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index finger troubles

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by mariissalw, Nov 1, 2013.

  1. mariissalw


    Nov 1, 2013
    Hey you all,
    I've been having some trouble with my index finger lately...to the point where I have to stop playing (upright). I play a lot every day and my finger started curving to the side from pulling the strings all the time. At first it was fine..but now I have this really weird pressure kind of pain in my second joint whenever I try to play. I can't play as much now and I don't really know how to fix this. Help please?
  2. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    More information please. How long have you been playing upright, do you have a teacher, what do you mean by "curving to the side" (post pictures), where in the second joint is the pain (sides, top to bottom, is it swollen, aches all the time or only when under pressure etc), have you seen a doctor, etc.
    It's going to be almost impossible to assess your physical approach without either being in the same room or seeing some good video of you playing, my recommendation would be to either speak with your teacher or (since you don't list one in your profile) FIND a more experienced player that can be in teh same room with you.
  3. mariissalw


    Nov 1, 2013
    I've been playing upright for a little over a year now. I have a teacher but he doesn't really know why this is happening. Also I don't know how to add picture because I just made this account on here :/
    Basically my index finger is pushing into my middle finger a bit more. It hurts the most in the second joint closest to my middle finger..in the side. It only happens when I play for about 5-10 minutes.
  4. Violen

    Violen Instructor in the Vance/Rabbath Method Banned

    Apr 19, 2004
    Kansas City Metro Area
    Endorsing Artist: Conklin Guitars (Basses)
    Can you make a video and upload it to youtube?
  5. Robus


    Aug 25, 2013
    Chicago Area
    Been lucky so far on bass. A few months ago I was play a LOT of guitar, five or six hours a day learning some new songs. Started to get numbness and tingling in the fingers of my left hand that wasn't going away. It scared me as clearly it was nerve damage. I had to scale back the practice time and switch to a lighter string gauge. I've been playing bass and very little guitar for the past couple of months and the problem has gone away. But in the back of my mind I'm concerned that it will reappear when I get back to playing more guitar, as will happen sooner or later.

    Repetitive motion injuries can be a big deal and only get worse if ignored.
  6. How are you griping the neck?
  7. sowilson


    Jul 5, 2013
    Find yourself a hand surgeon that has familiarity with musicians. No one on the internet is going to be able to properly diagnose your medical problem.
  8. Tom Lane

    Tom Lane Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    I don't think I agree with this advice because surgery, IMO, should be a last resort. That's because the outcome of surgery is not very predictable and too often less than ideal. Consulting a surgeon might not be a bad idea but I would recommend getting 2 additional opinions before submitting to surgery.
    Certainly, it's true that no one on the internet will be able to properly diagnose the OP's issue, although someone might be able to point him in the right direction.
    I'd recommend that the OP consult a physical therapist before he goes to a surgeon. Stretches and exercises might be able to relieve the problem and I think it'd be wise to give them a good effort before opting for surgery. Too many surgeon's are too eager to slice first and ask questions later.
  9. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    It could be from overuse and too much practicing for someone who has just started and needs more physical hand strength to continue on a regular basis.

    I would dare say that it's possible that some people aren't built for playing bass or guitar even. There's always going to be someone out there who is the exception and has physical difficulty at doing any given activity.

    If that were my case I prob wouldn't stop trying to play music - I'd just move on to another instrument that suited me better. If you have to resort to surgery and you've just started, I would say to hell with it and play something else. It simply isn't worth it when you're not devoting your life to bass.
  10. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    KC Strings
    Adjust your setup, strings and approach to make it easier to play the bass. I've had problems with the first knuckle on my index finger on my pizz hand and problems with my other hand as well. My bass is setup about as well as it can be but I am learning to not work too hard to get a good sound. Pulling too hard doesn't necessarily get a better sound. Learn to pull just enough to get a nice tone without killing it. Remember to stay relaxed. Take this seriously if you want to continue playing.
  11. Marissa,

    My index finger has curved inward at least as long as I have played first electric, then upright bass. This has also created bumps at the first joint of the index finger, and now another bump at the first joint at my middle finger.

    You may have the beginnings of Heberden's nodes. Plenty of info on the internet. They are more common in women and tend to have a genetic component. Also trauma to the fingers can get them started. May be related to a form of arthritis.

    I only have them on my left fingering hand. They started to develop after a lot of practicing, and also endless practicing of a shifting technique I thought was detrimental to the problem: a lot of 1-1-2-4 movement that my teacher of the time insisted on. I do not go to that teacher anymore.

    With me, nothing is painful, but I am careful not to overplay, and there is not much at all that can be done. I have it in the back of mind, though, that I should think of other instruments.

    I also use Spiro Weich's and have the action on the neck as low as possible. I have taken a break from a lot of practicing, but seems to have no effect to them, middle one is still growing, so now my next challenge is to really look at technique for the left hand that will be as easy as possible on the fingers.

    The thing is that this starts with ongoing swelling, and then the bony bumps occur. There's a Wikipedia article you can google that shows photos of them, and info in readily available other places.
  12. Have you thought about seeing s Dr instead of seeking answers on the net. Only an Cray can tell whats going on
  13. Cray = xray

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