Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by keithconn, Dec 5, 2001.

  1. I just started playing perhaps a month ago. Whenever I practice now(which is every night) my left wrist and hand in in pain!

    My hand is cramping up, and the inside of my wrist(with palm up) is really starting to hurt! I do attempt to stretch both, and always warm up before I start playing. I am hoping that its just something that will go away.

    Anyone experience this when they first started playing? 'MAN, I hope this goes away!'

  2. Oysterman


    Mar 30, 2000
    I didn't have wrist pains when I started out, my fingers may have hurt as hell of all the callouses but that's different!

    How do you wear your bass (high or low)? If it's lower than it would be when you're playing sitting down, raise it to that height.

    Do you "fold over" your fretting hand thumb, electric guitar-style, i.e. not having it seated on the back on the neck? In that case, adjust your technique.

    Wearing your bass at proper height (= belly/chest area), using proper fretting hand technique and having a good setup which allows you to play with a lighter touch may just be the solution to your problem. But if it hurts, I'd quit playing for a week, and see if it goes away. If it doesn't, I'd seek medical aid.
  3. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Try to use a lighter touch - in both hands!
    Most beginners fret and pluck way too hard.

    Another reason might be tension in your shoulder that reaches your hands and fingers. Use a wider strap, padded if possible.
  4. Actually my thumb position is really pretty good. I don't wear the bass low, but also not super high. Perhaps a little lower than when I am sitting.

    I'll try raising it a little. I also start lessons tomorrow, so I'm going to ask my new teacher as well.

    I figure that it may hurt a little at first because I am bending my wrist in a way that I normally don't, but its getting kinda painful...

    Thanks for the tips - I'll let you know if I figure anything out for those of you who care!

  5. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    Don't be afraid to stop for a while, it may prevent more serious injury. If it keeps up see a doctor.
  6. That heart freaks me out! With that vein floppin' around and all ...

    Thanks for the advise ...
  7. My experience totally aligns with Oyster's - the problems I have experienced were caused by how I was postioning the bass or how I was locating my hands.

    The thing has been - different types of music means there is no single, optimal position, (at least for me). Lots of slapping vs. lots of fingering necessitates different orientations of the instrument to my body.

    However, if something phyiscal beyond just playing is going on in your body, (like tendonitits or poor nutrition), that's a whole different ball game.

    If you have inflammation in a joint or something, an injection from an orthopedic can work wonders. It lets the joint/tendon/muscle/whatever return to it's normal state and another injection isn't needed, provided you take care not to go back to old habits.
  8. When I started my fretting hand cramped up heaps too. I solved the problem by holding the bass sort of diagonally, with the neck higher than the body. Also, I was holding my elbow in really close to my body, as soon as I moved it out a bit the strain on my fretting hand was way less.
    But rest assured, any bassist will cramp slightly if playing for ages, so don't worry too much.
  9. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    I had some problems with two fingers going numb (not the typical carpal tunnel fingers) so I went to a doctor. And I took my bass. That made all the difference. She was able to spot immediately what was the cause. I wear the bass high, but almost parallel with the ground. Combined with the fact that it had an extra wide fingerboard (Yamaha TRB6), a nerve was getting pinched. So I changed the angle of the bass by moving the strap pin and all's well.

    My point was it may be helpful to bring your bass to the doctor.
  10. Pac-

    What are the 'normal' fingers to go numb? Sometimes my pinkie seems to feel a bit numb. I hope thats not pointing to more serious problems down the road.

  11. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    The 'red flag' fingers for carpal tunnel syndrome are the index and middle. The pinky and ring were what I was experiencing trouble with. Look closely at the angle that your hand is at when you play. There is a nerve (the ulnal nerve) that goes on the outside of your hand (pinky side), and if that nerve get's 'choked', you'll start to have problems. It took 6 months for mine to arrive, but once we'd located the problem, the symptoms were gone in weeks.
  12. b0nes83


    Dec 14, 2000
    do those finger wieghts that you press down on them actually work? peace
  13. Whew - thank god its just my wee pinkie. I kinda fixed it by doing what you said(before you said it) I have been playing my bass with the neck a little higher and it straightens out the wrist a bit.

    I think all my other problems are slowly going away and were just some achs and pains associated with being new to the instrument.