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Hypermobility syndrome

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by BullHorn, Mar 27, 2009.

  1. BullHorn


    Nov 23, 2006
    I'm not sure this is the right section for this issue, but I'll give it a shot here.

    I have hypermobility. It hasn't really bothered me at all up untill a couple of years ago, when I began having joint pains in many parts of my body (Which I got used to :( ).

    Now, I'm posting this here because I feel that this affects my bass playing. Both my hands do this:


    This really bothers my fretting hand, which lays on the back of the neck in a weird position, making it harder to have a wide stretch for the 1-finger-per-fret technique and after a while of playing some riffs, there are pains in many muscles in my palm.

    Are there any other people with this problem who somehow managed to get around it? I try to play with the thumb straight on the back of the neck, instead of bent that way, but it does not feel natural.:bawl:
  2. dave_p


    Dec 20, 2005
    i have the same thing but next joint down,near the palm.
    make minor adjustments to eliminate pain, and just work with it. i just stop, and think about django reinhardt. if that dude can play the way he does, i have nothing to bitch about.
  3. Hazybass


    Dec 28, 2007
    Both mine do the same, as does my original Bass teacher's....never posed a problem that I can think of.. I have tried to straighten the thumb as others have commented on it, but with no success.. Have had minimal issues with one finger per fret, but I do have large hands..

    Not that any of this info helps...but you are not alone! haha
  4. BullHorn


    Nov 23, 2006
    Any more opinions? :<
  5. nsmar4211


    Nov 11, 2007
    I had to go pick up my bass to see how I play LOL

    I've also got the hitchhiker thumb, does makes thumping easier :). My left hand pivots off the fleshy part of my thumb (side opposite the nail), which keeps my joint straighter. If I pivot off the joint, the thumb is in the bent position and gets tired/sore fast. Try keeping your hand in more of a "c" position and see if that helps. I always envied how my teachers hands are so flat and it never even looks like he's fretting anything, but my hands just aren't comfortable like that.
    I do find that I keep my thumb anchored towards the top edge of the neck (closest to my head) versus in the middle of the neck, which also helps with the angle. I play a 5 string and can still reach all the strings from there (and I don't have big hands). The only times I have trouble with the one finger per fret are when I'm low on the neck where the fret spacing is, my third finger won't reach. I cheat and use my pinky because it's in the right place without stretching my hand. Use whatever's comfortable for you!

    My dad has gout pretty bad and found out that what he eats affects how his joints feel-you may want to examine your diet. He avoids processed meats, anything with msg, anything malted (including beer and wine), pickles, sausages, anything high in acid (tomato products, vinegar, etc), keeps salt low, etc. It keeps his gout and arthritis from flaring up badly.

    I notice that if I eat anything containing any kind of artificial sweetner I have more trouble with my knees hurting/carpal tunnel flaring up (not to mention headaches and stomach issues). It seems *everything* has artifical sweetener-try finding a non sugarless gum! Even my toothpaste had it (switched to a "natural" one). Might be something to look into........
  6. Jaco Pastorius had thumbs like this, and he seemed to get around it OK.
  7. wow- thought mine was pretty bendy- you got me beat:


    i used to have problems with my left thumb getting really cold- though never numb- due to circulation and the angle and soforth. that was ten years ago- so- at some point i grew into it i guess. i find it to be quite helpful in fretting- as its more vicelike. not trying to brag or anything- but i can get around the fretboard very quick- so- its not the kind of thing thats going to put a ceiling on your playing. as long as its muscle soreness- and not joint or nerve pain- keep it up- get stronger- wont be an issue anymore.
  8. BullHorn


    Nov 23, 2006
    Thing is i've been playing for over 2 years and it only started bothering me recently. :/
  9. electroken


    Sep 2, 2008
    Shelton, CT
    That's not normal?

    I guess I'm weird in so many other ways that nobody noticed...

    Seriously though, when my thumb gets pissed off from bending it that far, I make a conscious effort not to bend it that far.
  10. powerbass

    powerbass Supporting Member

    Nov 2, 2006
    western MA
    with hypermobility issues muscle have to work harder to keep joints in their neutral range. Hand strengthening exercises can be helpful since they can increase muscle endurance and, if done diligently, they can "stiffen" up the hypermobile joints. Good technique means keeping the fingers from hyperextending while you practice/play.
  11. My thumbs bend back like this as well. According to a former high school science teacher of mine it's commonly known as hitchhiker's thumb. It is a genetic trait. Mine really hasn't had any effect on my playing that I have noticed. The only thing with my thumbs is that they pop a lot when I bend them forward. I will have to start paying more attention to my thumb position when I play!

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