I used to play really hard in th band I'm in. It made ,me sound punchy and cool. Then one day my monitor had to be raised up higher for some reason. OMG! I sounded terrible. I used to only be able to hear the low end of my bass but being raised up right next to my ear told me the real truth: Fret buzz everywhere. I freaked!! My sound man actually said something to me the week before, about how I should try to be more consitent. I would play so hard that near the end of the night I couldn't play that hard. I would burn out. The solution: I learned to play softer. It was weird at first I had really big issues with consitancy and I'm still having some issues with time. Whenever we play Black Sabbath I still play like a lumberjack. But now I'm a softer player. I can still be as punchy, but now I sound like a much better player. At the end of the night my hands feel great. They don't hurt. And if they hurt there is something wrong! I wrote this to inform new players and hard hitters that you should look at how hard your playing. Bass should be a relaxed insturment. You can stay right on top of the beat but you should feel relaxed about being there. Learn to be more dynamic. It's fun to play hard on stage. It's like a drummer beating his drums. It's cool to release that energy but this is what my sound man told me, (Note:he is also a bassist) He said:"Bass is a lot like your girlfriends breasts, you squeeze them hard and ahhhhh! But if you fondle and play nice you got it made." Sorry for the last analogy being sexist but it's easy to remember.