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Finger Pain

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Nevermoore, Nov 6, 2005.

  1. Nevermoore


    Nov 6, 2005
    I've just started playing the bass about two months ago. I love it and practice 2-3hrs a day (at least!); I have become a bit obsessed with it. When I first started playing my left hand would cramp up a lot, but that hasn't happened in a couple of weeks now. I guess my hand has gotten used to being in that (awkward) position. The problem I'm having now is I get a lot of pain in the first joint of my first finger after practicing. I don't know if I'm just practicing too much, or using too much pressure to hold the strings against the fret board. I do play the piano and probably have a stronger left hand than the average bass novice. But I do try to use the least amount of pressure necessary to get proper intonation. I can't help but feel that there is something wrong with my technique because of the pain I'm experiencing.

    I took a few bass lessons and when I asked about technique my instructor told me there is no right or wrong technique, just do whatever you're comfortable with. For somebody who plays the piano this is very hard to accept. I can't help but wonder if I have the first stages of arthritis or carpel tunnel or something, but I experience no pain from the piano (which I play a daily basis). Just wondering if anyone out there has any experience with this. I'm kind of hoping it just will go away like the cramping did.
  2. jacostilllives


    May 4, 2004
    where do you put your thumb on the neck? how do you position your fingers on the neck? I could see your finger hurting if you bend your finger on the first joint to put pressure on the string. make sure your finger is curled enough. Plus a lot of strength on bass just comes with time. Especially since you are practicing 2-3 hours a day and are new to the instrument. Bad Technique will lead to problems in the future dont let your teacher tell you differently a lot of people play whats comfortable to them when they first start out which can lead to huge problems in your wrist and fingers if you arent doing it properly.
  3. Nevermoore


    Nov 6, 2005
    Thanks for the response... I generally use the one finger per fret technique (I've seen it referred to as "Lobster Claw") I have seen other threads referring to other techniques but I'm not really sure what they're talking about. I just don't know any other way. I think I curl my fingers pretty well when playing, bending both the first and second joints arching over the higher strings.

    My thumb position is something I'm actually a little confused about. I seen some things that say you should keep your thumb in the "Hitchhiker Position" parallel to the neck of the guitar, pointing towards the headstock. But I've also heard that you should keep your thumb perpendicular to the neck opposite the middle finger. I'm not sure which is right and honestly I find myself doing a little of both. I usually end up in that Hitchhiker position when I'm playing solely on the D and G strings and it gets more pronounced the higher up the neck I go. For the most part I try keeping my thumb perpendicular to the neck in line with my 2nd (middle) finger. I notice that I don't stick to this when I'm playing a note, like C# on the 3rd string with my ring finger and then have to reach up to D# with my pinkie on the same string and then immediately go back to C# with the ring finger. Then I'll keep my thumb in the exact same spot so I can snap right back into position to play the C#. Maybe I should be moving the thumb along with the rest of the hand.