Left wrist pain! Help!

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by Krikcet, Nov 13, 2017.

  1. Krikcet


    Jun 1, 2016
    Auburn, NY
    Hi guys! I wasn't sure where to post this, so I chose miscellaneous. I've been playing double bass for about 5 months, and I'm currently attending school as a DB major. I started having wrist pain when my bass teacher suggested suggested that I adjust my posture to be a bit more to the side of the bass, with my knee sort of on the lower bout, and with the endpin a bit lower than where I'd had it. My previous stance was slightly behind the bass, with it leaning pretty far back and with the upper edge of the rib resting by my groin. (I guess I could take a picture or something if it would help).

    The pain is along the top of my wrist and into my thumb, and my fingers get a bit tingly. (I delivered mail for a few months prior to pursuing a career in music, so I'm well aware of the dangers of carpal tunnel and such). It got to the point that I had to cancel one rehearsal and wear a brace during an electric bass gig this past weekend.

    Sorry this is a bit long winded. I was hoping to get some advice and start a discussion about proper stance and left hand technique. Would playing sitting down help my situation by taking some weight off my thumb? I've only played standing up thus far.

    I really appreciate your help! I have 7 bands/ensembles active right now, 5 of which are with the double bass, so time is of the essence! Please feel free to ask any questions!
  2. Pedal2DaMeddle


    Apr 10, 2016
    How's your setup? If your bridge and nut aren't cut correctly to allow comfortable playing, then you're making more work for yourself. You should be able to wedge a business card under the nut and have the strings hold it in place.
  3. Pedal2DaMeddle


    Apr 10, 2016
    Also, are you squeezing your left hand at all? I find it works better if I use my fingers in conjunction with my shoulder blade (pulling back slightly to assist the fingers).
  4. salcott

    salcott Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2007
    NYC, Inwood.
    It sounds to me like you are in way over your head for someone with 5 months DB study. Sit down with your teacher and figure out how to lighten your load. One orchestra and one other ensemble, jazz or chamber music, would be all a responsible instructor would have you participating in at your early stage of development. IMHO, of course, but based on 45 years experience and a brand new carpal tunnel release scar on my left hand.
    John Chambliss and s van order like this.
  5. s van order

    s van order

    Oct 4, 2012
    Agreed. I took to DB too quickly, did well, but overcommitted to practise, rehearsals and gigs and 20 years later still have to watch it and do exercises to keep wrists and forearms balanced. Your symptoms are not going to magically disappear, as you may hope as I did, if the load is too much and ergonomics are not the best for your body. Be careful and good luck to you.
  6. Krikcet


    Jun 1, 2016
    Auburn, NY
    I will definitely admit I came hot out of the gate. I'll be cutting back on my ensembles next semester a bit. Part of the issue is that I only see my bass teacher for an hour once every two weeks, so when he suggests something like the posture change, I'm on my own for two weeks.

    I think I am squeezing a bit, but I think it's partially due to the bass leaning into my thumb. My bass is plywood, and the neck is a lot heavier than the body, so I can't seem to find a comfortable position that doesn't leave it resting on my thumb, at least a little. That's why I wondered if sitting down might help my issue at all, or maybe a bent endpin. I'll double check my setup and see if that could be a contributing factor as well.
  7. Pedal2DaMeddle


    Apr 10, 2016
    IME the weight ratio of neck to body doesn't really matter. Work on a way to let the bass lean into you and stay balanced without your left hand. Just practice standing with it.
  8. Krikcet


    Jun 1, 2016
    Auburn, NY
    I'll keep working on it. I made it through a few hours of practice and rehearsal today without any pain. I'm trying to consciously incorporate my larger arm/shoulder/back muscles instead of squeezing with my thumb.
  9. Pedal2DaMeddle


    Apr 10, 2016
    Great! The hardest part about learning another instrument is learning how not to hurt yourself with it.
  10. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    Lower your strings, make sure nut is cut at business card height, as little fingerboard scoop as possible and using lighter gauge/tension strings will all help if your symptoms are caused by overuse.
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