1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Does bass playing represent a health risk ?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by =^..^=, Feb 17, 2002.

  1. =^..^=


    Jan 25, 2001
    Stuck on a rock !
    Message to the mods - if you think this belongs in OT then please move it - I wasn't too sure

    I've noticed that the day after gigs I feel pretty rough. Its not beer as I don't drink or smoke etc. We play pretty loud, and in small clubs so I'm usually within a couple of feet of my amp. I cycle a lot to keep fit so my general health is good (haven't been off work sick in over three years)

    What tends to happen is that we'll play on a Saturday night and then on Sunday I'll get stabbing headaches all day when I move. I feel bad from the moment I wake up. I drink plenty as we tend to end the night with some ska and LOTS of bouncing round the stage so I lose quite a lot of fluids as sweat.

    So everyone out there - whats causing this ?

    Anyone else suffer the same or is it just me ?
  2. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    I tell feel this way. I just noticed in when I got up today from my gig last night. I don't get headaches though. I generally wake up with a quisy stomach and very tired. (but I can't fall asleep anymore) It only last though until I'm up and moving around.

    As far as playing bass causing a health risk. I forget where I heard it, but it was proven that musicians are more prone to strokes.
  3. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    All the small clubs I ever played were cigarette smoke dens. Also, none of the clubs had very good air circulation or ventilation. Even though you don't smoke yourself, you are breathing in huge quantities of second-hand smoke over a long period of time. That factor alone could cause your headaches and general blah feeling the following morning.

    I often felt pretty bad after such gigs myself and one time came down with really bad flu. I honestly don't think many of these clubs are very healthy environments and don't see how the people who work there regualrly such as bartenders and waitresses can stand up to the punishment.
  4. I frequently feel rough the next day, and there's no doubt my gear reeks of smoke. I always thought it was just because its been a late night, and I get more tired because all the adrenalin has been flowing. When I get home I have to wind down, so I usually get to bed pretty late.

    I too like to keep fit, hardly drink when playing and don't smoke.

    I don't get headaches, I just feel as if I've got a hangover.
  5. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    I get the same headaches at times. I too am in pretty good shape. I think the smoke has a lot to do with it.

    Some things that have undoubtedly helped.

    1. Earplugs! I hate them, still don't always wear them, but they make an enormous difference. The only way I can use them and not freak out is if I put them in at least 20 minutes before we play - then all seems normal once we hit the stage.

    2. Don't drink soda (I don't even drink juice anymore at gigs) - just water. Sugar messes my head up the next day. I know to a drinker this is probably hilarious, but 3 or 4 cokes at nite can make my head pound the next day. I'm sure the caffeine adds to that also.

    3. I go outside inbetween sets to get some fresh air.

    All this being said, I don't think bassplaying can be hazardous to ones heath, but I'm sure the loud volume and smokey clubs are.
  6. frankencow150

    frankencow150 Guest

    Oct 17, 2001
    I was wondering,if you play with earplugs can you still hear your music perfectly?

    Also,how can you hear the drummer count off to the begining of a song?
  7. My experience with earplugs is that they filter out more highs than lows, but I think different types of earplugs can do different things. I've always just used the cheap foam ones I used to get free from work (at the airport), so I'm no expert.

    As for the drummer's count, it's fairly simple to work out visual cues if you can't rely on hearing it. My drummer mouths the words 'one, two, three, four', along with the stick click, or sometimes just a nod of the head is enough.
  8. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    They offer different levels of attenuation. So, you can choose how much a reduction you need.

    etymotics.com offers some for about $10. I don't know a lot about them - I use Sensaphonics (which are pricey but they are custom-fitted and checked).

    As someone with tinnitus, believe me, like car brakes, these are not something to go for the lowest price on.
  9. Bassmouse3


    Nov 12, 2001
    Valby, Denmark
    Hi, just some blabber from me!
    Bassbarbie said that he/she sort of had a hangoverlike headache after gigging. This may not be all wrong! I'm not an expert, but I do know that hangovers are caused by lack of salt in your body, which is why eating chips and the like after drinking, before going to bed can minimize your hangover. Alcohol has some weird way of unbalancing your salt depots, which I won't go further into here.
    My point is that you often sweat a lot on stage, I know I do, and as you probably know sweat contains a lot of salt. I don't know, it's just an idea, but try eating some chips before going to bed after your next gig. How's that for a nice health advice:D
    Best Regards,
  10. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    I think that it is a combination of things that have been mentioned so far. Dehydration, tobacco smoke, adrenaline comedown, headache brought on by excessive volume, and plain old exhaustion.

    For the dehydration, I start drinking water 2 hours before the gig and drink as much as I can hold between sets. No alcohol, no sugar, and no caffiene. All three dehydrate you. Water is the best, but good low sucrose sports drinks like Gatorade® work too. Just don't get something with a lot of sugar in it. And aspartame dehydrates you too(besides the fact that it is toxic), so drinks with Nutra Sweet® are not a good idea either.

    For smoke, I spend all of the time between breaks outside, and try to completely evacuate the stale, smoky air from my lungs and practice some deep breathing afterwards. Adrenaline, if playing out gets you up, there's not much you can do about that. For the ears, use earplugs. And for exhaustion, get as much rest the night before the gig as possible, and if you like naps, take one 4 or 5 hours before the gig if possible. It also helps if you can sleep in a bit the day after.

    Other than that, just deal with it.

    I don't know about musicians having a higher risk of stroke, never heard that before.

