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Lost feeling in fingers tonight

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by JimiLL, Feb 11, 2018.

  1. Well this never happened before. Started playing fingerstyle at the gig tonight, and for the first time lost feeling in my two plucking fingers. During break the feeling started to come back, but then went away again when set was resumed.

    Like pins and needles, like your arm or leg falling asleep. Any ideas?
  2. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    That feeling usually is related to blood flow. How were you resting your arm on the bass? Maybe adjust strap/bass height?
    Reedt2000, Helix, cchorney and 7 others like this.
  3. I was playing a different bass tonight than usual, set up a little higher on the strap than usual too. Maybe my elbow was bent too much?
  4. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    Could be. Lower the strap or try the other bass. See what happens.
    saabfender likes this.
  5. Or blood flow being reduced where your arm meets the side of the bass??
    smogg, tlc1976, gebass6 and 1 other person like this.
  6. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    Next time try using the Floating Thumb technique and see if you still have the same problem.

    BuffaloBob4343 likes this.
  7. Not to be alarmist, but make sure to check with your doctor about numbness in the extremities. Especially in the left arm. Only happened once to me playing bass, but I had a cardiac event a week later.
  8. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    Could be caused a couple of things. You definitely want to see a doctor about that incident just to play it safe.
  9. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    When your arm or leg "falls asleep," the problem is with a nerve, not blood flow. I've never had two fingers "fall asleep," though, so maybe this is different.

    In any case, I would look at how much your wrist is bent, not your elbow -- especially since you mentioned wearing the bass high. Plucking (or fretting) with a severely bent wrist strains all kinds of things in the back of the hand and is probably the single most common source of bass-related injuries. It's almost impossible to keep a straight wrist while plucking when your bass is up high, so try lengthening the strap so the body of the bass is low enough for you to straighten out the wrist of your plucking hand. (I also find that angling the neck upwards at the same time makes it easier for me to keep my fretting-hand wrist straight as well.)
  10. skygzr


    Feb 23, 2015
    Southeast US
    I had a pinched nerve some years ago and I experienced occasional numbness. If I held my arm in certain positions it would go away. Fixed itself somehow after a few years.

    But do get it checked out. Better safe than sorry and all that.
  11. tlc1976


    Aug 2, 2016
    I had a pinched nerve once and it was similar symptoms. Though it was in the fretting hand, too much concentrated weight on that shoulder for too long. A general family doc looked at me, said it was a pinched nerve, must have had some chiropractic experience because he grabbed me in 2 spots and pushed and said there ya go, take these pills if you need them but you probably won't. And I didn't need them.

    Could be either or, so get it checked out regardless. In my legs I have historically had blood flow problems, usually during the coldest time of year just like now. Had a couple of good sized DVT clots too, and probably countless smaller ones. The pins and needles for me is when the blood flow is just starting to come back.
    Big Shrek and Stumbo like this.
  12. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg , Conquest Sound
    If the bass was in a different position, your forearm or wrist might have pressing on the bass in area that was restricting blood flow or pressing on a tendon. Either of these could cause the pins and needles sensation.
  13. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    all of the above as possibilities, IMO. but if you don't play/practice much = you'd probably be more likely to 'over-extend' any number of arm and hand nerves/tissues while trying to accommodate an 'adrenalin-inducing' playdown.

    good luck with your playing! :thumbsup:
  14. Here’s the bass in the position it was in at the gig C33AC20A-126C-4E79-9310-B7F3BA553AF9.
  15. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    That doesn't seem crazy high, and the wrist-bend is only moderate, but it looks like the part of your arm that's resting on the bass body is right across the base of your wrist. That's where all the plumbing and wiring it is -- e.g., where you take your pulse -- so it seems plausible to me that the weight of your arm is putting pressure on blood vessels, tendons, and/or nerves.

    Try this -- which I just did because I was curious. Hold out one of your hands, face-up, and bend your wrist moderately. Lay a couple of fingers from the other hand across the inside of your wrist as if taking your pulse. Now wiggle the fingers on the outstretched hand. Not only will you be able to feel your pulse, but you'll be able to feel all kinds of stuff moving around in the same area. I'm not a medical doctor, but it seems to me that playing for hours with pressure on that spot is bound to cause one kind of problem or another.
  16. Loring


    May 4, 2017
    just your tips? maybe digging in more than usual ( new bass maybe lower output and you didn't compensate at the amp - dig in a bit to hear yourself)
  17. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    Not saying that this is necessarily "better," but FWIW.... I wear my bass a few inches lower than that. My fingers are plucking the strings somewhere around the top of the pocket in my jeans. I also hold my elbow out away from my body a little more than you are doing in the pic. This creates a straight line from my elbow to my fingers, with zero bend in the wrist. If my forearm is touching the body of the bass at all, its weight is pushing the bass laterally toward my body rather than downward toward the floor.

    Funny (?) story: The way I actually learned this was by buying a Jack Casady Epiphone semi-acoustic bass, which had not only a thick body but sharp edges all around. It literally was painful to rest my forearm lazily on the top edge of the bass body, with the body edge cutting into my forearm. This forced me to adjust my arm position and strap length to avoid the pain. I later transferred this "new" position to my other basses, and found that it worked great with all of them.
  18. That wrist anchor is troublesome. Lots of ganglion in that area, lots of vessels and nerves. I would avoid anchoring with the inner wrist.
  19. I imagine it could be any number of things. You said in one post you played a different bass and higher up. Maybe your arm was bent in a way or pressed over the bass in a way it was reducing blood supply to your hand? Maybe there’s an electrical problem with the bass that’s not enough to noticibly shock you but enough to make your fingers go numb? Maybe you were just nervous, hell I still get rubber legs at some really big shows every now and then and I’ve been performing for over 20 years.

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