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Metacarpophalangeal joint pain

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by petergp, Apr 16, 2010.


  1. petergp

    petergp

    Apr 16, 2010
    Buenos Aires
    Hi everyone, im new around here.
    Well, i've been playing for 4 years or so and every now and then, when i play for several hours straight (rehearsals, for example) it starts aching in the base of the pointer and index finger of the right hand (im right handed, for bass at least) and it really disturbs my technical capacities. is this kind of pain normal? should i worry? anyway, i know you aren't doctors, but you are bassists, thought you could share experiences.
    thanks!
     
  2. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    pain is never normal. could be a technique issue, could be you're overdoing it. might want to get a professional opinion about your technique from a good teacher.
     
  3. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Braintree
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    As Jimmy on this, pain is not really an option. If you are struggling to find a teacher i will ask one question of you before i give advice. Are your fingers straight or do they have a curl to them when you play.?
    Any pictures or footage would be great.
     
  4. Asher S

    Asher S

    Jan 31, 2008
    MA
    Agreed with above, to have a pro watch you play and check your technique.

    Also consider trying the floating thumb technique, particularly if you play 5+ strings. That alone cleared up my right hand joint pain in a few days. Here's a very clear demonstration of the technique, including the rationale behind it:

     
  5. petergp

    petergp

    Apr 16, 2010
    Buenos Aires
    Thanks for the replies! Well i dont know what you really mean when you say curl in your fingers, they seem pretty much straight. the issue i believe is related with the angle of the wrist, wich is typical in a bass player (you know, laying the forearm in the bass, twisting the hand downwards like some kind of claw), thats how i do it anyway. ive tried the floating thumb technique, it lessens the pain considerably (cause the wrist doesnt twist) but i have one problem: when playing sitting the bass isnt entirely steady, i used to secure it with my forearm, so now i have to (really subtly) hold it with my left hand, wich is quite uncomfortable. how do you deal with this?
     
  6. Asher S

    Asher S

    Jan 31, 2008
    MA
    Use your strap, even when you're sitting. Shorten it too, if that helps. That should steady the bass.
     
  7. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Braintree
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    In the plucking hand the finger motion come from the finger joints not the large knuckle. Using the fingers action from the finger joint requires a slight curl to the fingers.

    The wrist angle affects the fingers ability to curl, to much and the fingers are under pressure to straighten due to the tension of the muscles. Sound like you have sussed that part, so keep a natural curl in your fingers when playing in both hands, try not to play with straight fingers, and use as little wrist angle as you can, especially in the plucking hand.:)
     
  8. If you can still type 'Metacarpophalangeal" then it can't be that bad

    :)
     
  9. petergp

    petergp

    Apr 16, 2010
    Buenos Aires
    hhahaha well that may be right jim. thank you all for the advises, guess i should sit down and take a really close up on angles, positions, and a big etcetera. and a visit to the doctor, cos the pain wont let me play nice and smoothly.
     
  10. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    a teacher may not have a deductible that saves you money, but i think a skilled bass teacher who knows a lot about technique is better than a doctor. the doc can tell you what you're doing wrong, but if he doesn't play bass, he can't show you the proper techniques to keep from being in pain.

    now if you know a doc who plays bass, has great technique, and lets you pay for most of it thru insurance, you're golden ;)
     
  11. Chris K

    Chris K

    May 3, 2009
    Gorinchem,The Netherlands
    Partner: Otentic Guitars
    As a 5-string player with floating thumb I recognize this problem. Like Asher says, always use a strap.
    I prefer a bar stool to play and sit. Have one at home. It's definitely worth the money.
     

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