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NE14 tendonitis?

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by pete27408, May 11, 2005.


  1. pete27408

    pete27408

    Feb 22, 2005
    Howdy, I know some of you have tendonitis, tennis/golfer's elbow, carpal tunnel etc. I've been dealing with golfer's elbow for about a year now and I thought it would be useful if those with experience were to share with others what has worked for them. This is something people without pain should check out too- it could happen to you.
    To start things off, the reason I'm in this situation is that I would practice alot w/out breaks, 2hrs at a time 2x a day plus gigs. Which seemed fine until I spent a couple of days practicing longer hours and injured myself. Also, in retrospect, I played on the tip of my lh pointer finger, which is more strained than playing on the pad. Anyway, any takers?
     
  2. pete27408

    pete27408

    Feb 22, 2005
    Hmm... The left hand position is kind of hard to describe- I wish I had a camera. If I play on the tip I have to stretch alot to get the half step whereas if I play more towards the middle my hand doesn't have to stretch as much to make the position. This was suggested by a member of the NC symphony- it seems to work.
    I'm interested in what you said about anti-inflammatories. I take ibuprofren sometimes; maybe before a gig. Is it better to go without and just treat any inflamation with ice?
     
  3. Alexi David

    Alexi David

    May 15, 2003
    NYC
    I've been suffering for 2 1/2 years. In the fall In NYC I will do what many others here will soon recommend to you : Alexander Technique.

    I've gone through splints, pills, steroid injections in the arms, etc. and most of it is crap. I'm realizing that it's all about posture habits, blood flow, stress levels, and general incorrect use of uyour body (which is where Alexander comes in). I'm reading a book about it now and I can't wait to start.
     
  4. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Action and playability are the key like Arnold is hinting..

    Some Basses I play and own tire me and my hands out after awhile. My English Gilkes doesn't. I will fall asleep before my hands ever hurt playing that Bass. It is also Not just action. It is also the response of the Bass and how it vibrates under your fingers. If the energy transfers back into your hand, it will start to hurt after a short while. If the energy goes out thru the wood and FF holes, You will feel like you are 'riding on air'.
     
  5. pete27408

    pete27408

    Feb 22, 2005
    Ahhhh.... sounds wonderful. My bass is a 100+ yr german and it's pretty nice. Better than many, but I have played a few that do what you're talking about... a great sensation. I'll be at the ISB convention so I'll get a chance to play the field as they say. :)
     
  6. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    I am working on Mozart's Requiem and it's a Real workout. I will play the Concert this Sunday on my Gilkes Bass but I practice it on the Martini which is not as soft on the hands. This will help me to build strength and speed for when I play it Live.

    Not quite like squeezing a Rubber Ball but at least it's the next best thing.. lol

    Related topic?.. I think so..
     
  7. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Ken, what do you mean by "energy transfers back into your hand"? Do you mean the neck vibrating after you play a note?

    BTW, I would like a Martini, but not the bass kind ;)
     
  8. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    After the Last Concert I played with the Martini, I needed a few myself. It was the Entire Opera 'La Boheme', Puccinni.

    I used Olives by Pirastro and jacked the strings way up on the bridge with the Adjusters. We were short one Bass so I tried to make up for the extra Volume missing. It sounded great but my hands were sore.

    Energy transfer is when the strings vibrate your hand as well as the Bass when you play rather than just passing thru the Bass.
     
  9. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Yeah, I feel what you mean by that. It's not bad on my Upton but I do feel it somewhat.

    So you have used Olivs for classical, eh? I always thought classical players used solid steel strings, so your use of the Olivs makes me wonder if they wouldn't be a good all-around set for arco, pizz and slap. Right now I'm using Clef plain guts because I can't bow yet, but I want to learn, and they're not exactly the easiest strings to run a bow across. But since slapping swing and rockabilly plus occasional jazz casuals has become my main focus of attention right now, I don't want to tear my hands up doing it just so I can learn arco for a style of music I doubt I'll ever be good enough to play for a living.

