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How to stop bad habits with left hand technique?

Discussion in 'Orchestral Technique [DB]' started by scer, Mar 27, 2013.


  1. scer

    scer

    Mar 11, 2013
    For years I've been playing with the wrong left hand technique and haven't worked on it soon enough. Basically I have very double-jointed and long fingers which has exacerbated the habit of flattening of my fingers, especially in thumb position. How can I relearn to play without collapsing my fingers? It hurts so much, I'm not even sure what the right technique is. Does it even matter?
     
  2. JPHYeoh

    JPHYeoh

    Jan 22, 2013
    Calgary
    Do you have a teacher? This is the general response around here. If you get a teacher, you will save yourself a world of trouble.
     
  3. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    Yup. Get a teacher.
     
  4. scer

    scer

    Mar 11, 2013
    I do; I've had the same teacher for years and he has pointed it out. I believe he himself has the same problem. And somehow I've managed to do well in auditions even with these obtrusive technical errors.
     
  5. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    Time for a new teacher?

    If you are certain that your technique is good, then it's time to visit the luthier and talk about ways to lower the tension on your bass. Maybe even getting an entirely new (and better) bass might be what you need, if you got the bread.
     
  6. InternetAlias

    InternetAlias

    Dec 16, 2010
    Serbia
    How is your bass positioned when you play? Maybe your left hand is at such an angle that it's only natural you hurt it while playing. Many people think that just moving the bass up or down fixes the issue. It doesn't, it's also important whether your bass is more to your left side or your right side, because when you have the first position closer to you it is much easier to play and you won't hurt fingers or wrist (at least as much).
     
  7. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    When your teacher is not around, practice s-l-o-w-l-y in front of a full-length mirror.
     
  8. chicagodoubler

    chicagodoubler Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2007
    Chicago, that toddling town
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland, Genz Benz
    Pain is always a sign of a couple things- either you're using your body inefficiently, or your setup is off. Sometimes it's both, and a bad setup can definitely lead to inefficient motion.

    Does moving from sitting to standing or visa versa help? How long have you been playing? Do you have a good bow? Is your right arm relaxed? How's your posture otherwise?

    All these variables are at play. There is no way to evaluate this without addressing every aspect, and until we see you play, there's absolutely no way for any of us to give you professional advise on how to fix the specifics.
     
  9. jaff

    jaff Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2006
    Arizona
    You might check around for another teacher to visit...my teacher(s) have always encouraged me to study with others and I've learned a lot so far by doing that episodically..including workshops. Ask your luthier who (s)he would recommend also.
     
  10. scer

    scer

    Mar 11, 2013
    No, sitting and standing are no different for me, and I've been playing for 8 years. It may be an issue of posture, that seems most plausible.
    Anyway I suppose you're all right, I'll just have to see another teacher and relearn the basics. I imagine I have a lot of exercises and work ahead of me.
     
  11. chicagodoubler

    chicagodoubler Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2007
    Chicago, that toddling town
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland, Genz Benz
    OP,

    Check out your gear and maybe get a lesson with someone else, but in all likelihood we only ever have ourselves to blame for our problems. I know this guy who studied with one of the best teachers in the world, developed all types of back problems, and got bitter about this teacher. He tried different studios and finally bought a new bow, focused on relaxation, and came out on the other side a bit embarrassed, but with a much more efficient and controlled technique... Unless there's some egregious issue with your teacher (like my old teacher who would throw pinecones at us when we'd mess up,) perhaps you should check your gear and videotape yourself a bit.

    Finally... do you exercise at all? Getting some good cardio and hitting the floor at some quality yoga classes can work miracles for many of our tension issues.
     
  12. scer

    scer

    Mar 11, 2013
    You're right, of course. I'm just not sure how to approach it. I have been recording myself and it's hard to put my finger on what the issue is, as much as I feel the discomfort and see how wrong it appears on video. I've had the same bass teacher my entire life, which is why it might be good to have another perspective. And my bass is fine, my bow has some issues with the grip sliding off but no major issue affecting my left hand.

    Now that you mention it, I do get verrry tense, especially as I've been trying to play correctly. I'll have to try exercising too; thanks for the tip.
     
  13. chicagodoubler

    chicagodoubler Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2007
    Chicago, that toddling town
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland, Genz Benz
    Scer,

    We're here to help. And argue.
     

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