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Fretting hand wrist pain

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Evil Undead, Mar 16, 2013.

  1. Evil Undead

    Evil Undead

    Oct 31, 2009
    I've been having some pain in my fretting wrist this week. It's nothing that has been caused by my technique (my theory may be crap but my technique is good!) - it started hurting after a swimming session, which was my first in a while so I guess I must have sprained it but not sure.

    I've been still trying to use it as normal but having some problems. It feels ok when I play above the 5th fret, but it's really sore the further I get towards the 1st. And playing an octave down that end sends shooting pains through the joint.

    Does anyone have any ideas for sorting this out? Ice, heat, strapping it up, etc? Or any ideas what might be causing the pain?

    I have rehearsal tomorrow night so can't give playing a rest.

  2. Evil Undead

    Evil Undead

    Oct 31, 2009
    Oh, I forgot to say, after playing, when I turn my wrist so my palm faces the floor again, that's so painful it makes me curse.
  3. I think a doctor would have better advice than an online forum.
  4. Evil Undead

    Evil Undead

    Oct 31, 2009
    You would think so. But in my experience that's rarely the case.
  5. ok then.

    chop your arm off at the elbow .... should fix any wrist pain.
  6. Schmorgy


    Jul 2, 2012
    Probably stop using it for the time being. Your wrist isn't hurting just 'cause. Pain is typically a warning sign that not all is how it should be.
  7. unclejane

    unclejane Guest

    Jul 23, 2008
    Sounds like how I ruined my left wrist gigging for all those years with my ill fitting, neck-diving Rickenbacker.

    In my case, I was playing with the wrist bent too much. this is what happens usually when you're playing further down the neck towards the headstock, but on a bass where the neck is too far down or too far out to the left (for rightys).

    So that might be the first thing to look at. For example, does your hand look like this in the painful positions:

    This is John Myung, one of my favorite bass players of all time, but oh lordy that left hand/wrist, just agony for me to watch. Doesn't hurt him apparently, but me trying to do this more or less ended my career.

    As a treatment, try playing for a while with your bass positioned so you can keep your wrist straight. Eg. seated with it on your opposite leg and hoisted up with a pad or something on the lower cutaway. Really get it under your chin when playing down towards the nut to keep your wrist as straight as you can get it.

    In fact, that's how I've been able to resume playing on a limited basis with my injuries. I can even handle my 6 string again, but I have to really hump the bass like a doggie in heat so I can get my arm under it properly.

    So something to look at and see if that helps. It has worked pretty well for me.

  8. FretlessMainly


    Nov 17, 2010
    Needle stuck in the groove? I gigged for over 15 years on a 1980 4001 with no issues whatsoever. Maybe it was your technique? Hell no! Blame the instrument. At some point, it gets old. That was about three years ago.
  9. Schmorgy


    Jul 2, 2012
    Mind you rics are notoriously uncomfortable to play.
  10. Gigabajillion


    Sep 19, 2006
    Spring Hill, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Bluesman Vintage, Ernie Ball
    I have had that intermittently the past couple years. For me the pain comes from the tendons in my forearm becoming inflamed and overstrained. Swimming and playing a lot could cause that I suppose. It feels like a wrist pain, but messaging just before the elbow takes care of it. I also use a "tennis elbow" brace to relieve the pain.

    A doc is a good idea, I found out what was causing it from a phys therapist. Hope this helps... :)
  11. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    Well, IMO this seems to be the case for going to see a doctor. Anything that sends shooting pains through the joint, needs to be checked by a doctor. You cant expect to get medical advice on a bass forum. :)
  12. unclejane

    unclejane Guest

    Jul 23, 2008
    Precisely - you nailed it.

    The instrument _should_ be among the first suspects when there's a painful problem (I didn't know better at the time and didn't learn better until it was too late). Perhaps you ascribe to the mortal, go-to-hell-right-now-do-not-pass-go sin of fitting the player to the instrument. Problem is, that destroys arms, hands, wrists and careers so we can just dismiss that right off the bat.

    The right way to do it is the other way around - fit the instrument to the player (instruments can be reshaped, but bass players cannot).

    So among the first things you adjust when there's a problem with pain, after going over the basics of technique, yes I agree, _is_ the instrument.

    In this case, we can do some debugging with what we already have to see what's going on. If it's difficult to keep the wrist in a comfortable position, the next step is to look for a bass that fits.

    Never, ever, persist with an instrument that hurts to play. That's the first thing. Then go from there.

  13. Ron G

    Ron G

    Mar 16, 2009
    Portsmouth, VA
    check this out:

  14. FretlessMainly


    Nov 17, 2010
    Heavy sigh. You needn't insinuate that I'm a dumb a$$ to make your point. I just have evidence to the contrary which you are no doubt not interested in reading.
  15. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    This makes me want to see video of you playing. Do you wear your bass slung low?
  16. Evil Undead

    Evil Undead

    Oct 31, 2009
    Nah, like a bow tie :D
  17. unclejane

    unclejane Guest

    Jul 23, 2008
    Never did anything of the kind - what you read into my remarks is your business, not mine.

    However, your suggestion here - the it's the player's fault when an instrument causes pain - is not a very smart one at all. I'm only attacking this point, not you personally.

    Feel free to present it, but I have a feeling it's only the fact that the Rick fit _you_ for many years, which would only demonstrate that it worked for _you_.

    That does not support your apparent contention that _other_ players can and should be fitted to the Rick (or any other bass) by simple adjustments of technique. I'm a direct counter-example to this case and there are likely very many others.

    Again, my contention is to look at the bass itself very early in the process of learning to play. I agree you need to look at the basics of technique first, but I strongly disagree that persisting with a painful instrument after that is just a matter of simply more technique adjustment. That's _not_ smart. Like I said, the instrument can be adjusted, but the player cannot be. So when you hit that particular wall, the bass has to go, not the player...

  18. Fifield


    Jan 3, 2013
    Rest up. Don't do anything that might aggravate it, which could be everything. Ice it. See a doctor. Cancel your rehearsals.

    If you get itchy for practicing there's loads you can do without touching an instrument. Get some ear training apps. If you hear a note, can you sing a fourth up? A minor 7th down? Hear the difference between minor and major 7th chords? Draw or print out some fretboard diagrams and go over the basics you might have skimped practicing before.

    Good luck!
  19. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    Everyone seems to be attributing this problem either to the guitar itself, or some other aspect of bass playing.

    Perhaps the problem is not bass related at all, but playing merely aggravates it.

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