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hand cramps -veteran slab bassist-new upright bassist-left hand

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by glennreid, May 14, 2018.


  1. glennreid

    glennreid

    Aug 14, 2017
    fort worth
    my first gig with the upright was last saturday night and i was okay until the third set when i got hand cramps in my left(fingering) hand..any pointers from the veterans? exercises or ways to change ?i have the bass headstock at head level and i am seated ..do i need to let my fingering thumb float ,as they say? i had some pain in my plucking hand but not as pervasive..i dont want to give it up..i love the tone ,and i am pretty good already ,except for the odd missed tone ..
     
  2. sevenyearsdown

    sevenyearsdown Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    Tough to say over the web not having seen you play. Are there specific fingerings, for example extended use of the pinky that seem to be causing it? Or was it was just about everything in your third set?

    After fingering/hand shape/fundamental issues the easier things to look at are hydration, pregame stretching, and just building up your overall stamina through a practice routine. Do you have a practice routine, or do you just play a bunch of songs?

    I guess what I'm saying is that we need more information.
     
  3. glennreid

    glennreid

    Aug 14, 2017
    fort worth
    I just play a bunch of songs but I don't think I've ever played the upright for three hours continuously not sure what you mean by stretching dehydration thing I can take care of but I always drink water all through my gig always have I think when it's time to break ive got to take breaks it's just weird having never had cramps before in 40 years of slab bass it's unusual
     
  4. sevenyearsdown

    sevenyearsdown Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    Well you're using different muscles, and using other muscles differently. You can't compare slab to upright. Two different animals.

    When I say stretching I mean some basic hand and forearm stuff. The same stretches you'd learn for occupational therapy to prevent tendonitis, repetitive strain injuries.

    A practice routine with fundamentals will build stamina better and faster than playing songs IMO.
     
  5. HateyMcAmp

    HateyMcAmp

    Apr 13, 2006
    Colorado
    So your slab technique isn’t transitioning comfortably? It’s almost sounds like they’re different instruments.
     
    DrayMiles and KUNGfuSHERIFF like this.
  6. glennreid

    glennreid

    Aug 14, 2017
    fort worth
    It's an uphill battle but one that I need to fight I'll do what it takes.
     
    DrayMiles likes this.
  7. glennreid

    glennreid

    Aug 14, 2017
    fort worth
    I'll do the fundamentals thing thanks.
     
  8. jsf729

    jsf729 Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 2014
    Central Maryland
    What formal training do you have? Are you a slab player transitioning to upright? What style music are you playing?
     
  9. Get a teacher before you hurt yourself.
     
    mtto, old spice, DrayMiles and 4 others like this.
  10. LukeTheDrifter

    LukeTheDrifter Supporting Member

    Jun 3, 2017
    Dallas, TX
    This X1,000,000! Please at least take few double bass lessons from a qualified, professional double bass teacher. You are almost certainly using terrible technique (nothing personal, but proper technique isn’t what anyone uses when they just grab a DB and start playing). You’ll learn proper hand shape and how to use your arm weight to avoid fatigue, plus so much more. You won’t regret it at all. Bass guitar and double bass are played very differently. I, too, started playing DB after many years of playing bass guitar. After a couple of years of playing how I thought I should, and AFTER my bad technique led to a wrist injury, I finally started taking lessons. Some of the best money I’ve ever spent.
     
  11. glennreid

    glennreid

    Aug 14, 2017
    fort worth
    You are all in different ways correct I need to improve my left hand technique to play in tune and not hurt myself I will swallow my pride and go back to school I'll play the slab for awhile for gigs until I'm sure of intonation and technique
     
  12. jsf729

    jsf729 Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 2014
    Central Maryland
    I see by your profile that we are the same age. I had great teachers coming up. That being said, I took some time off from upright. Due to financial issues, I had to sell mine (was able to hold onto a MIM Fender thank goodness). Got back on my feet and was able to purchase another one and jumped right back into gigs. Hurt my left arm so bad could hardly even play electric. Didn't touch upright for 3 months till I healed. Researched TB threads and it seems that as we get older the tendons get "weaker". And I am a schooled player. Not trying to pile on here. Just emphasizing what the others have said. You CAN hurt yourself. Get some lessons and have fun!
     
  13. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    And take your time. It takes a while to build the necessary muscles even if you do have a teach
     
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  14. unbrokenchain

    unbrokenchain Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2011
    Asheville, NC
    Similar story here, found myself at a gig using my left THUMB to stop notes because my fingers hurt so bad... that was a few years ago. Since then I've adjusted technique a heck of a lot, learned not to collapse the fingers on my left hand at all (always curled), and to not use my thumb on the back of the neck, at all. Using my whole arm more, not just the hand, like Rufus says, was key for me. Was really worried back then that I wouldn't be able to play anymore, but I've done a few multiple-gig days lately, playing up to 9 hours a day sometimes, and haven't had any of that pain. Fingertips still get sore of course, but that's the good kind of pain, and they're back in a couple days. Starting to feel like technique is not so much a fixed thing but constant adaptation, listening to our own bodies and the advice of others.

    A good teacher who's been playing a long time should be able to set you right pretty quick, I would think.
     
  15. DrayMiles

    DrayMiles

    Feb 24, 2007
    East Coast
    I second the wrist injury. The Dr's were talking surgery, cortisone injections or therapy. Get a teacher at the onset...
     
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  16. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    Chicago
    Give it up after one gig? Come on! Your going too fast. It takes time to develop gig worthy muscles and technique. A teacher is good. Stop playing when it gets uncomfortable. Your body is telling you it needs to rest. Would you run a marathon after just starting jogging? Don't play through pain. Respect your limitations. Also make sure your instrument is set up optimally for easy playing. Lots of info in these threads. Good luck!
     
    Ross Kratter likes this.
  17. glennreid

    glennreid

    Aug 14, 2017
    fort worth
    well after looking at some videos i have to get the fingerings right in order not to worry about intonation..the gigs i have can be done several ways so switching to acoustic or slab for a while will not affect my accounts at all..so i am listening to the advice and moreover am going to act on the advice constructively..already contacted a upright bass teacher...a local legend on electric bass that also teaches on the side upright and electric
     
    DrayMiles likes this.
  18. wathaet

    wathaet

    May 27, 2007
    I would be more inclined to contact someone who is primarily an upright player if you are looking to work on your left hand.
    Best may be a teacher with a solid old school classical training.
     
    Ross Kratter and jsf729 like this.
  19. LukeTheDrifter

    LukeTheDrifter Supporting Member

    Jun 3, 2017
    Dallas, TX
    I agree with this 100%. My teacher is classically trained, period. Double bass is the only instrument he plays, and he studied under classical masters for many years. A classically trained teacher will show you correct technique, and that technique will keep you healthy across all music types. Lessons aren’t cheap, so get the most for your money. You won’t regret it.
     
  20. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    Chicago
    Now that's funny... Seriously, this is a lifelong "worry" and process.
     
    Ross Kratter likes this.