    So let me ask you...how is the tension on Olivs compared to Obligatos? From what I've heard, they're somewhere in between Obligatos and plain guts, right? I know you're not a slapper, but do you think they'd tear my RH fingers up like Obligatos did?
     
  10. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Olivs are Nothing like Obligatos.. Here is my post/thread about them; http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=165008

    Ask me again after you read my Thread.. That will be easier for me..

    I like the Obligatos, but Playing fast hard Orchestral stuff can be an occassional problem on the 'E' string. I did however play several concerts on various Basses I had with Obligatos. They just don't Bow as well as Flexocors.. They (flex) Bow the Best for me. The 'G' is the best i've found. The 'E' can be too soft for 'some' Basses but not all. Olivs 'g' and 'd' or ok but the 'a' and e' are a bit of work.. Pizz?.. Not for my taste at all on the lower strings.
     
  11. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Interesting read. You must like a string with a good bit of sustain for pizz, eh? I do, too, but I don't dig what steels do to most basses (turn them into a big reverb chamber), so I'm trying to determine without actually buying them if Olivs or Eudoxas would be what I want. Thanks Ken!
     
  12. pete27408

    pete27408

    Feb 22, 2005
    Can it really be true that none of you have any repetitive stress injuries? I was hoping for more discussion along those lines.
     
  13. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Eventually I will have repetitive stress injuries.. From all this Typing on TB !!!

    How about a Bus Driver or short order cook.. or a House Painter..This is life.. Use good tools to avoid injuries..I prefer easier playing Basses for this reason.. Olivs made me work too hard. Flexs are thinner and softer feeling than the other Pirastros I tried. Obligatos are the easiest to Pluck/Pizz and press down (similar to Flex) but they don't Bow as well as Flexs.

    Tomorrow I am playing a Symphony Pops concert. I am playing in the Rhythm section for two pieces (from Porgy & Bess) and the rest with the other Bass in the section (only two Basses for this concert) One Part says "Rhythm Bass (amplified)" and the other says "Electric Bass". I bagged the Orchestra part of these two pieces and attached my pickup and plugged in.

    I will Play my English Bass with reg Flexs on it. I prefer the Fundamental of the note on these strings and that Bass rather than a Jazzer type Bass with Obligatos with Growl, Buzz and sustain because they actually have less Fundamental and Center to the Note. Remember Ray Browns Old Italian Bass on those eariler O.P. recordings. That was a great sound in my mind.. I much prefer that type of tone on the note. The Flexs work best for this Bass for all around playing with the Bow being the main focus. Obligatos would be my second choice if Pizz was the main focus.. 80/20 split I guess either way.
     
  14. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I used to have them both on bass and earlier, on piano. The culprit in both cases was bad technique. By "bad technique", I mean I was trying to use small muscle groups to do what ought to be delegated to large muscle groups. No matter which instrument I'm teaching these days, I always start by debunking what I consider to be the dangerous myth that instruments should be/are played with the fingers or hands - I believe that instruments should be played from the center of the body, where the center of strength is. The fingers and hands are simply extensions of the arms, which are extensions of the shoulders, which are extensions of the entire torso, all leading to the hips.

    I've never studied Alexander technique, but what I hear of it sounds eerily similar to what I learned in years of studying Aikido - namely, that the true power of the body can only be unlocked if everything is aligned properly in relation to the hips. Sounds hokey, I know, but as the largest person in my Aikido class I was often used as the designated "demonstration dummy", and was regulary thrown halfway across the room by a man 8" shorter and 60 lbs. lighter than me and a woman literally half my size, neither of whom were unusually strong...they just knew how to use their center of balance. After a while, I started applying the same principles to tone production on the piano and bass, and my entire world changed - bigger sound, relaxation, no fatigue, and most importantly, no more pain.

