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Heavens, my hand

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Lord Henry, Apr 6, 2006.

  1. Right now my left hand is hurting. I'm a right-handed bassist and my left hand is giving me really problems. Whenever I start geting into a good, solid practice (usually about 30-40 minutes in) the tendons in the palm of my left hand just starts killing me. I stop and do a few stretches, and the pain fades a bit, but if I try and play again it comes striaght back and I have to stop.

    After more than a decade on the (cringes) guitar, I definately have the flexibility in my hand, but I think I lack the strength for these heftier strings. I know, I know, this is something that will come with practice, but if you guys know of any way that I can build up the strength more quickly that would really help.

    As an aside, I've seen a few threads on this kind of topic before, none of which have quite answered my question, but maybe a sticky would be in order. Just a thought.

  2. Theonestarchild

    Theonestarchild Artfully lost

    Aug 23, 2005
    North Carolina
    How about one of those stupid red things with the springs? Or perhaps just get lower tension on the strings somehow.
  3. The setup is good, the action's pretty low. I'm playing standard gauge (105-45) steels. I know nickle is a bit lighter, and I have noticed it more sice I changed, but I'd rather keep the sound and improve my hand.

    Would anyone really recomend those spring grip things or are they just a waste if money? Or anything else?
  4. bassjamn

    bassjamn Supporting Member

    Jan 4, 2002
    San Francisco
    I am no doctor, but light warming up and stretching is important especially if you feel pain. You should probably check with your doc to make sure you have not injured yourself.

    I used to feel pain in my left(fretting) forearm palm a few years back. I found i was playing too hard. Making a effort to play relaxed and use a very light touch has worked wonders.
  5. Kronos


    Dec 28, 2005
    Philadelphia, PA
    +1 on the stretching and exercise. You could also squeeze a tennis ball to increase your finger strength instead of buying one of those finger thingys.
  6. Everything these guys say is right...

    I had very bad pains in my fretting hand about six months ago, and found out that I had been trying "too hard" to get better...they took over a month to go away.

    ...Now, I don't mean "too often"(that is bad too), but I was trying to get better at scales, and was playing waaay too deliberately - it was also the first time I used a metronome, and even though I kept my hands in "textbook" form, I was practically clenching the fretboard to death.....of course, it took someone else to point this out to me..:rolleyes:

    I have learned to use a much more relaxed appproach, and find that I can use about 1/3 the force to get clean notes if I concentrate on being relaxed...

    The best part: I can play for hours without pain now......

    +1 on the tennis ball thing, or some kind of stress ball.
  7. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    My thoughts exactly. There's absolutely no reason why your hands should hurt - even if you are more accustomed to playing the guitar than the bass guitar...

    A lot of cats look at those big, fat strings - and immediately think of how hard they'll have to work to make those strings dance. Wrong mental image. Lower the action. Lighten up your touch. Relax your forearm and hand. If necessary, turn up at the amp to compensate. It's all about technique, technique, technique...

    If you can't improve technique on your own, considering taking a few lessons from a pro who can show you how. If the pain doesn't soon subside, see a performance medical specialist...

  8. Get an experienced teacher (even just for one lesson) just to make sure your technique is good- I had a persistent case of tendonitis that was solved by a half inch movement of my thumb position. For what your describing, I would think strength exercises would not really help you much. If it doesn't go away soon, see a physio- you're in the UK, its free! Hope some of that helps!
  9. Audiophage


    Jan 9, 2005
    You might want to have longer resting periods and make sure that you're actually resting your hands during them.
  10. IanStephenson

    IanStephenson UnRegistered User

    Apr 8, 2006
    Check out "Tha Bassist's guide to injury management, prevention and better health" by Randall Kertz. I found it from a link on the Victor Wooten site.

    I've had wrist problems for years, even when I wasn't playing much. I recently commited to a regular gig (only a couple of times a week, but it's a big step back up for me), and set myself a health regime to match it.

    The two main changes I made are:
    A warm up routine BEFORE I TOUCH THE BASS - just a minute or so of shaking, circles and stretches.
    Sorting out my computer keyboard - I now have a split keyboard and a trackpad (off to one side).

    So far so good: a couple of months in and my wrists are better than they've ever been.

    If I were teaching bass, I'd make the warm up routine my number one lesson. I just wish someone had told that to me years ago.

    My other tip would be to let your amp do the work - TURN UP, rather than dig in.


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