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! :)

Fretting hand cramps

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by TYoungman, Oct 10, 2018.

  1. I used to have this problem when I was starting as well. Relax. Playing faster means we tend to tense up naturally, but watch anyone play fast and they'll be as relaxed as a freshly boiled noodle. You only need as much pressure as it takes to press the string down onto the fret.

    I gave myself tennis elbow trying to press to hard on the violin fingerboard about a year ago. You should be as relaxed playing fast are you are playing slow. The speed will come naturally over time. But you have to be patient. Its not an overnight process.

    I tried to learn YYZ about 6 months into playing bass and had the same issue, but recalling my piano practicing I took it slow and steady and learned all the notes and the pressure required to play them efficiently and then began to speed it up over time. Eventually I was okay.
    TYoungman likes this.
  2. pbassjbass


    Jun 21, 2013
    If I feel I'm using too much thumb pressure, I'll fold my thumb into my palm and run the riff (and some scales) a bit, while holding the bass and neck in place with my plucking hand forearm. This isn't an exercise I regularly practice, just a "reset", which seems to help me.
    EatS1stBassist and TYoungman like this.
  3. perch


    Aug 8, 2018
    On the right is the man who played bass on Billie Jean, Louis Johnson. RIP.
    Note: headstock held high...

    TYoungman likes this.
  4. perch


    Aug 8, 2018
    I was asked to sit in and the guy played a bass with action like that. One song was enough for me. I don't know how he stands it.
    TYoungman likes this.
  5. FingerDub

    FingerDub Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2016
    Even w the lowest action possible, Billie Jean is still hard to keep up on. Learn economy of motion and practice. Within two weeks you'll be just fine.
    TYoungman likes this.
  6. ron berry

    ron berry

    Aug 6, 2018
    Magnesium oil rubbed into your hand and forarm, amazing stuff, potassium deficiency does it too, being dehydrated. Yes, as a double bass player I totally get what you mean and even after years of playing both guitar and bass I still cramp up, shaking my hand out in small gaps in the music, changing the angles in the wrist, relaxing as much as possible, you still get cramped up if you have to play the same thing too many times in a row, get some melodic or positional variations in there you can pull out when you feel like it is the end, having a few easier or just different positions in the arsenal to go back to every now and again does wonders for your stamina.
    TYoungman likes this.
  7. TYoungman


    Oct 10, 2018
    Wow, so you still cramp up now and then... I am working on fully solving the problem and I'll see where it will go.

Share This Page