Neck thickness and hand pain

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by speck, Aug 16, 2002.

  1. speck


    Jul 15, 2002
    Sacramento CA, USA
    Does anyone else experience pain when playing a bass with a thin (not width across the fretboard) neck? I've recently started playing again after a few years off and the bass is a late 80's Ibanez EX Series, probably bottom of the line at the time. I would feel pretty bad pain in my fingers and thumb after running scales for only about 10-15 minutes. I was starting to think that I may need to completely change my left hand technique (I don't know what I could have changed to make it better.)

    A couple of days ago, I bought an MIA Jazz and, of course, played it for a hour or so and then realized that my left had felt fine. No pain at all. The major differences between the two basses, other than the obvious quality/sound/etc, are the weight (tank vs balsawood, er basswood) and the thickness of the necks. The action on both basses is about the same, so I don't think I'm pressing any harder on the Ibanez. Does anyone have any insight about why this is happening?

  2. Are you sure you hold the neck in a proper position and you wear your bass high enough so that the neck is 45° from your body?

    I am sure I do but still i'm having a very uncomfortable pain in my left wrist.. But i'm sure it is because of the 35 scale length on my bass and the thick strings..besides I'm just getting used to the length.. and I have to play a lot down in the lower frets of the neck.. I hope the pain doesn't go any further.. I'm thinking about getting checked by a quiropractic (sp?) But don't know if it is the right solution..


    Hope you (and I) get some advices from some one here in this thread..
  3. Hey, another Northern Californian!:D

    I've always felt that the thin Ibanez necks were uncomfortable. Thats one of the reasons I really don't like them.

    P bass necks are perfect for me.

    My Yamaha 5er is thin compared to many other 5ers, but it feels nice to me, not paper thin like some necks, but not baseball bat chunky like many others.
  4. TRU


    Apr 12, 2002
    Northern Europe
    I feel much more comfortable with thick necks, but I'm sure you will get opposite replies. It is a personal preference of each player.
    It might also be that the muscles in your hand were just getting accustomed to playing again and once you have played a few weeks you don't have the pain anymore.
  5. speck


    Jul 15, 2002
    Sacramento CA, USA
    That's what I was thinking when I noticed that the pain wasn't going away. I've been back at it for a few months and if I play the Ibanez for a while my hand will start hurting again. The bass plays great, considering how much it cost, but I guess we just don't get along. ;)

  6. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I have the opposite problem. When I play a bass with a thick neck my thumb hurts. I stopped playing my Yamaha 5 string, which has a thick neck (by my tastes), and replaced it with a Lakland 55-01. The Lakland neck is thinner, and my hand pain has nearly gone. I don't have the problem on 4 string necks, even if they are thick, because the necks are narrow enough that I can hang my thumb over the fingerboard for a few minutes when it starts to hurt (I know, bad form..., but it eases the pain).
  7. I had the opposite problem as well. I just got back into playing a little less than a year ago. I had to put down my Fender P for a while and get an SR800 because of left hand pain. The SR helped for a while, but after about six months or so, I went back to playing the P, and it actually felt fine again. Maybe the muscles in my hand have started getting retrained, or something like that. I just recently replaced the SR800 with a J. The J neck feels similar, but is a little more substantial. I can switch back and forth between the two, and everything is fine.

    I was concerned about carpal tunnel for a while, but it wasn't that, thankfully. Have you checked to make sure there isn't something like that going on?
  8. Marley's Ghost

    Marley's Ghost Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2002
    Tampa, FL
    I had quite a bit of finger pain from playing when I first got my P bass. I got a Gripmaster and started excercising my fingers, and now the pain has gone away. I can play for hours without any problem.:D
  9. I, too, have trouble with very thin necks. I get cramps in the side of my hand, below my pinky.
  10. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    My seven-string has a much thinner neck than my previous basses, and I experienced some pain in my left hand thumb (still do sometimes). I figured that without a meatier neck filling that space between my palm and my fingers, my thumb was compensating and taking all the pressure. Find more comfortable positions for your thumb while playing, and try to not apply so much pressure on it when playing. Helped me out.
  11. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Thicker is better for me.
    For speed and accuracy, as well as for ergonomics.
    When I play a thin neck it feels great for a few moments, then my palm cramps, and there will be no speed no more...
    Thicker feels awkward for a few moments, but never gets bad.
    From ergonomics standpoint, the old double bass neck is yet to find its match.