left wrist sore

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by crikker, Jan 14, 2005.

  1. crikker

    crikker Yooper From Way Back Supporting Member

    Sep 25, 2004
    I have small hands I guess. When I play, I notice my left hand is bent at a pretty wicked angle. I tried to change the position of the bass and I'm working on keeping my wrist as straight as possible. Can anyone pass on any other hints? I did a search and got some good tips too.
  2. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    Try playing higher up or with the neck more of an angle off the horizontal (or a combination of the two). No matter what you do, your wrist is going to be bent though, just try to find something that's the most comfortable for yourself. Wish I could help ya more, but there's others on here who surely will give their wonderful input :).

  3. CJK84


    Jan 22, 2004
    Maria Stein, OH
    Avoid having bass hang too low.

    Angle the bass so headstock is higher than bridge. About 20-25 degrees from horizontal works for me - I've seen many with greater angles.

    Maybe extend the elbow of your fretting hand away from your torso when playing near the nut. I've seen upright players do this and I do it on my eb and it seems to help a bit.

    Consider trying to pull the head of the bass backward a little - toward the wall behind you.

    As B_H_B already stated, you will always have a little bit of an angle at the wrist, but it's best to minimize it.

    Play as relaxed as you can. Concentrate on removing tension - not only from your hands, but your arms and shoulders as well.

    Good luck.
  4. Dude, you should get it checked out...
    Alot of muso's get carpel tunnel syndrome, which is really bad, and damages your tendons in your wrists severly, and will if it gets too bad, prevent you from being able to use your hand at all...
    The best way to avoid this is to make sure you're not applying unneeded pressure to the string to get the tone...
    Try practicing without resting your wrist on the back of the neck... find just enough pressure you need to apply with your fingers, and then put your wrist back where it was... relaxed...
    Same goes for pain in your plucking hand...
    Ever noticed how great bass players, and musicians in general are relaxed... try it... you'll play alot better, I bet ya. :)
  5. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    Yup. This is very, very bad.

    This is good.

    Bass at around bass buckle height. Headstock at around shoulder height. Thumb at back of neck.

    Warm up before playing.
  6. SirPoonga


    Jan 18, 2005
    I've been having a simular problem. I did find out it does depend on how the bass naturally sits. I've been uncomfortable with my pbass lately. I got to try a Carvin and it naturally positioned itself more comfortable for me. I figured it was, not sure if there is a correct term, the "arm" that the left left strap nut is on. On the pbass it is shorter than on the carvin I tried. So the Carvin sat differently on me. I liked it much better and it felt mro comfortable. I think to solve the problem on my pbass is to get that bass brace product. I think then i could position the bass in a more comfortable position.
  7. crikker

    crikker Yooper From Way Back Supporting Member

    Sep 25, 2004
    OK, get this. I was reading about how bass players hold their bass when they play sitting down. I usually hold mine with the cutout over my right leg but some others said they hold theirs with the body between their legs. I was trying that since it seemed to make sense to get a higher angle and for some reason that's why my wrist was hurting. I went back to "normal" last night with no pain and then again tonight with no pain. Thanks for all the input here. I hope some of us got some help.
  8. crikker

    crikker Yooper From Way Back Supporting Member

    Sep 25, 2004
    Let's see if the pic works. I'm still bothered by wrist pain. I tried to load a pic but the quality stinks. If it does work, it's what my wrist does for me to stretch 4 frets. I stopped playing for 3 days and tried again tonight and it started again. I'm pretty bummed right now. If anyone has any ideas, I'll take them. Thanks.

    Attached Files:

  9. jgbass

    jgbass Guest

    Dec 17, 2003
    Judging by your picture, looks like you got your thumb in a good position. While you are trying to keep your wrist straight, are you being real rigid about this and causing tension to your hand? Try pivoting a little to relax some -- not twisting but more a motion from the whole hand, some of the lower arm. Works for both BG and upright.

    Also, what kind of bass are you playing? That looks like a fairly wide neck. Is it a bass that you think is balanced? Some basses are top heavy in the nut area or body and don't balance well. I have smaller hands and I play on a smaller, but not a pencil thin neck. Some basses I tried I just could not play due to their larger neck size. And, finally, get it checked out! You just do not want to have carpal tunnel pain, if that's what it is. Would help to at least find out what the problem is.
  10. when i play sitting down i play with the body between my legs. 1.) it looks cool 2.) i like the headstock being up higher.