    I do remember Paul Harvey on 'The Rest of the Story' telling about a study of right handed people who trained their left hand to do complex tasks, in this case, Suzuki method violinists. The result of the study? Righties who learn to do complex things with their left hands keep their wits and their health longer than righties who don't, and non ambidextrous lefties.

    So, to keep your health and stave off senile dementia, play that bass! :)
  11. Matthias


    May 30, 2000
    Vienna, Austria
    I think Jeff summed it up very well, but I still have one more point ;)

    In the context of employee protection (English word?) I've heard that high noise levels put stress to your body, I bet that's true for loud music too.

    I've experienced it this way:

    Our band did very loud rehearsals for some time, in a non-smoker room, without jumping around, without adrenalin - very relaxed, but very loud.
    And I was physically exhausted each time after reheasing for 2-3 hours....

    I don't have that problem now since we are reheasing at lower volume.

  12. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I agree with most of the others that Dehydration sounds like what you are experiencing. I think that most people don't realise how much water you need to drink and that soft drinks or even fruit juice don't help with this!

    I have also experienced similar feelings when I haven't drunk a lot of water, but been fine when I have kept a bottle of water with me. I think particularly when you are concentrating hard and working on something that requires a lot of control you need to be hydrated.

    So - when I'm doing Jazz classes, I find that I need to drink a lot of water or I feel terrible after an hour or less!
  13. I've been playing in smokey bars smokey bars smokey bars smokey bars for years and Im ok ok ok !
  14. Bassstud1

    Bassstud1 Supporting Member

    Sep 23, 2001
    LaPorte Indiana USA
    I've been playing for over 27 yrs. now and it is my experience that the gig you are playing has a lot to do with it. When I play smokey juke joints where we have to haul the PA subs and all, I usally feel pretty burned out the next day. But when we do our casino gig where we just carry in our small combos and such, I don't feel bad the next day.

    I always have one beer after the show, drink plenty of water during the show. I also am anal about trying to eat exactly 2 hrs. before we play.
    I don't know if this has any thing to do with the way I feel the next day or not. But one thing not discussed yet is how much gear you are moving , how far and at what times you are doing it.

    Just a little more to consider.

    Provide the bottom and they will come!!!!
  15. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Does bass playing represent a health risk ?

    I suppose the real answer to this is that everything is a health risk! So, if you cross the road or drive a car you are at great risk. But most accidents happen in the home, so just getting out of bed in the morning is a great risk. Every type of food has been linked to some type of health scare -so the only answer to avoiding risk to your health is never to eat anything or do anything! :D

    On the other hand you could live dangerously! ;)
  16. Brad Barker

    Brad Barker

    Apr 13, 2001
    berkeley, ca
    "living is hazardous to your health."

    my grandmother is one funny woman!
  17. Do you know I often fancy chips after a gig! - but they're always shut round here by 11pm so that's no good!

    I frequently drink water when I play, and usually juice and soda too, but there may be something in this food idea. I frequently don't have a proper meal before a gig.... that is, it's often cereal, toast and tea - not unhealthy, but maybe I need something more substantial. I'll try this for the next gig, although my mind's not usually on food at this time.

    Has anyone tried things like Red Bull? Although that's got caffeine in it hasn't it?
  18. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    We'll spend over $1000 to get the latest, greatest, baddest bass. So, now it's time to set down some dough to protect your ears. Normal, cheap ear plugs sold at music stores and the like (like Hear-Os) muffle the sounds coming in. There is no respect to frequency (or pitch) and this creates the muddy sound that deters some people from wearing them. My drummer turned me on to Sensaphonics. In all, it cost him about $200, but these bring down the overall volume while still respecting frequency and pitch. So while his volume is lower, he still hears as dynamically as he would without the ear plugs. He maintains his sensitivity to the dynamics of the music, but at the same time he protects his hearing.

    Make this investment.
  19. Hategear

    Hategear Workin' hard at hardly workin'.

    Apr 6, 2001
    Appleton, Swissconsin
    FWIW, I try not to drink to excess anymore, but occasionally I do overdo it. On these occasions, I drink a bottle of Pedialyte the next day. That's right -- Pedialyte instead of Gatorade. It tastes like absolute ass, but it sure does the trick. **Dimebag Darrell endorses this remedy as well.**

    As far as noise is concerned, I am convinced that the frequencies of the bass can eff with your body. You may wear earplugs to protect your hearing, but standing in front of your cabs all night long, with those bass notes firing into the back of your head can't be good for you. The only time I get a headache is after a gig.

    Cigarettes? It wouldn't bother me if cigs were banned in every public establishment in the country. I work out regularly, eat healthy and take vitamin supplements. I shouldn't have to breathe someone else's smoke in a restaurant, simply because they can't even eat a sandwich without lighting up (I've actually seen people smoking a cigarette in between bites of their dinner). Not only do I hate having to breathe someone else's cigarette smoke, but I hate that my clothes, skin and hair reeks of it at the end of a night! Not to mention this scary thought: The smoke that you are inhaling was actually inside someone else's body! That's as nasty as smelling a stranger's fart!
  20. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    I actually Laughed My Arse Off at the last line in your post!:p:D

    Seriously, I feel the same way about tobacco smoke. As far as people who take a puff between bites of their sandwich, I used to work with this guy who had to be the grossest tobacco addict ever.

    He dipped snuff and chewed tobacco simultaneously, and smoked as well. What was really sick is that when we would break for lunch, he would clean his old dip and chaw out of his mouth, and then put in fresh ones before eating. He would have both of these in his mouth whilst consuming food, and be chainsmoking fags at the same time. Then, after he finished eating, he would replace the dip and chaw again, and proceed to smoke a huge cigar before getting back to work.:rolleyes: