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I'm seriously thinking of giving up bass...

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Fassa Albrecht, Mar 7, 2008.

  1. Not because of anything to do with playing or my feelings for bass but my wrists.

    Even as i type this shooting pain is making its way up my arm and I cannot even close my left hand. This is a problem which seems to be getting worse despite my best attempts to do anything about it.

    RSI is ruining my life...

    PLease, some advice/info/TBer to tell me I'm making a mistake.
  2. Leave the bass alone for a while.

    Are you sure its playing bass thats causing problems? For instance, if you sit and work alot at a computer, the damage could be being done there, but its only when you are moving your wrists to play bass that it is hurting.

    Either way, give bass a rest for a while. Let your wrists heal up. Then go and get 1 or 2 lessons, just to make sure your form is ok (as much as we all like to think how we play is fine, having someone elses input is invaluable).

    If the problem persists, it might be worth getting it checked out by a physiotherapist, see if there is anything internal causing the problems.

    I see your a lefty, so I presume its your plucking hand thats giving you the problems? Usually quite a few different ways to play the strings, could always try firing some ashtrays on your bass and playing it while having your hand anchored on it?
  3. Hawaii Islander

    Hawaii Islander Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2007
    Rio Rico, AZ
    I used to get a searing pain in my left wrist. It was a burning type of pain that would also thob when it got real bad. I had trouble just turning the steering wheel in my car when it was that bad.

    I used to play my bass sitting down alot, so I never used a strap. This, I found out is what caused the strain on my left wrist. I was using my left hand too much trying to hold the neck up while playing.

    I now use a guitar strap set to a comfortable length to allow me to play while sitting down without using my left hand to "hold" the neck. As a result, I can play faster and more accurately, without pain. I don't have any pain in my left wrist anymore.

    I don't know if this info helps. I hope its does though.

  4. I don't actually play in performances leftie because my Shergold is rightie and I don't have a LH bass yet...:bawl: I actually think the problem is CAUSED by my not having a LH bass.

    Computers- i don't really have much use for them besides email and Talkbass/Ultimate Guitar/worship band stuff. I study Latin so I don't NEED to use comps at uni.

    As for taking a break from bass, I can't because I've already agreed to play at worship band and have been rota'ed for several months, with no back-up bassist.
  5. +1

    Just so many variables to take into account.

    Could very well be that you need to go out and try a leftie bass! Pop into sound control or whatnot, see if they have one? Try it to see if you still get problems?
    You can often pick up lefties cheap due to the lower demand (friend of mine got a leftie p-bass copy for ~£20 off ebay)

    The computers part was just an example, quite an array of things out there that can cause RSI's.

    Have you signed any formal contract? Im sure they wouldnt have a problem if they know its causing you pain.
  6. Just another thought. Whats the action like on your bass? If its high that could be causing the pains
  7. eedre


    Feb 26, 2007
    St. Louis,MO
    That's sad... don't quit :(

    What is RSI?

    Is it treatable through surgery?
  8. This video helped me immensely:

    I used to suffer terrible pains in my right wrists, right arm, right shoulder and left shoulder, it seriously affected my playing, my ability to practice AND my desire to continue.

    Turned out I was way too rough on the bass and I had poor technique. Both my wrists were all bent up at the wrong angles. My thumb rooted too hard to the pickup so I was always pressing down on it the whole time.

    I wore my bass so low it hung off my body so my left shoulder took all the weight of the bass, it was basically hanging free and I was using my right thumb, rooted to the pickup, to jam it against my body. Then to resolve that, I hung it too high to compensate and ended up in more pain because I cramped my right arm up too much.

    Plus my action was too high and my attack way too strong for what I needed. Everything I played was basically forced out and it took a toll on my body very quickly.

    Nowadays, since improving my technique (and it ain't perfect), I only get slight niggling pains and it's usually a sore left shoulder from hours of playing on end, or finger fatigue.

    Keep finding ways to improve your technique and ease the toll on your body, and go see a doctor to make sure you don't have any problems in that regard.

    Good luck!
  9. Illbay


    Jan 15, 2008
    Houston, Texas
    Unfortunately yours is a story that is not uncommon. The first bassist of note I ever remember having to cease playing was Rick Kemp of the British Electric Folk band "Steeleye Span," back in the early 1980s. I think it was twenty years before surgery and technology allowed him to resume playing in a limited capacity.
  10. peterbright


    Jan 23, 2007
    On The Bayou
    Had surgery on both wrists in 2007...wow what a difference. Pain is completley gone! Almost zero rehab time. Was playing bass days after surgery.
  11. Well it's looking increasingly likely I'll be having the same done myself....:bawl:
  12. Definately try the bass adjustments mentioned above, hopefully thats most of the problem, but before trying surgery definately try to exhaust all other options.
    Something that has helped me immensely was first wearing the supportive wrist bands at night, and sometimes during the day when needed. Also, start a good stretching routine, not just for your wrists and arms, but also the shoulder and pectoral areas. Often, tightness in the chest can lead to problems with the arms as blood flow becomes restricted or retarded due to the tightness. A lot of cases of carpal tunnel(sp?) or other wrist/arm injuries can be treated simply with massage and stretching.
  13. Discount Saint

    Discount Saint Bassist for the music in my head Supporting Member

    Jan 26, 2007
    Victoria, BC, Canada
    Go get some acupuncture in your wrists - you'd be surprised how much it can help alleviate any number of issues. Seriously, my wife had an unstable / dislocated shoulder for about 3 years that caused her pain everytime she moved her arm, and after a few months of Acupuncture it has been fine now for probably 3 years. A Chiropractor may be able to help if it is joint-related as well.
  14. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Song Surgeon slow downer. https://tinyurl.com/y5dcuqjg
    You might think about getting a massage and let them try to work out the problem, if it's not shown that anything else is the source.

    You're putting stress on a regular basis on your muscles/tendons.

    There's no magic to this stuff.

    Looking into getting it fixed or it may become permanent.

    Good luck.
  15. rosanne


    Sep 30, 2004
    SF Bay Area
    I had a lot of trouble with my wrists and also my thumbs for a while. I got molded wrist braces (they are quite small and they mold them to your wrist so that there is an exact fit). This really helped and after a while I had no more pain. I had to wear them daily for a number of months but it fixed the problem.
  16. Kevinmach


    Dec 7, 2008
    I am not going to give specific advice as to your problem, but I can tell you as a competitive athlete, almost all of my injuries have been reduced or eliminated through a combination of stretching, changing the mechanics of how you're doing something, or just taking a break for a while (or at least taking it easy).

    Add to that, when it comes to the skeletal and muscular system specifically, I swear the ratio of success of stories I've heard with a wide of variety of surgeries has got to be like 5 to 1. That is, for everyone story I hear about someone having been completely cured by a surgery, I hear 5 others that report little or no improvement.

    I'm no Doctor and I don't know your specific circumstances, this is just general advice. But I have seen a lot of bad or just plain worthless medical advice given over the years, so I would exhaust EVERY possibility before wasting my time with surgery. No offense to people in the medical profession or those who've had opposite experience, but I've seen many a prognosis and surgical treatments just bear no fruit at all when it comes to dealing with these types of injuries.

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