Hurts pretty good

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by NeverBurgundy, Dec 14, 2007.

  1. NeverBurgundy

    NeverBurgundy Guest

    Dec 14, 2007
    Hey all, new here.

    I started playing bass about 4 months ago, and love it. The only problem is I'm having quite a bit of pain in my index and middle fingers on my plucking hand. I play slap and pop exclusively (Primus and Stanley Clarke are my main inspirations for playing), and I pop pretty hard, causing pain in the ends of these fingers.

    I've stayed with it, figuring that it will subside, much like the pain of developing calluses on the fingering hand, but this isn't going away. The only way it stops is if I don't play, and that's no good at all.

    I'm playing an entry level Yamaha with whatever strings the store I bought it from strung it with, no doubt the cheapest strings on the planet.

    Should I try lighter strings, is it the entry level instrument, are there any tips on technique that may help?

    I searched around a bit but couldn't find a similar topic, so apologies if this question gets asked and answered all the time around here.

  2. Aaiieeee


    Dec 14, 2007
    Im no expert at all and this may be completely false but I remember hearing that starting off with slap and pop can strain the hands a lot because its quite vigorous. Ive understood that its a good idea to go into slap/pop after a time of playing fingerpicking as fingerpicking helps build up the muscles in your hand.

    This is all just what my terrible memory is serving me..

    Edit: Ive got the words 'carpal tunnel syndrome' in my head in association with this but it could totally not be this at all. Read up on it and see if it applies.
  3. NeverBurgundy

    NeverBurgundy Guest

    Dec 14, 2007
    Hey thanks for the reply Aaiieeee.

    Your answer makes me think I should clarify my problem a bit.
    As far as muscle strength, I've been playing guitar since I was a little kid, so if that matters at all, there it is. I have noticed that playing bass is more demanding strength wise, but I'm relatively strong in the arms and hands, so it may be less of a problem for me than for others.

    What made me finally register and post the question is that today after practicing I noticed a large linear blood blister at the end of my middle finger, which I only pop with after the index finger hurts too much to use.

    It makes me think strings, instrument or technique, but I long ago learned that the tips and tricks of the guitar trade don't always apply to bass. These two animals are more different than I used to think, for sure.

    It could also be a matter of needing to suck it up and play through the pain, which I'm willing to do if need be, but I figured I would ask some folks who knew the deal before I made any hardcore decisions.

  4. Aaiieeee


    Dec 14, 2007
    Ive only ever played bass and havnt done that much slap/pop so cant say for sure but it sounds like the pain your getting isnt normal, Id be careful about how you proceed. I dont think just plowing on through the pain is a good idea BUT wait to see what others say first because it could be normal (though Ive never gotten any pain when slapping).
  5. Khaled

    Khaled Guest

    Aug 26, 2007
    here is my experiene..
    i study in pharmacy school, long boring labs dealing with smelly compounds and usually corrosive stuff.

    i practice like 2 hrs a day minimum, in the first months of slapping i got my index finger opened, then i got my middle finger opened because i started popping with it.. I dont have the skin of a worm, but i practice too much..

    so one day, while at college lab, i spill some acetic acid over that wound, and it was really a unique experience of pain :D

    anyway, i learned to practice less, avoid long jam sessions before practical labs or exams..

    otherwise, after a while you develop a layer of dead skin on your fingers that protects you..

    cheers :D
  6. Marcury

    Marcury High and Low

    Aug 19, 2007
    Mid Hudson Valley, NY
    It sound to me like you are putting too much force into your slap and pop. I get blood Blisters when I play too hard. Try to lighten your attack
  7. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    I would also say back off on the slap and pop and do more fingerstyle. Both Stanley and Les would have been accomplished fingerstyle players *before* they got into slap.

    Being exclusively a slap player will extremely limit what and where you can play.