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Numb index finger?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Steve Clark, Feb 7, 2005.


  1. Steve Clark

    Steve Clark Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2004
    London ON
    In the last month or so my index finger of my left fretting hand goes slightly numb at the very tip while playing. There are no other problems in the hand or wrist (that I know of) in terms of pain or discomfort. It's not that i can feel the string it just feels a bit odd. Any ideas on what is developing here?
     
  2. Ozzyman

    Ozzyman

    Jul 21, 2004
    How cold is it where you practice?
    Is your wrist bent at a 90° or greater angle when playing normally?
    Do you stretch your forearms and wrists before playing?
    Do you play on a skinny or thick neck?
     
  3. Steve Clark

    Steve Clark Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2004
    London ON
    The house is fairly warm. I will sit in different parts of the house playing as well.
    Good question about 90 degrees. Same position for years as far as I know.
    No I don't stretch before playing but will do so. Any suggestions?
    I play a Sadowsky Metro. That's fairly thin I would say. I play an NS Design EUB but that's not new. I've had it for over a year or so. It certainly has a thick neck.

    Speaking of necks, my own is sore. Maybe I pinched something that extends to my fingers.
     
  4. MichaelScott

    MichaelScott

    Jul 27, 2004
    Moorpark CA
    Yep.

    Do you sleep on your side?
     
  5. Steve Clark

    Steve Clark Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2004
    London ON
    Yes I do. My hope is that when my neck sorts itself out it will fix itself. I hope.

    Steve
     
  6. I remember I always used to get a numb pinky on my right hand when playing. I got over it after a lot of excercising when I wasnt playing.

    Just do a lot a finger exercises, if you see one of these 'Gripmaster' things for strengthening fingers I'd advise getting one. It helped me a lot.
     
  7. iamthebassman

    iamthebassman

    Feb 24, 2004
    Austin,Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Phantom Guitars, Eastwood Guitars
    Start with the lower tension Gripmaster.
     
  8. Ozzyman

    Ozzyman

    Jul 21, 2004
    The thing about gripmaster is that it slows your fingers down. The bigger muscles, though more powerful, are slower. So if you do use a gripmaster, do alot of dexterity exercises to maintain fast accurate fingers.
    And for stretching go here. But if you feel the problem is really bad then see a doctor and find out how serious it really is.
    The numbness might be caused by pressure on the median nerve by swelling or scarring in your carpal tunnel. These exercises help stretch the transverse carpal ligament, but may also pushing on the nerve more if there is swelling or scarring. Remember, your carpal tunnel is biggest when your wrists are straight. Now, my wrists are slightly more than a 90° (180° would be straight) when playing and I don't encounter any problems. But maybe genetically you have a problem with that, so try straightening out your wrist and seeing if the problem persists.
    Oh, and is your index finger cold? It could be a tense muscle that cuts off blood flow to the tip of your finger. (again stretching should relax and limber your hands.)
     
  9. NoisemakerD-Lux

    NoisemakerD-Lux

    Oct 12, 2004
    You can have some nerve damage in that finger. About 15 years ago I was really into tapping (Eddie Van Halen; Billy Sheehan; all that super fast Rock/Metal stuff) and I kept "banging" on the strings with my right-hand middle finger so much that I somehow damaged it at the very tip. Still to this day, I'll occasionally feel it get numb for a while. Again, right at the tip. A weird numb pain or, rather, feeling... exactly as you're describing. I am really not affected by this at all and it only lasts for a day or so. Comes once every few months, I suppose, or whenever I seriously overdo it on the finger style.

    For now, I'd suggest staying off the bass for a few days. Hell, go play a good video game for a week and don't think about the bass. Seriously. From time to time, a little rest like that does wonders for your playing. It lets your mind and hands get away from it all. You'll come back fresh and rested and ready to go. If the numbness doesn't go away by then, you will have to go to a doctor.

    As far as hand exercisers (somebody mentioned these), I really don't see the point. As controversial as Jeff Berlin is at times, he has a valid point about these things. You can seriously damage your tendons if you overuse them. Besides, you don't want muscles in your hands. Well, you'll develop enough muscle just by regular playing. What you want in your hands are accuracy and a good light touch. Get the strings nice and low too and don't overdo on the tension (there seems to be a fad nowdays for super high tension and extra long necks - I honestly don't get that theory). Good setup and a good technique are the key to everything. Just thought I'd throw in my 2 cents on that.
     
  10. NoisemakerD-Lux

    NoisemakerD-Lux

    Oct 12, 2004
    Let me add that a few months ago I was doing something around the house and I remember accidently squeezing the tip of another finger somehow. I got the same exact numb pain/feeling. It lasted for about a day, then went away and I haven't felt it since. I suppose I pinched a nerve there. This is definitely nerve-related. Maybe you pinched it or just damaged it by playing. Again, just rest it for a while and see if it goes away.
     
  11. MichaelScott

    MichaelScott

    Jul 27, 2004
    Moorpark CA
    I used to sleep on my side and I would always get funky back pains and wake up with pinched shoulders. Your spine isn't as strait as it needs to be when you are on your side and your head and arms are normally twisted.

    I trained myself to sleep on my back and have had considerable less back pain since.