No pain, no gain....

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Matthew Bryson, Oct 6, 2001.

  1. Matthew Bryson

    Matthew Bryson Guest

    Jul 30, 2001
    I just want to make sure that I'm keeping my hands healthy. Due to life circumstances - recent divorce, light work load - I spend a lot of hours practicing bass everyday. Sometimes in the mornings I wake up and the index finger of my fretting hand is stiff and inflexable, so I stretch it until the full range of motion returns. Also sometimes when I am at work I'll get random aches in my fretting hand. I have heard tell of poor form and over taxing your body leading to things like arthritis or carpul tunnel syndrome (sorry about my poor spelling) ...anyway, I think of my occasional aches and pains as being like a weight lifter who has aches and pains in his muscles - normal...should I be more concerned? I do watch my form and when I begin to hurt while playing, will take a break. I do play with a fairly high action. Just how sensative is this human body, do I need to be more careful of it? I don't think I'm overdoing it - but I realize at some point you are just doing do you tell?
  2. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    No pain no gain simply doesn't apply here - when it's uncomfortable or even painful, there's something wrong.

    Try to keep your wrists as straight as possible, or else you're straining the tendons that go through your wrist too hard. Adjust your strap if necessary.

    Don't play too hard. It's a misconception that you need a lot of strength for playing the bass. Dexterity is what you need. Most virtuosos have a pretty light touch.

    Don't place the thumb of your fretting hand on top of the neck, it should be behind the neck. You can spread your fingers much wider and it'd easier to get a lighter touch.
  3. Bass Guitar

    Bass Guitar Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2001
    You are overdoing it when your BODY tells you that you are overdoing it by giving you warning signs, like the ones you have.

    At the moment, it all sounds like just muscle strain. However, if you start getting pins and needles, numbness, shooting pains down the fingers or up the arms, then we are talking about nerve involvement as well (which is more serious).

    Two issues:

    1) Practising too much - I would cut down on the amount of time you are pracising for the moment - you seemed to have jumped from having little practice to long hours of practice (if I read your post correctly). Try to increase the amount of time you spent practising in gradual increments - let you hand and arm muscles work up to it.

    2) Bad technique - MORE importantly, make sure you are playing correctly. JMX gives good advice in his post above. Play LIGHTLY - it's all about technique, not about strength (even with slapping and tapping).

    3) Warming up and warming down - I would start off each practice with some finger stretching exercises. Open, close fingers. Shake both hands vigorously for 2 minutes, then stop for 2 minutes holding them down - feel the blood flowing into the fingers. After practise, do the same thing. These prevents finger cramps (which are seriously painful). Warm water before and after practice over your hands and fingers help too.

    4) When you practice, take breaks - I would suggest a break at least every 30 -60 minutes - don't go for marathon stretches, unless you are getting ready for a seriously long gig.

    Hope this helps! :)
  4. LiL BaSS DuDe

    LiL BaSS DuDe Guest

    May 15, 2001
    I too find that my fingers feel stiff, so I play lightly and do some scales, but not going all over the fret-board, just like something simple such as this:


    As you will know this is C Major. And it works for F Major and D Major - just move it up two frets, or down two frets.
  5. Matthew Bryson

    Matthew Bryson Guest

    Jul 30, 2001
    That did help. especially this:
    that is exactly what I was wanting to learn. Thanks Bass Guitar, and everyone else too...