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My fingers hurt, please help me with chords

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by RayO5421, Aug 19, 2007.


  1. RayO5421

    RayO5421

    Jan 15, 2007
    Toms River NJ
    Hello all,
    Just recently I've decided to expand my playing style a bit. I know how to play finger style pretty good and to slap/pop decently (I need some help there too). I've checked out some Wooten videos and some other youtube stuff and have been working on a few things (if you could send me any links to videos with good slapping instruction that would be appreciated!).

    Today I was trying to mess around with playing a few chords and acctually found some things that sound quite nice when played together. After I finished playing (mabey about 5 or 10 mintues) I noticed my fingers on my left hand were killing me!

    I've got pretty big fingers. A lot bigger than my teacher's and people who I've met in music stores with tiny little hobbit hands (Lord of the Rings anyone?!) have always told me how much trouble they have playing sometimes. Granted I am playing on a baseball bat of a neck on a P bass but I just didn't expect playing chords to hurt this bad. I was doing some pretty far stretches for some of the things I was playing (5 frets) but I was also playing pretty far up on the neck. I was sitting down.

    Whats my solution? Try playing on a slimmer neck? Or just suck it up and grow resistant to the pain? I remember how bad my index and middle finger on my right hand pained me when I started playing, is this just another one of those things I've got to deal with for a while?

    Thanks,
    Ryan
     
  2. tswd

    tswd

    Jun 20, 2007
    Initially, I'd say you probably just need to suck it up. You're using your hands in a different way and the muscles, tendons, and whatnot aren't used to it. You may be pressing too hard when fretting the chords. I find I do that when learning new hand positions. It's a subconscious thing where I want to make sure my fingers are in the right spot, so I tense them up too much to kind of lock them in place. I guess you should try to not do that. Try to fret them really lightly and see if that helps.
     
  3. I play chords almost constantly and I noticed pretty much the same problem you did when I first started. Just pay attention to what your body's telling you and take it easy when you know you should especially with big stretches, maybe try to work your way up to that it takes a while just take your time and don't push it it's not worth damaging anything for.
     
  4. RayO5421

    RayO5421

    Jan 15, 2007
    Toms River NJ
    Thanks for your replies, I guess I'll try to lossen up a little bit. I didn't really think about how I never really tried chords before so my hand must be freaking out. Its something to work on.

    I acctually just got back from a band practice and I played the chords/arppegios on my guitarist's Strat and found it a lot easier but then again the Strat is not a bass.
     
  5. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    You might try working first on chords further up the neck where the fret spacing is smaller, so the stretching isn't as difficult, and then gradually move the shapes toward the nut as your fingers get stronger and more comfortable holding the shapes.
     
  6. RayO5421

    RayO5421

    Jan 15, 2007
    Toms River NJ
    The things I'm playing are on the upper frets, the lowest fret I play on is the 12th on the A string. The highest is the 21st (my bass has 22).
     
  7. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    Rats. It seemed like such a good piece of advice....
     
  8. RayO5421

    RayO5421

    Jan 15, 2007
    Toms River NJ
    In the short time that I've been playing around with the chords my fingers have got a bit stronger, although my pinky is getting cut up for some reason :rolleyes: .
     

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