My hands always tense up....

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Lazlo Panaflex, Feb 14, 2004.

  1. Lazlo Panaflex

    Lazlo Panaflex

    Sep 30, 2003
    Before a show when i start to become a little nervous my hands always get really cold and kind of tense up. Is there anything i can do to stop this from happening?

    I actually thought downing two beers before the next show to get relaxed :p
  2. Superdave


    Apr 20, 2003
    St. Louis, MO
    Just relax, just think about how kick ass it's going to be when you get on that stage and bust out the funk. It's all about being cool about it.

    You could also do some hand exercises to get warmed up. Make a vulcan sign, stretching your fingers, then move the two inner fingers in, stretching them. Do that a few times, and you can also angle your hands up and down at the wrist, alternating between the two. Another is to pull on your thumbs, backwards, just to stretch out your thumb muscles.

    This is what I normally do, but being cool about getting up there is the best thing you can do. Talk to some friends, take a shot, smoke a bowl, whatever is your thing.
  3. Tim Cole

    Tim Cole

    Jun 12, 2002
    Findlay, Ohio
    Smoke a bowl? Something that can have a side effect of paranoia, when the guy is already nervous? lol

    Most people avoid alcohol for professionalism, I like to have a little in moderate amounts, just to help loosen up some, without going overboard. I used to have a beer, and a shot before the first set, then a beer or so per set, the rest of the night.
  4. Lazlo Panaflex

    Lazlo Panaflex

    Sep 30, 2003
    Yeah i dont smoke anyways but thanks for the advice :D

    Thanks guys ill try the 1 shot, beer strategy my next show.
  5. Marley's Ghost

    Marley's Ghost Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2002
    Tampa, FL
    3 or 4 beers usually works for me. ;)
  6. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    I wouldn't recommend alcohol or drugs because of the aforementioned side effects. Also, the last thing you want is to be dependent on a substance to be able to play in front of people.

    Whenever I get cold hands (which happens often in Canada) I try running them under hot water before going on (a tip I got here from Jazzbo). That has a relaxing effect.
  7. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    Yeah, I often get cold hands too... venues are effectivley large, badly heated rooms.

    I use the hot water tip whenever I can, but often the taps in the gents wont dish any out!

    If I get nervous nowadays, it's for one of the following good reasons

    1) I couldnt hear a thing in soundcheck
    2) I dont have complete confidence in my knowing the
    material (my own darned fault)
    3) I dont have comlpete confidence in other band members not messing up

    Best thing you can do is be 100% confident in yourself, the music and the people you're playing with. If any aspect of the band gives you a reason not to be 100% confident you need to address that.
  8. secretdonkey


    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Play a bit and get the blood flowing into your hands and forearm muscles. I *have* to warm up by playing to avoid cramps -- but aside from avoiding cramps I always feel more relaxed and composed during those first couple of songs where you're settling in to things, too. :)
  9. If you didn't get a little nervous before going on stage i'd say you're nuts. Everyone gets nervous even the pros that have been playing for their entire life it's just one of those things you have to deal with. Like others have said keep blood flowing in your arms and hands. One thing that i do before a gig that helps me is i peak out and look at the crowd before i go on stage. Then just think to yourself all those people are out there because they like your music and support you.
  10. One thing that I would avoid is cracking your knuckles, I stopped doing that cause noticed that my hands would get tense and sore if I did that.
  11. baba

    baba Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2002
    3rd stone from the sun
    1-2 beers or drink of choice. Not enough to effect playing negatively but enough to take the edge off and let things flow.
  12. I concur with the confidence (proactive) thing.... The warm water (reactive) sounds like a good idea. :)
  13. Lazlo Panaflex

    Lazlo Panaflex

    Sep 30, 2003
    I tried the warm water idea before my last band practice, it definetly stretched out my hands and let me play more fluid.
  14. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    I do some hand stretching exercises, also relaxation exercises (try to release all tension from the hand and fingers).

    As secret donkey said, you could always just play the bass (unplugged ) for a few minutes before you go on.

  15. Definately have a couple of drinks. When I first started playing live, I used to wash my hands under warm/hot water before going on stage. If you get a chance to be on stage 5 mins before you play, tune up, turn the volume down and run through a few scales to loosen up, other than that, Rum works for me.
  16. lildrgn


    Jul 11, 2000
    Seattle, WA
    Lucky for me, for whatever reason, I just don't get nervous. I used to years ago. My hands would also lock up after playing a few songs. But now I have no problems. Sure, they get a bit crampy at times, but nothing I can't handle.

    Nerves? Bah. Who needs 'em!

  17. playing live alot makes you impervious to nerves. I agree. I get the feeling that the guy posting this thred hasn't played much live, and when I first started out, naturally I was a bit nervous before, and for the first tune or two. I think being confident with the material, and the band is the most important factor. There is no real advice you can really give for nerves, because it's an individual thing. It gets better the more shows you play, through my experience. At the end of the day, if you can play your instrument well, it's an "INNER" thing every player faces, and has to overcome. Enjoy it, it's magic!
  18. I didn't mean you Lildrun just starting out, I mean the guy starting the thread lazlo. If that makes sense???
  19. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    Here's my tips for loosening up
    - Breathe. Take some slow, deep breaths until you feel youself loosening up.
    - Open up your hands, extend your fingers and shake from the wrist. Just imagine that you are trying to shake water off your hands. Do this for 30 seconds or so, and you'll loosen up your wrists as well as your fingers. It also promotes bloodflow to the area.
    - Stretch your wrists and forearms. Tendons in your forearm and wrist affect movement in your hands and fingers, so loosen them up. Put your palms together, point your fingers away from you and move your forearms toward your chest. Then repeat by pointing your fingers downward, upward, and towards you.

    Running you hands under warm water is a decent idea, but I would make sure that my hands are COMPLETELY DRY before performing. Playing the bass with slightly wet hands is not only detrimental to your strings or fretboard, but it can damage your calluses by softening them up and making them easier to rip. Also, if then venue is cold to begin with, warm moist hands will turn to even colder hands than you started out with. I prefer to rub my hands together for heat.
  20. Jadeybeta


    Mar 8, 2004
    London, UK
    You can buy these little hand warmer things for a couple of pounds/dollars. Theyre not very masculine looking (red heart shaped) but do the job. You just put them in warm water before you go to the gig then snap them when you get there or something. They heat up and you hold them a while. Forgot where you get 'em, try Googling it.