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I want to play but my fingers are screwed

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by C//LiMBa, Aug 25, 2002.

  1. after i'm playing for an hour or more, my index and middle finger (the fingers with wich i play) are starting to feel painly, this sucks because i really want to play but i cant because of my stupid fingers!!! i've tryed to play softer but then i dont get the sound i want... does anyone knows a solution for this to slow down the pain (or let it dissapear completely)


  2. Zirc


    May 13, 2001
    Los Angeles
    Get a gripmaster, and keep doing it until it hurts, then stop. Just like workin out.
  3. i dont mean that the muscles of my fingers get tired, but the tip of my fingers, sorry, i didn't mentioned that!
  4. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Absolutely horrible advice! You don't need any more strength than you had when you were about 10 years old to play the bass. All you need is agility, which comes with practice.
  5. notduane


    Nov 24, 2000
    Could it be your callouses aren't built up yet?

    What kinda' strings are you using?
  6. what are callouses (i'm from belgium)

    for the moment the standard strings that come with ibanez basses (i've got a EDA900 [silver:)] )
  7. Kruser


    Aug 13, 2001
    In my opinion you just need take the pain for a while, until you got enough horny skin.
    At least for me it worked out.
    (But it sucks again after a long holiday in Spain, where i did swim the whole day and my finger getting smother day by day)

    you could play with a pick to get a clearer tone!
    (maybe just a few songs to disburden your fingers?)

    And if you use roundwound strings, try some flatwounds.......

    ps.: Don't know what callouses means (i'm from Germany[=idiot])
  8. notduane


    Nov 24, 2000
    No worries :D. Callouses are like a tough, hardened layer of outer skin.
    You may have some on the heel of your foot, for instance.

    With regular practice & playing, they will develop on your fingertips.
    Until they do, it can be kinda' painful (blisters).
    I'm not familiar with the stock Ibanez strings, but I'm guessing
    they are roundwounds. Maybe stainless steel? You could try a
    set of nickel-plated roundwounds (DR Sunbeams, for instance).
    Nickel is a bit easier on the fingers.

    The problem is, changing strings would have an affect on your tone.

    Sooo, it's either tough it out with your current strings until you do build
    some callouses, or try a set of nickel rounds or even...flatwounds? :eek::p.
  9. i'm a noobie when it comes to strings, can you tel me the difference between roundwounds and flatwounds?

    i had some collousels BEFORE i went on holiday, but all the water made them disappear :( i'll have to play untill they're back i guess.... when i have blisters what do i have to do? let them dry (i takes 2 or 3days) or put a hole in it so the liquid comes out (it turns into a hard layer of skin, but after a while in loosens and you have to pull it off)???

  10. Kruser


    Aug 13, 2001
    okay here's my try (correct me if i suck, please)
    the flatwound strings have a smooth and deep-mid sounding and the surface is slicky (like a baby-ass).
    the string are more tight and less flexible,I heard.
    Ideal for a fretless bass. [Maybe not your dream string]
    The roundwound is the standart string. It is more flexible and supports the building of ? (now we have a proble, I just don't know what the english translation for "Obertöne" is.) It could be those ominously "harmonics". short: they are the favorite choice of every bass player i know (3!), but their surface is rougher.
    that not all of course, but my english skills are limited. Hope that helps.

    With those blister........i open them and use some desinfectant which is very important!!! [My doctor does not like it, but my band does]
  11. If its your fingertips that are letting you down, there is an easy fix.

    Every day when you get up, and every night when you go to sleep, for a little while put your fingers on a fat string of your choice - E is the one for me - and drag them up and down, keeping a constant pressure on the fingertips.

    Make sure that the area which you are working on is a musically useful part of your fingertip. Vary the angle at which you press. Keep going until the area either goes soft, or gets sore, then work on a different area.

    Oh, and don't let anyone see you. Looks wierd. ;)
  12. Fliptrique


    Jul 22, 2002
    Szczecin, Poland
    Endorsing Artist: Mayones Guitars&Basses
    My guess, Is that you`re hittin` those stings to hard. I`ve been playing for over a year now, and never had problems with my left hand.
    My right hand fingertips are tough as stone, but left is quite ok...

    If you have .45-.105 strings, try lighter ones - I know quite a few people that can`t play them because of left hand problems.

    Or, you can always try the magical floating thumb technique (see the archive:) - it should make you focus on agility, not strenght.
  13. now i've got an urgent problem

    my middle finger hurts when i play, even after 5 minutes, i think he's still screwed from last night; and we've got a practice session this afternoon, i know i wont be able to play whole afternoon, even not when i play a couple of songs with pick...

    does anybody knows a quick solution, my skin at my middle finger is verry thin during al the bassing.
  14. Fliptrique


    Jul 22, 2002
    Szczecin, Poland
    Endorsing Artist: Mayones Guitars&Basses

    I think you should visit a doctor or something. These are YOUR hands. Don`t play for a few days, let them heal. I think they`re much more important than one or two gigs.
  15. unclejemima


    Aug 25, 2002
    just use some electrical tape. (it's the black kind). i slit my middle finger on my fretting hand a while ago and i couldn't play but then i put tape on it and i could. so it's worth a try.
  16. Nick Gann

    Nick Gann Talkbass' Tubist in Residence

    Mar 24, 2002
    Silver Spring, MD
    put a few layers of super glue on your fingertip. Instant callous. I do it if I know that I will be playing for a long time, and it works wonders.
  17. unclejemima


    Aug 25, 2002
    i wanna add that my tape theory also works on your thumb too. if your slapping and it starts to bleed. it only happens on the top part when coming up from a double thumb. it can hurt!
  18. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    My guess is that you are new to bass.

    It takes time to condition your hands to playing bass.

    In the beginnig your hands will hurt, but my advice is to leave the blisters there and keep playing. Dont pop them on purpose, and dont put anything in them. Just be sure to wash your hands after playing and be carefull not to get and open cuts dirty.

    After time your hands will grow a thicker layer of skin over the fingertips and you wont feel any more pain.

    It takes time, but the fact that we put up with the pain for the musics sake is one more difference between us and guitarists.

  19. I second the idea of tape as a temporary measure. I've used it if I've gigged a lot and start to feel the pain. Any will do...as long as it stays in place. You lose a bit of feel, but at least you can carry on. If possible give your fingertips a rest though and play lightly until you get that hardened skin you need.... then keep away from your girlfriends stockings!! :D

    Lighter gauge strings would definitely help and yes try nickel ones.

    For the record Kruser, I think the english word is overtones for Obertones (can't seem to find an umlaut here!). I failed German. Like many europeans, you make a better job of speaking english than we do of any other language!
  20. The tape/superglue idea is a possibility. Unfortuantly it will change your tone.

    This has happened to me a few times (when I first started, when I take vacations...) and it always results in me getting MEAN blisters. The first time I got them I popped them and drained them, than continued playing. Pretty sick if I must say so myself. I developed some NEATO hard skin outta it.

    Your best bet, and I say this out of no "disrespect" is to merely suck it up. It sucks but, cause I hate sucking things up, but just try and handle the pain. Eventually you'll get used to it. Don't pop the blisters, its not very safe.

    I went through a gig with excruciating pain like that, sucked alot, and it was a 2 hour jazz gig. But it payed off in the end, and I got the right to tell that cool story. Suck it up, and some day you can tell a cool story like that ;)

    However, if this continues even after alot of playing (which it shouldn't) I do recommend you asking a doctor/friend in the medical know if there is anything you can do.

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