    As I said, I'm no expert on Alexander, but I would strongly advise anyone experiencing pain from playing any instrument to look into it or something like in order to address the overall source of the problem rather than attempt to cure the symptoms. Donosaur is an Alexander instructor these days, maybe he'll chime in and correct my synopsis....Dono?
     
  15. Actually, I'm going through something of the sort. Jason's description is closest but sounds more severe maybe. After playing DB for about a year and a half, I was surprised that I was still vulnerable to a stress injury. The situation was similar to what Jason describes but the event was a gig where the rock band I play with performed two very long sets. It was either "Good Mornin' Little School Girl", or a Grateful dead cover called "The Other One" that got me. I think a contributing factor was a bad stage set-up that left me craning my neck to see the leader across the stage. I'm not sure where the pain started excactly;- it has made the rounds from neck to fingertip and finally settled into my elbow, which doesn't really hurt while I'm playing, but has a sharp pain when I lift anything afterwards. My general health at the time may have made me vulnerable as well in that I had a serious sinus cold. That was a few months ago, so this is a bit chronic now. I am familiar with the long recovery of connective tissue damage because I injured some knee ligaments about 2 yrs. ago and that is just now getting to full recovery.

    After deciding I either had to cut way back or stop altogether I made some changes. I switched from DB to my Fender in the rock band. I've been playing it 30 yrs with no problems, (except my back gets sore after a few hrs.) I also just got a new DB with a much gentler set-up and louder response so I don't work as hard in my folk/bluegrass gig or my swing jazz gig. In retrospect I think in the rock context I was not letting the amp do enough of the work and that eventually strained me. Anyway, my strategy has been to cut back on practice time and take frequent breaks. When I do practice, I concentrate on relaxing and trying to smooth out the motions of my hands. Also the weight of the new bass makes it possible to balance it easier and let the weight of the bass do some of the work (I play standing). I am going to try the ice pack treatment, too. The aspirin is about as strong an anti-inflammatory as I will take regularly. I have a scrip for naproxen (strong ibuprofen) for my lower back. I take those very rarely but just for my back. I have always taken good vitamin supplements, but I didn't pay attention to my water intake and I think more water is beneficial for connective tissue healing so I'm drinking more water also.

    Short of stopping altogether for a while like Jason did, and I may come to that if this doesn't reverse soon, I think we just have to adapt. I will most likely also try the Alexander technique. I was looking at some resources and saw this page and wondered how often it is updated:http://www.isbworldoffice.com/bodybass.html
     
  16. pete27408

    pete27408

    Feb 22, 2005
    Thanks for chiming in y'all. I think this is an important topic that doesn't get enough attention. Of course you don't really think about it til it happens to you. I had been playing about 8 years when I got this injury.
    I have been able to manage it pretty well by taking breaks every 15 when I practice- up to 2 hrs. Mucho streching- yoga is very helpful. I also did some physical therapy where I was stregnthening the muscles and that seemed to help.
    These injuries tend to be long term -so I hear- but can be managed. I hope that if you read this and don't have an injury that you'll take care of yourself by warming up, stretching and taking breaks.
    Oh and the ISB convention was a blast. Go if you have a chance.
     
  17. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    Ahhh yes, the force flows strongly in this one. :cool:

    I too spent a couple years doing Aikido, and I enjoyed tossing around those several times my size, especially I'm a skinny 5'10" and 145 lbs. To be honest, of all the people I trained with, the big refrigerator-type guys were the easiest to throw: all you had to do was push them past their CG and they fall all by themselves. WHAM!!!

    Funny thing Chris: a while back, Dono was suspecting that I knew about Alexander too once I rambled something about Aikido.

    Anyways, I'm working through some CTS-like symptoms myself. Intermittent tingling in da fingres. Today was the strangest - I rested yesterday and yet this morning the tingling sensations came back and gone by noon. From what I've been taught during my aikido studies, awareness is key. If you're aware of your body of what little things are going on, it is much easier to correct what's going wrong. I've been looking at everything: my stance, my weight balance, the angle of my arms/wrist/fingers, my neck, etc. etc. etc. Any one of these things can be the culprit, it's also possible for anybody to be totally aware of themselves and figure out where the tension is coming from.

