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Hand cramps

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by HMZ, Sep 21, 2010.

  1. HMZ

    HMZ Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2003
    I didn't know where to put this topic but have you ever had your hand cramp up during a gig and what did you do to get though the gig?

    This happened to me this weekend halfway though my 3rd and last set of the day. I tried using a pick for a while but other wise I just muddled though it.
  2. I only get hand cramps from spending too much time with the mouse in my hand, scrolling through boutique bass websites or bass forums :D.

    Perhaps you'll get a more sensible answer to your question if you post it here :meh::

  3. 64jazzbass


    Sep 5, 2002
    Chicago, Il
    This happens to me on occasion. It helps to warm up thoroughly before the gig, and take a couple of aspirin or ibuprofen before you go on. It can be caused by a number of different things so it's hard to diagnose. Also, try turning your amp up and playing with a softer touch. It's hard to do at first because of the natural adreneline that flows during a gig sometimes which at least in my case causes me to dig in and play harder than I need to.
  4. MrDOS

    MrDOS Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 4, 2006
    Colorado Springs, CO
    And do a search!:hyper:
  5. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    It happened to me once years ago on my fretting hand after a long show. My middle finger cramped and curled into my palm...I freaked out! I shook it off and it did it again! I did get it to go away and finished the gig and have never had it happen again...Thank God!

    A month ago our lead singer/guitar player had this happen on a hot humid, night late into the set. He thought he couldnt go on since the last song had allot of pickin in it but like me he stretched it out and got thru it. Those things suck big time!
  6. I happened to me a few times, i usually just carry on using my thumb if its a slow song or switch to playing with middle and ring finger ( its usually my index that crampes if i have been playing with a pic for a while and then go back to fingerstyle!)
  7. Spinal Tapper

    Spinal Tapper

    Nov 15, 2007
    breathe. drink water. relax.
  8. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    If the material allows, lay back and pedal root-V with just your index finger. This is a short-term "band-aid" fix. I've had it happen myself due, in part, to poor technique. If you're looking for a long-term solution, I strongly suggest you embrace the floating thumb technique. It'll take time and practice but the results are worth the effort. IMO, one of the worst things you can do is use the upper bout of a pickup as a thumbrest. It can contort / strain the right hand as you reach for the D & G strings. As always, YMMV.

    Oh...and don't be spanking the monkey an hour before the gig.

  9. lug

    lug Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2005
    League City, Tx
    I would get hand cramps with very small neck sizes when I first used them but that passes after a while.
  10. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006

    Also, make sure you warm up with gentle stretches for about five minutes before a gig or practice session. Dont dive right into fast energetic playing from the get go. Give your hands and fingers time to warm up. Warm down afterwards also, with some stretches.

    Check your technique.
  11. HMZ

    HMZ Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2003
    I think what happened is after the first set I was told I was too load so I turned my amp down. During the second set I could not hear myself as well so I was playing harder so I could hear and that's what did me in. For now on I'm going to have the amp louder but try and play softer. That will be very hard for me to do.
  12. okcrum

    okcrum in your chest

    Oct 5, 2009
    Verde Valley, AZ
    RIP Dark Horse strings
    I drink Propel or Powerade or something that replenishes electrolytes during the gig. That keeps me from cramping. Before I did that, I'd have to grit my teeth through the odd cramp and stretch between tunes.
  13. aux


    Sep 1, 2010
    that sounds like too much attack. another thing you could do would be to invest in your own ear monitors. that way you could hear yourself without beating yourself to death.
  14. okcrum

    okcrum in your chest

    Oct 5, 2009
    Verde Valley, AZ
    RIP Dark Horse strings
    I get the tone I want with lots of attack. So I stretch before the gig, and drink as healthy as I can during the gig. IEMs would not change that.

    Doing hand & finger endurance exercises help, too.
  15. Gearhead17

    Gearhead17 Supporting Member

    May 4, 2006
    Mount Prospect, IL
    I do hand exercises on my bass about a half hour before the set begins (10 minutes long) take a short break, then do it again for another 10 minutes. It allows my hands to loosen up and I avoid all cramping issues.

    I used to play way too hard on stage, so I turned up the rig and played lighter - that worked! Practice playing with a lighter touch! It's not as hard as you think.

    Who said you were too loud? Soundguys usually mean your low mids or low end is too strong and messing with the PA system, decrease the 40-200hz zone a little bit and they will turn you up in the subwoofers. You will be able to hear the missing low end out of the subs. (everything below 200hz) travels in every direction imaginable.
  16. RTL

    RTL Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2008
    Leander, TX

    I just had to sig this!
  17. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008

    When I get cramps in my left hand it is usually from bad technique ... ie wrapping my left thumb around the neck. When I put my thumb on the back side of the neck the cramps go away.
  18. treekiller


    Mar 4, 2010
    I have an appt. with a Rhumatologist next week. I can't close my left hand into a fist, my ring finger in particular will "lock" if I force it closed. It seems to be less of a problem with my P-Basses vs. my Jazz. No problems with my right hand whatsoever(I play fingerstyle 98% of the time). Trust me, this sucks!!!
  19. Raymeous


    Jul 2, 2010
    San Diego
    One technique I read from a Billy Sheehan interview was to run your hands under warm water before the gig. You probably want to wash your hands to get the dust and crud from load out off your hands before playing your bass anyway. The idea is that the warmth of some hot water losens up the muscles a bit and allows blood to flow a little better.

    Also staying hydrated by drinking water or a sports drink of some kind will definitely help.
  20. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Feb 27, 2021

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