Hands and fingers going numb

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by JDM, Nov 20, 2005.

  1. JDM


    Oct 12, 2005
    I've begun to develop pins and needles in my hands and fingers when playing the double bass. I've only been playing about 2 months but I'm an accomplished electric player. Has anyone else found this at all from playing or knows of anyone else who has. I sometimes get it when I'm playing the electric when I allow my right forearm to rest on the top edge of the body of the bass, most probably pressing on a nerve. But I'm not applying pressure to any parts of my hand or arm when I'm playing the double bass, other than left thumb and finger-tips.

    Any suggestions or advice would be great as I don't want it to spoil my enjoyment of playing my double bass.
  2. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Sounds like you have the same problem I had...electric bass left thumb. Can't push in with it like you do on an electric. Pretty much the thumb is there to steady the balance of the bass and not to do any real work when putting pressure on the strings with the fingers. At least that's what others said on here, so I stopped the electric bass thumb and my hand quit tingling.
  3. JDM


    Oct 12, 2005
    Thanks Jimmy, I'll wait to see what more advice I get on it. In the mean time I'll have to observe any undue pressure or tension whilst playing,
  4. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
  5. Another possibility might be some sort of nerve impingement in your neck or upper back. I had a similar problem a few years ago, mostly from playing EB. I'd get tingling and numbness in my right arm and hand. The situation got better after I began a regular stretching and exercise routine and bought a different type of strap for my slab.

    If you have a teacher, he or she may be able to help you with any stance or posture related issues that could be contributing to the problem. It really is true that you can hurt yourself playing DB without a good physical approach.

  6. Uncletoad


    May 6, 2003
    Columbus Ohio
    Proprietor Fifth Avenue Fret Shop. Technical Editor Bass Gear Magazine
    It's important to understand that the string bass is not played at all like the electric bass guitar. They are very different instruments and must be approached very differently.

    It's not a finger thing. It's arms and legs. It's really a full body thing. It's a dance with an equal partner.

    I think electric bass guitarists tend to squeeze with the left hand and pluck with the right hand without the use of the arms. That's a tough job for them and eventually ends in Carpal Tunnel or Arthritis or other improper use problems.

    My best movement from being an electric bass guitar player to a string bass player was when I began to take lessons from a Double Bassist who taught me the use of my limbs. I now play with much less effort in my hands.

    Trying to play with my fingers gave a me thin tone and killed my hands. It flared carpal tunnel symptoms that were dormant from improper use on the bass guitar from decades earlier. Studies with an Alexander Technique teacher solved those issues in my bass guitar playing. Alexander studies also helped address the flare up in my string bass playing AFTER I had learned better fundamentals from my string bass teacher.

    So, all together now, "get a teacher". A real string bassist. Not a part timer or cellist or bass guitarist. Someone who would rather play Double Bass than anything else on the planet.

    If they don't teach the above, get one that does.