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Left Hand Technique: result PAIN

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by doubleheader, Sep 10, 2008.

  1. doubleheader


    Sep 10, 2008

    For the last few days (weeks) my left knuckle started to hurt. I noticed that the pain starts because my hand is in really weird angle when i play on the E string (I think and hope that is the reason). Could the problem be that the neck of my bass is too wide??
  2. Rune Bivrin

    Rune Bivrin Supporting Member

    Oct 2, 2006
    Huddinge, Sweden
    Probably not the neck width, unless you're playing on an 11-string or something similarly unusual. It's almost always an issue of poor technique. Pictures of the "weird angle" would help.

    Standard advice is: Raise the bass to get the neck in a better position.
  3. doubleheader


    Sep 10, 2008
    I tried to raise it, lower it, change the angle.. The problem occurs when i play with my pinkie on E string.. After playing the same line for a while (for example the song lasts 6-7 min and I play reggae, so my hand needs to be in the same position for a while) i start go get cramps...
  4. While there's a thread on fretting hand pain, thought I'd get a diagnosis as well :D

    When I play chords that require me to spread out my fingers quite a bit, I sometimes get sharp pain in the middle of my palm, where the muscle is. Incorrect technique or do I just have to build up the muscle?
  5. I currently have a few tunes in my song-list that require me to constantly bounce back and forth between index and pinkie on the E that can cramp me up too. Yet the more often I play them, the easier it gets.

    If it's just cramps in pinkie side of your palm, it's likely you're just fretting too hard or a lack of pinkie strength.
  6. Grinky


    Oct 16, 2007
    Your left hand shape should never deviate too much from the basic shape as when your hand is in a relaxed position with the 4 finger fret position, i.e. one finger per fret. Also, don't pivot your left arm up and down the neck from your elbow, but rather, from the shoulder. It'll help keep your wrist in a more or less sane angle.

    If you're already doing all that, then maybe you're not giving your hand enough time to rest, esp if you're not used to practising for long hours at a time.
  7. lexxmexx


    Apr 7, 2008
    I also get pains at the fleshy part of my left palm below my thumb. Does anyone else have this problem too?
  8. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    You should never have pain at all when you play. If you do, you need to investigate your technique, and by that, I don't mean asking people on Talkbass. Find a teacher who knows proper technique and have him/her straighten you out.
  9. iceshaft07


    Mar 4, 2007
    You may be putting too much pressure on the back of the neck with your thumb. Alternatively, (and you may not realize this) you may actually be supporting the bass with the side of your hand, which is bad.
  10. wade_b


    Jul 8, 2008
    JimmyM gives the best advice....

    But I can say that when I've had this problem (on guitar - I've never experienced this on bass), it's been because of too much clamping pressure from my thumb on the back of the neck, and too steep of a wrist angle to go with it (think Randy Rhoads' classically influenced left hand style).

    One exercise I like to do (on bass) which reduces the need to "clamp" the neck with the thumb, is to play the spider exercise (or any 1 finger per fret pattern really) with my thumb not touching the back of the neck at all.

    This makes your finger muscles do all of the work, like they should.

    I can't remember where I got that from, but it was from a pro-level musician in some magazine...
  11. lexxmexx


    Apr 7, 2008

    Thanks, I have heard of this exercise before but I am curious about how is it possible to fret the notes without using the thumb to support the neck to prevent it from moving?
  12. Seriously though, doesn't he! :smug: <3 JimmyM :p
  13. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Oh, you guys! :oops: :D

    Thanks...I don't always hit 'em out of the park, but I know a thing or two ;)
  14. vince a

    vince a

    Jun 13, 2006
    Modesto, CA
    I sometimes get some soreness or pain in the palm of my hand just below the thumb.

    I notice this soreness the most after I play 4-string basses with very small/thin necks, like an Ibanez, or even my 4-string Fender Am/Se Jazz bass . . . though it doesn't happen when playing my P bass.

    Hm-m-m-m . . .???

    I never, ever get soreness there after playing a wider-necked 5-string. Seems to me that with a large hand and long fingers . . . a small neck is a no-no, as my left hand technique is more correct (relaxed) with the wider-necked 5-string.

    I just had a 4-hour practice using a Modulus 5-string, and there is no soreness in my left hand. If I had used my 4-string for those 4 hours, my left hand would definitely be sore right now!

    Worth investigating????????
  15. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Absolutely. See if you can figure out what it is about the wider necks that makes them more comfortable for you. And try to figure out where you're going wrong with the smaller necks. Compare and contrast. There's got to be a reason for it. Maybe you need to make a small adjustment.
  16. gregh


    Sep 15, 2008
    whilst I think seeing a teacher is the best thing, here is a technique I used when I played classical guitar - many hours a day for many years.

    Close your eyes. Press the note down, play and release. Now concentrate on the left hand and relax it. Feel all the tension in the hand right to the finger tips and try and relax. Think about your arm and shoulder - relax it as much as possible. Repeat. Then repeat with a two note pattern and so on. Sounds simple but is very effective for reducing muscle tension. Same exercise applies to the right hand.

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