Hand/Arm Cramps

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by BongoPeg, Mar 10, 2010.

  1. BongoPeg


    Oct 21, 2009
    A little background info before you ask:
    I have been playing bass for roughly 2 and a half years, I own a MM Bongo 6 (hell yeah:p) just to give you an idea.

    Heres the deal, I have it so often when I play that my fretting hand and my wrist and sometimes my whole arm cramps up. It just burns like crazy for a while... sometimes I even have to stop playing. Keep in mind I play highly technical stuff, (Dream Theater, some of the crazy Rush songs, Symphony X, etc.:bassist:) and I play everyday if I can and for several hours a day if time allows. It is usually only a problem when I'm trying to pull of a crazy fast riff or playing a fast riff repeatedly.

    I am just wondering if this is normal and everyone has this? Is this just part of growing/learning? I figured I wouldn't have it this bad if I play so much. I'm thinking it may have something to do with how tight my thumb is pressing against the neck or maybe where I let my thumb rest?
    Oh one more thing... My hands/fingers are just kinda average so having a 6 string can be a bit of a stretch on the lowest frets.
  2. mccak287


    Feb 22, 2009
    New Jersey
    You should practice in the mirror and watch the angle of your wrist. You probably have your left arm in an unnatural position. Also, if you feel it's your thumb practice playing without it for an exercise. Some other things to consider are the height of your strap and how high your action is/ relief of your neck. I hope that you find a way to play without being in pain! A lot of players don't realize how much extra effort they put into playing but if you practice enough you'll see that playingthe bass requires a lot less effort than you think.
  3. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
  4. 251


    Oct 6, 2006
    Metro Boston MA
    1st things 1st. Drink more water. Cramps could mean you just don't drink enough water.

    2nd - take a look at the way your hand sits over the strings. Your arm should drape easy over the strings. Your wrist should be comfortably straight. You should be able to move from the lowest to highest string with as little effort as shrugging your shoulder. If not, experiment with different ways to play seated & standing, with a strap. I started with a very short strap that forced me to bend my wrist all the time. I am much more comfortable with the strap 2" longer.

    Hope that helps. :cool:
  5. BongoPeg


    Oct 21, 2009
    While most of your suggestions were good ones they don't help much because I have already put them into consideration a long time ago.

    The height of my bass is not the problem and the angle of my wrist is not the problem. I can play with ease most of the time unless its really technically difficult.

    The one about water is actually useful though cause that might actually be it... I'll try that and see if it works... cause I know its not how I play
  6. It is how you play.
  7. 251


    Oct 6, 2006
    Metro Boston MA
    Good luck. I hope it turns out to be as simple as taking more water. :cool:
  8. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    I disclose nothing
    Good nutrition is important. Most people have mineral or nutritional deficiences from eating processed foods. Also holding your left thumb in the proper location can stop cramping as well.
  9. tobie


    Nov 26, 2008
  10. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    This is your problem right here. Loosen your grip and you gain both speed and endurance.
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    Primary TB Assistant

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