ease off. I catch myself doing that sometimes.
     
  7. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    Relax, that's the first thing you need to do. The next thing to do is to be aware of the amount of tension you have in your hands, your body while you're on the gig. The more aware you are when you're tense the more likely you'll be able to tell your body to relax.
     
  8. whenever i jog/run or some kind of full body exercise like that like 4 hours before a show and then some moderate stretching right before the show, i am good to go.
     
  9. DRN

    DRN

    Mar 17, 2002
    Las Vegas
    Thanks for the advise. I am going to start riding my bike before gigs.

    Midway through the set I told the singer to stall for a bit so I could stretch and relax. This did work a little bit. I massaged my hands and stretched my arms out a little. I got through the gig but it was rough. I have a prety light touch on the fretboard. I try to keep my action as low as possible without buzzing the frets.

    I am going to try to exercise more before playing. And I also am going to try to change my diet before gigs. I have read some things on this but have not tried them out. Too busy and lazy. Now that I have a problem I am going to try to eat salads and stuff instead of a regular dinner.

    Thanks for the input. If you have any other sugestions or thoughts please keep em coming.

    Thanks,
    Dave
     
  10. cool, tell us how it goes for you.
     
  11. Josh Curry

    Josh Curry

    May 29, 2003
    Frisco, TX
    I've had problems like this when I play. Sometimes I don't have time to warm up, or I do, then I wait a half hour to play and I'm cold again. My left hand cramps up, usually when playing a very repetitive pattern that doesn't move up or down the board or stuff with lots of octaves. If I catch it starting soon enough I relax and don't put so much effort into playing and it will slowly go away, all the time still playing. I agree with the person who said to stretch the forearms, you can do this by holding your arm out straight and bending your hand backwards, very gently of course, that really helps.
     
  12. Get one've those 'A' shaped hand grippy things... and work with them.
     
  13. Maybe it's the shape of your bass neck. It might be too wide or too thick, or vice-versa.
     
  14. DRN

    DRN

    Mar 17, 2002
    Las Vegas
    Have not played yet so I have not tried the exercise. I will let you know.

    My bass neck is prety thin. It is a Warwick Streamer 2. It is alot thinner then a p bass etc.

    How do those finger "A" thingies work. Does anyone use them? How about those finger strengthers you see in musicians friend? It has four buttons with tension.

    Thanks,
    Dave
     
  15. Josh Curry

    Josh Curry

    May 29, 2003
    Frisco, TX
    I'm probably going to get razzed for what I'm about to say, but here goes.

    I think those so called strength trainers and other training deviced are a load of BULL $h!T. Nothing is a better workout for your hands than actually practicing, be it scales or chord arpeggios, whatever.

    I also play golf, so I am constantly being shown all these stupid swing trainers and stuff. Nothing is going to teach you how to hit the ball right than actually hitting the ball, hundreds and hundreds of times.

    Strength are coordination trainers a 100% hype! Don't waste your money. Practice, practice, practice is the key to strengthening your hands, building up coordination and stamina PERIOD!
     
  16. Are you Jeff Berlin?!? :D ;)

    Seriously, you're damn right.
     
  17. DRN

    DRN

    Mar 17, 2002
    Las Vegas
    BassWhore,

    I agree with you on the nothing replaces actual practice but since cramps are new to me (and I been playing for 12 years or so) I was thinking that it may be nice to have one in the car. I travel alot for work so most of the day I am in my car. If I could sit in traffic and strengthen my hand a little that would be great.

    I hope to hear from someone who uses them to see if they actually help or not.

    I just noticed my laptop keyboard got me again. My "I" "K" "L" and "8" sometimes stick. I just noticed the subject "knda cramps":D
     
  18. the A things do work... and make a decent substitute for playing when in class/driving/wherever you can't actually play. Go to your local sports shop and ask.

    Now, on the topic of how they work, they're two plastic handles conjoined with a metal coil. You place one handle in your palm and the other you squeeze to press it back. I think you can get them in different resistance levels... good luck, anyhow!
     
  19. mookungfu

    mookungfu

    Jun 4, 2003
    chicago
    I have actually had some experience with this and the number one thing that helped me was practicing to play R E L A X E D. Even if you're diggin in, or playing heavier music, you need to keep your body relaxed, as well as your hands. Also, finding the right height for my bass was key for me as well - balancing out the needs of the right and left hands. On top of that, stretching your whole body, especially legs, back, shoulders, etc., makes a big difference if done on a daily basis. I had cubital tunnel (pinky numbness instead of thumb side) and found relief that way. I now play in 3 bands, practicing/gigging 4-7 times a week with no problems. My short list would be:

    1) Stretch your whole body everyday, 20-30 minutes
    2) Hydrate well everyday (water is fine)
    3) Raise awareness of muscle tension when playing, and practice playing relaxed
    4) If symptoms continue, try massage therapy to help you through until the first 3 kick in.

    For me, warm-ups before a gig were not enough, and I had to completely re-address the way I was playing, as well as living. Your problem may not require a life-style change, but hopefully some of this helps.
     
  20. Josh Curry

    Josh Curry

    May 29, 2003
    Frisco, TX
    Damn, it's starting to sound like we're athletes or something. Maybe I could get a Doc Marten endorsement or something else cool like that ;)