Little finger begins hurting after playing a riff for a bit

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by 458rings, Sep 9, 2018.

  1. 458rings

    458rings Guest

    Nov 15, 2016

    So, I recently started watching a show called Trigun, and the opening song has a nice bass riff that I wanted to try. I figured out the main riff and began practicing it at a slow tempo, at first. Then, I slowly sped it up to the tempo of the song. As far as I know, this is a good way to practice something new and fast.

    The problem is, after playing that riff at a fast tempo for a bit, my little finger (and some other parts like my wrist and thumb area) began hurting. I usually play the bass for a church that I go to, so I don't really "shred", or anything like that very often. I've also heard of this thing somewhere where if you don't use proper technique, hand placement, etc., you can really damage your hand.

    I'd like to know if I just don't practice enough with my little finger or if I'm doing something wrong.

    Thanks in advance!

    Oh, and also, this is my first time posting on here, so I don't know if I'm following local etiquette. ^^;
    Stumbo likes this.
  2. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    The first thing that springs to mind is..are you warming up sufficiently before you play ? If not, try doing some gentle stretches for a few minutes (search Youtube for "hand stretches for bass/guitar) before you even touch the bass.

    After that, it's down to technique. Are you over stretching on the lower (1-5 ) frets ? If so, use the thumb as a pivot to move the WHOLE HAND in order to place the fingers where they are required. The fact that your thumb and wrist hurt suggests that you are pressing down too hard when you fret, and your wrist is bent. To avoid potential injury problems, it is best to keep BOTH wrists as straight as possible and the hands as relaxed as possible.

    The other possible contributing factor to your problem could be simply a matter of stamina..i.e. your hand and fingers have not yet built up enough stamina to sustain fast complex riffs over a long period. In this case, build up the fast playing time gradually.

    Here are some clips that are worth checking out. Best of luck...and hope this helps. :)

    Last edited: Sep 9, 2018
    mbelue, 458rings and Lobster11 like this.
  3. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    This clearly suggests that the problem isn't just fatigue/lack of stamina but rather a more general (and potentially more dangerous) problem with your left-hand technique, most likely involving your thumb and wrist positions. Definitely check out the videos that @fearceol posted. The first (Adam Neely) one in particular is frequently posted around here, and has probably saved hundreds of players from repetitive stress injuries!
    fearceol and mbelue like this.
  4. Mushroo

    Mushroo Guest

    Apr 2, 2007
    Amplified electric bass is one of the physically easiest to play of any instrument. The amount of force you use to fret a note should be about the same as it takes to press a key on your computer keyboard, no more. Try turning up your amp and playing with a lighter touch.

    If you want more specific advice and pointers, post a "hand selfie" of yourself playing the Trigun riff.
    Lobster11 likes this.
  5. David Sutkin

    David Sutkin “Bass Upfront” Founder Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Apr 20, 2017
    Brooklyn, NY
    I thought this thread was going to be about Little Finger

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  6. 458rings

    458rings Guest

    Nov 15, 2016
    Thanks guys! I'll try to act on the videos that were shared. ^^
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  7. mbelue


    Dec 11, 2010
    I really hate that man.