    Tension creates blockages of wahtever sort (blood, energy, etc) and then causes stress and knots and tight nerves. IMO, the best I can do is improve my form so that it reduces this amount of tension and naturally heal myself. IMO, CTS usually comes from your wrists coming at whatever you're holding at the wrong angle. For myself, I know I was gripping REAALY hard last week, so I will also focus on that - using just enough pressure to sound the notes.

    One way to start doing this type of thing is to get into your stance, and run through an inventory check of every body part. it's kinda like what people tend to do just before meditation. You can ask that part if it feels relaxed or not. And if it's relaxed, try to relax even deeper. Just thing of everything besides the obvious: your ears, your hair, your heels, your toes, even your butt (don't laugh!). :)

    As you play, just be aware of the tension that builds. After a while, you can creatively figure out your own solutions. So far, I've gone from raising/lower the bass (lower is better - but not too low), turning it outward a little, and trying to get more balance between the feet.

    So far I seem to be doing ok in this arena other than the tingling. I've basically typed my entire life and do it for a living(I use only ergo keyboards), played piano since age 5, did Aikido for several years, rock climbed from time to time, and now bass. I would hope to think that my wrists tend to be pretty strong. Anyways, hope this gives you some ideas to play with.
     
  18. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Ah, so YOU'RE that guy. While I'm not exactly a fridge at 6'2" and 190 (soon to be 180 again, but that's another story...), as the tallest dude in my class, I was always the "demonstration dummy" for our sensei, a little dude who I always feared would toss me clean off the mat. Needless to say, I'm a believer.

    They sound similar in words - I'd be interested to try Alexander and see how close they really are.

    I know I'm not there and can't really see you, but I'd try finding a stance that allows you to play without using your LH thumb at all, then add it in just for balance. I think you're completely right about th wrist angle - every time I've ****ed mine up, it's been an angle thing. Good luck, Huy.
     
  19. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    I feel your pain. I used to be my sensei's favorite uke during demonstrations. He was just a touch smaller than me. He had me flying all kinds of ways that I probably was doing do some basic acrobatics on my own. It's something else sailing 20 feet across a room and landing without a scratch.

    I remember during one demo me and another black belt were acting out a skit where I was a mugger she was an old lady whose purse I wanted. It was totally uncoreographed and the finale was supposed to be a big kotogaeshi throw by the neck. For those of you who aren't in the know, this one was done by placing the heel of her hand on the side of the base of my skull. Hard to describe, but when done properly, the attacker does a sideways flip. Anyhow, It was an unorthodox way of doing it.

    Anyways, I came at her a little too fast, turned mid-air too much, and the next thing I knew - I was landing on my face!!! :eek:

    Miraculously, I did a perfect face-forward 4-point landing like a cat. I think I must've gotten about 4 feet of air on that throw. Felt like I was just plopping myself on a bed. No injuries, no bruises, no nuttin. The best fall I ever took in my entire life! To this very day, I still can't figure out how I did it.

    Thanks but I know about the "don't use your thumb" thing all along, but it just feels weird trying to play without it. I'm just going for a lighter LH touch. That'll probably help me be a little faster too.

    Right now, my stance has it where the bass is basically resting on my left hip. Takes very very very little effort to keep it standing. In a certain sense, the small amounts of pressure doing pizz or arco kinda counter-balances what I got going on in the LH. So if I'm squeezing too hard, it's cuz I'm squeezing too hard and not because I'm trying to keep the bass up. I just fiddled with my stance again a few minutes ago and realize that my hands are a little bit too far away to the left. So guys, one of the Aikido principles is to keep your hands in front of you. Preferably right in the center right in front of your stomach. With that in mind, I'll take back a little of what I posted earlier and will try to have it in a way that my hands are playing the bass near my vertical centerline. My hands need to be where I can seem them at all times. Food for thought.