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Fingers getting hurt by the strings?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by FloydianPT, Jan 22, 2013.

  1. FloydianPT


    Jan 22, 2013
    Hey everyone,

    I've been playing bass for almost two months now, and while in the beggining I favored playing with a pick, I've decided I'm going to be a finger bass player.

    The problem is that now that I'm playing with my fingers, I'm really going at it everyday, but my fingers are getting shredded by the strings... My indicator finger had a blister first, and the next day my middle finger.

    I know that at the beggining my fingers will hurt while they get used to playing bass, but the thing is, just before I switched to fingerplaying, I raised the bridge on my E string (because I wanted to get rid of a little buzz going on in there) and I've read in the internet that not doing so properly can put too much tension on the strings, therefore making it harder on my fingers.

    Is this the case or is it just my fingers getting used to it?
  2. Your fingers will get used to it. Exact same thing happened to me the first month or so, just stick it out.

  3. TotteryManx


    Jan 15, 2013
    The first few months I played I developed blistors as well. Your fingers will get use to it with time.
  4. paganjack


    Dec 25, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Completely normal! I can't remember the last time I had full feeling in most of my fingertips.

    Source: I have played string instruments since about age 8.
  5. FloydianPT


    Jan 22, 2013
    Nice to know, then. Really sucks, I want to play more then ever now and it's really hard with my fingertips like this! :bassist:
  6. maxpayneatlarge


    Mar 9, 2012
    Don't lotion them up or anything, you want to build up those callouses.

  7. FloydianPT


    Jan 22, 2013
    Sure thing. But should I keep playing, even though it hurts, or let it heal a little bit before going at it again?
  8. I agree that, being a newbie to bass, your fingers will hurt during the first couple months or so...there's no way around it but playing through the pain. Your skin will get tougher and more resilient. However, the raising of the strings does concern me if you went too far.

    If you have something that you can measure down to 32nds of an inch (or 1/4 mm), please measure the outside strings (for example the E and G strings on a 4 string bass) at the 24th fret. Measure from the top of the fret to the underside of the string without pressing down the string. Let us know how high it is.
  9. boynamedsuse

    boynamedsuse Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    Your body is telling you something, and a person should be wise enough to listen to what it tells you. Minor discomfort is OK, but if it is painful enough to affect your playing it is time to take a break and recover.
  10. FloydianPT


    Jan 22, 2013
    My bass (Squier Affinity Precision Bass) only has 20 frets, should I measure that?

    I guess it's only discomfort. I mean, I can play, but not for a whole 4 minute song, for example. My indicator is good to go, but my middle finger starts to hurt after a while.
  11. Eight_Stringer


    Feb 22, 2009
    How hard are you striking the strings? In the bad old days ( hardly were they ever good, all day every day ) we had to bash the hell out of the bass to get the sound we wanted, blisters and blood every gig, almost. Possibly turn your amp up ( if your using one at practise volume ), play with a lighter touch at this early stage of the new beginning. Be a useful technique to master the light touch.

    Used finger ease ( no jokes please, it is too easy ), just before gig time. Stops a lot of the abrasive early damage. Some strings are very aggressive on the hands.

    True pain awaits with 4 hour gigs coupled to energy songs, grin. I would not miss out for the world, the pain or the pleasure. Hope you enjoy bass playing.
  12. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    Make sure you are not "digging in" (plucking too hard) too much. Hire up your amp if you want volume. Try to play with a light touch. Your hands and fingers will thank you for it later on down the line.

    Much as you are eager to play, I'd rest the fingers for a day or two to give the skin a chance to recover. When you go back to playing, increase the amount of time gradually. This way, you'll keep the blisters to a minimum. If you cant play for four minutes without pain, then you are over doing things IMO.

    It would be a good idea to also have the action (the height of the strings from the fretboard) checked.
  13. FloydianPT


    Jan 22, 2013
    Well, it has crossed my mind that, at least the E string, seems to have a bit too much "resistance" to my picking. I'll try being easier on the strings, then. Thanks for the advice! :bassist:
  14. Fredy


    Nov 13, 2012
    Ive been palying for about 7 months and i still get some pain after 2 hours sessions
  15. Nashrakh


    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    I'm kind of weirded out by all the people saying pain is normal and feeling in your fingertipis a luxury lol.

    If you dig in too hard, turn up the amp or deal with it. I recommend the former because your stamina will be better. I can play all day without any discomfort whatsoever, but judging by the responses in the thread I'm just a wimp, heh! Imo playing an instrument should not be a workout. Thinner gauge strings or lighter attack work wonders...

    If the pain were in your fretting hand I also would have guessed it's from the adjusted string height. Since it's apparently not maybe you overcompensate with plucking attack because the distance of pup to strings is now bigger? Just an idea, never had to deal with problems like these. Again, might want to turn up your amp.
  16. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    Stop before a blister forms, otherwise you will perpetuate an endless cycle. Gradually the amount of time that you can play without blistering will increase.
  17. Nemasis

    Nemasis Supporting Member

    May 31, 2004
    Dallas, TX
    Have you considered changing to coated strings, such as Elixir, which are a little easier on your fingers?
  18. Lower your action a little bit and turn up your amp. Also, see a teacher even if it's only for a couple lessons to get your technique started. I play very heavy on my right hand but I have callouses and grow my nails out. I don't trim my right hand plucking fingers, just let them naturally break off from playing bass.
  19. hotsauce n eggs

    hotsauce n eggs

    Jan 20, 2013
    if your fingers get sore, you could always tape your fingers when you play until they stop being sore, then when they start getting sore again, you can tape them up again, keep doing this and eventually you should develop callouses on your fingers and shouldn't require the tape anymore.
  20. AndyVanBass


    Jan 11, 2011
    Nashville, TN
    What tape do you recommend for this? I assume medical tape? Thanks. (Tore up my fingers after not playing for 2 months, looking for ways to avoid in the future.)

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