    Definitely warm up before you start playing. strech your wrists and hands well, that way you're more relaxed once you start playing. it should be just as smooth and easy as walking.
  11. DemoEtc


    Aug 18, 2004
    The left shoulder might very well be raised.
  12. JonTheBassGuy


    Dec 12, 2004
    My wrist is also bent like that. I havent had any problems. Wrist was sore when I first started playing but now im fine. ;)
  13. crikker

    crikker Yooper From Way Back Supporting Member

    Sep 25, 2004
    I've been trying to take it easy but here's some more info I've noticed. I can duplicate the pain if I do this-reach out my left hand and grab a door handle and turn it. The pain is on the outside of the wrist. Also, if I lay my hand flat and twist it to the right or left, the pain is along the bone/tendon (?) on the outside of my wrist/arm. I've been trying to play as relaxed as possible but when I run into something that's intense, I notice I really dig into the strings. I'n not to comfortable keeping on playing like this only because of the chance of further injury. I quit playing for a week and have only been playing 15-25 minutes a night now and it's still going on.
  14. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass ****

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    It's tough to tell from the pic, but in my opinion:
    ...your angle looks good, the bass could be higher(strap shorter)..
    ...try to get your elbow out some more, this will seem harder with the bass that low, but if you hike it up a bit it will seem more natural. Fretting with your wrist bent puts more strain on tendons, elbow-out=less bent wrist..
    ...Looks like a "fender style" bass, but it is tough to tell..many basses in this style are headstock heavy. It is VERY important to have a GOOD STRAP!! I like the fat neoprene ones, but a well made leather strap can work well too. A quality, well fit strap distribute the weight more evenly across your torso and help everything relax. You should be able to take your fretting hand off the bass and nothing should move.
    ...It was said before and it is very important..relax the left hand. It's only job is to fret the note, not hold the neck.. It you have small hands low action and tension can be important.
    I really hope this helps, don't give up..adapt and overcome!!
  15. Dincrest


    Sep 27, 2004
    New Jersey
    However, if you wear the bass up *too* high, then your plucking hand's wrist will be bent at an awkward angle when doing fingerstyle.

    It's hard to compromise with some basses, eh? I mean, my right hand likes it low so its wrist doesn't bend at a steep angle, yet my left hand likes it high so its wrist doesn't bend at a steep angle.

    You could try putting your rear (by bridge) strap button a tad higher (like the way they are on Spector basses http://www.spectorbass.com/images/basses/5XLBUCKEYECOMPOSITEWEB_LRG.jpg) so the bass naturally sits with the neck at an angle. Or you can try moving your top horn strap button to around where the neck joint is like this guy did with his Thunderbird: http://www.lysator.liu.se/~wizkid/music/thunderbird_mod/

    If the neck is at a steeper angle, you have to bend your left wrist less.
  16. yeh when i'm not playing slap, i hold my bass with the headstock sort of level with my neck.
  17. nastyn8c


    Feb 7, 2005
    Tampa, FL
    Tighten your strap so that your bass is hanging higher. I found this was true for me. Even though I have hands that are more than 11" from thumb to pinky (thank you Jesus :) ), I was having these killer pains in my left wrist. I tried playing with my bass hung higher, and that totally did the trick.
  18. spc


    Apr 10, 2004
    South of Boston
    I realize quite a few people here will disagree with me, but have you tried hanging the thumb of your left hand over the neck? You probably can't do it in all positions, but maybe in the lower ones? It may take out some of the severe angle...
  19. crikker

    crikker Yooper From Way Back Supporting Member

    Sep 25, 2004
    Thanks for the replies folks. Some very good ideas that I'm more than willing to try but for now I'm going to lay off for a couple days and let it rest. It's tearing me up not playing but I'm taking the advice of letting it heal now or pay for it later. My wife is getting a cast off of her hand/arm tomorrow so I'm going to try to pimp the doc or nurse for some ideas. If I don't get anything, I'll go the general doc and then specialist route. I don't want to quit yet and I'm willing to give it some time and try to figure it out. Keep the ideas coming and thanks again.
  20. AmplifyYourBass


    Dec 7, 2003
    Here's a tip:

    Man up and quit whining. :bassist:

    Just kidding. I actually had the same problem a long time ago. Got pretty bad/annoying. I don't remember how I fixed it. I guess I just straightened out my wrist whenever I noticed it was getting sore and that did it after a while.