For anyone who gets neck / shoulder pain

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by project_c, Jun 15, 2020.

  1. project_c


    May 8, 2008
    London, UK
    Not sure if this is helpful to anyone, but it might help some of you who get pain at the side of the neck / top of the shoulder on your plucking side. For a while I've noticed that playing some basses made my neck hurt in that specific spot, while I was absolutely fine with other basses.

    My posture / playing position was ok, the straps were all the same length, weight / type of strap had nothing to do with it, it happened whether I was sitting or standing, so I couldn't figure out why it was happening - until earlier today, when I grabbed my most comfortable bass (a Fender Jazz) and measured how high my plucking hand was from the ground in sitting position. Long story short, turns out that my right hand sits about 2 inches higher on the jazz bass (because of the larger body) than on the other basses, and because the basses rest on my leg when I play, it never occurred to me that my plucking hand ends up at slightly different heights depending on the bass body type. So I just shortened the straps on the other basses to match where my plucking hand sits on the jazz, and lo and behold, no more weird neck pain. Didn't think an inch or two of arm placement would make much difference, turns out it does.
  2. IamGroot

    IamGroot Inactive

    Jan 18, 2018
    The Jazz Bass bout caused my plucking arm shoulder to lift up, which created a very painful knot in my upper arm. I dont play a Jazz for long periods as a result.
  3. I noticed that I get pain between my right shoulder and neck if I have the bass too high. I was messing around with my strap height because I've been getting more fatigued in my left shoulder lately - I had a minor car accident a few years ago that made it very uncomfortable to hold a bass at all for a long time, and just recently got back into regular practice. I now have the bass halfway between my original low-slung playing height, and the higher position that made it comfortably on my left side. I guess I'll just have to split the discomfort and tough it out.
    project_c likes this.
  4. project_c


    May 8, 2008
    London, UK
    I guess everyone has a different take on this, I’m always surprised by how much our physical features affect our playing, and how even the smallest differences in our anatomy can change what we perceive as comfortable or painful. Hope you manage to recover from the injury and you don’t have to tough it out for too long!
    Groove Doctor likes this.
  5. Ehh, it's just one more pain to tune out. I've played gigs with a migraine :banghead: I'm just glad to finally be back to the point where I can play for more than a couple minutes before my muscles start seizing up. A friend asked me to fill in at her church in a few weeks, it will be the first time I have to play for an extended period in a long time, we'll see how that goes.
  6. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    Can't you just put your bass at an angle where each hand is comfortable?
    I generally put the bridge lower for my right hand and angle the neck up for my left.
    See my avatar image...

    Raising my bass only improves the left hand when well above the 12th fret, for me.
    Also I only seriously practice standing up, like I would gig.