How can I lessen shoulder pain from playing?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Nellsalot, Nov 4, 2004.

  1. I have a very lightweight bass, it's not an ounce heavier than my lightweight Strat guitar. But from both of these, even from my nylon string classical, I can't play standing up for very long before my shoulder is burning with pain (where the strap rests). Now, I am a small girl and not very muscular. Is my lack of shoulder muscle the biggest reason for this pain? Will continuing to practice build up my tolerance or will it just keep hurting if I don't build more muscle? Is there some kind of padded strap which can distribute the weight better? I don't hear about a lot of people having this problem and I know I'm not the only bassist/guitarist who isn't muscular or large.

    Any help would be appreciated. I'm worried about what happens when I finally get in a band and can barely play through a concert without my shoulder falling off.
  2. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    Many people like these:

    I haven't personally tried them, but they look nice. Don't mess around with pain of any kind. You shouldn't have to suffer to play. Well other than taking verbal abuse from the other band members. :)
  3. I'm curious as to what kind of strap you are using now - if you are playing an SG-looking Kalamazoo short scale, that shouldn't weigh more than 7 or 8 lbs like my old Gibson EB0.

    Levy make some nice wide padded leather straps, 2-4" wide, and if these don't help you need to work out a little! :D
  4. Thanks for the tips, guys! My current strap is just some regular strap, it's not padded. This is that short scale Kalamazoo and I can't imagine it's much over 7 pounds. The body is weirdly thin. This is just such bad news for me as I'm looking into Rickenbackers :(
  5. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Rickenbackers didnt seem to be terribly heavy for me, but then again, im a guy.

    Definitely get a padded strap. I have a comfortt strap and it makes any bass seem lighter. My Godin weighs probably 9.5 pounds at least, probably even 10 , and its no problem.
  6. Anti_Wish


    May 14, 2004
    Boston, Ma
    definately get one of these. they are great for heavy basses and or guitars. thisck leather straps do look a little classier though. also bass player or bass guitar mag. did a review on a strap thing called a squid. its like a fat rubber squid lookin' thing that supposedly distributes weight better and you just slip it over your old strap. like $50 US though.
  7. Dynna


    Oct 23, 2004
    Don't just get a PADDED strap, get one that is at LEAST 4 inches wide. I don't know how you're built, but my strap is 5 inches wide, and I could play for days with that thing on. That's with a Stingray 5 which isn't the lightest bass on the planet either.
  8. Dynna is right. The key is in the distribution. The wider, the more evenly distributed, the less pain.

    A padded strap won't mean ANYTHING if it is still narrow. Pressure is measured in weight/unit area...wider means more area means LESS pressure means LESS pain.

  9. christle

    christle Supporting Member

    Jan 26, 2002
    Winnipeg, MB
    I am using the SlapStrap and it is wide and makes my Jazz seem very light. I used to have the burning shoulder problem when I was using a regular leather strap. Not anymore. The Comfort Strapp is also good, I have one of those as well, but I find that the SlapStrap is much better.

  10. Yay! Good to know my problem may be solved. My strap is way cool looking (snow leopard print, yeah!) so I'll have to sacrifice looks for comfort, which is just fine. Funny, someone said their strap is 5 inches wide - out of curiosity I measured from the base of my neck to the edge of my shoulder and it's around 5.5 inches! That's a big strap!
  11. gitm-steph


    Oct 30, 2004
    I have the same problem, being a small not very muscular girl myself. I usually put my foot on a stool and rest my bass on my leg. You might look into some type of physical therapy to strengthen the shoulders. I have a pretty messed up and disconnected shoulder from the combination of playing and repetitive motion at work. I once saw a strap that had two shoulder straps and a waistband. If anyone knows where to find this please let me know!

    Definitely do what you can about the pain before it gets serious.
  12. christle

    christle Supporting Member

    Jan 26, 2002
    Winnipeg, MB
    You could probably look at a 3-4" wide strap. Should be more than sufficient.
  13. Comfort Strapp +++++++++

    You should never let anything get to painful, Could result in Injury down the line. Take it in small doses mabey 15 min. at a time and then sit. But when you sit you should have on your strap with the bass in the same position as if you are standing.

    Work on your posture, do some simple exercises to strenthen your core muscle groups. Slouching could be the biggest problem. Strenthing your abs and lower back will give you the best strenth gains overall, and probably help eliminate back-shoulder pain. You dont need beefy shoulders and big biceps to be strong.
  14. Do you mean this:Slider Dual Strap ?

    Closeup of Slider Dual Strap

    It's pretty odd looking but it might work nice. Anyone else got an opinion on it?
  15. morebass!

    morebass! I'm listening Supporting Member

    May 31, 2002
    Madison WI
    I tried some sort of strap that went over both shoulders and was supposed to distribute the weight likewise. I hated it. It held the bass at a very uncomfortable angle that I couldn't get used to. So I went back to a regular strap - a comfort strap.
  16. natrab


    Dec 9, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    I know this probably isn't the problem, but it was for me. I noticed that whenever I wasn't playing, I was resting my hands on my bass and unwittingly putting downward pressure on my shoulders. This also happened when I was playing hard. Since then I've learned to use a softer touch and I've kept my hands off my bass when I am not playing and I have had no more problems with shoulder pain.

    Also get a bigger strap :p
  17. jja412

    jja412 Fine gear enthusiast

    Feb 2, 2004
    St. Louis
    4" leather strap = much comfort even with a T-40 cement bass. Try it. ;)
  18. Many good suggestions so far. I use the 4"-wide One Strap by Moody's, which is the best strap I have tried so far.
  19. SoyBase


    Jul 1, 2001
    Atlanta, Ga
    I use a plain jane 4" leather strap. Worked wonders for me.

    Also, try different heights until you find the most comforable. I used to play with my strings right about at my belt line, but found that only about an inch or so higher made all the difference in the world. It turned out that I was straining my shoulder a little when the bass hung lower.
  20. j-raj

    j-raj Bassist: Educator/Soloist/Performer Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jan 14, 2003
    Atlanta, GA!
    I have one of these for each bass I own, they are great! They make them in different broadnesses, the broader the strap the more distributed the weight is.

    Experiment with diffent heights and playing angles... or take a more drastic measure: relocate the strap pins.