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pain in the fingers

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Cpt_Llama, Jun 4, 2001.

  1. I am a relativly new bass player, I have been playing for about 3 monthes now. some times i get pain in the tips of my fingers on my fretting hand, is this pain to be expected even after developing calouses(sp) and finger strength?
  2. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    In a word, YES. Pain in the fingertips is perfectly normal, even after you build up the extra skin on the fingertips. The pain you need to be careful of is any pain in your wrists and/or arms, which is a warning sign to take it easy.
  3. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    If it's a dull pain, it's not uncommon, as Chris said.

    If it's sharp and instantaneous, like an electrical shock, a mention to your doc might be advisable. Your electrolytes may be off, no joke.
  4. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Also, try to use a lighter touch when fretting notes, most beginners tend to use too much strength in the left AND right hand fingers.

    It's one of the reasons why pro's appear to be playing with absolute ease (that and a good, economic playing technique/finger movements).
  5. thanks for the reassurance, what are electrolytes?
  6. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    They're substances in your blood and tissue fluids that conduct electrical transmissions to/from the brain. Poor diet and/or alcohol abuse can screw them up.
  7. Bass-A-Nova

    Bass-A-Nova Guest

    Nov 2, 2000
    Maybe I should start a new post on this, but how 'bout pain in the left, or fretting, wrist? Sometimes my left wrist burns so much I have to stop playing the riff that causes it. Anyone else experience this? BTW I've been playing over a year, so those muscles SHOULD be used to it by now...
  8. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Any pain in the wrist is not good, and usually means that you are bending your wrist too much while fretting. I tell my students to be most careful about pain on the UNDERSIDE of the wrist- as this is where most people have problems.
  9. make sure you are pressing the string down right behind the fret, otherwise you're probably exerting more strength than you have to.
  10. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    I get a nasty burning sensation in my fretting hand thumb, right down in the joint where it meats the hand and in the nuckle. My picking wrist doesnt burn when I play, but it does ache for sometimes as much as 2 days after i play.
  11. Bass-A-Nova

    Bass-A-Nova Guest

    Nov 2, 2000
    Yeah that's where I get the pain, the underside. Another thing I've noticed that causes pain is I tend to extend my fretting hand thumb out against the underside of the fretboard, while fretting. I've noticed other bassists usually don't do this, they tend to have their thumbs almost wrapped around the fretboard, rather than extended. But I simply can't seem to fret this way. Should I worry about this? BTW I don't have much problem with applying the right amount of pressure on the board, even with my pinky finger, but this comes at the expense of my thumb - sometimes, not always...
  12. dazzajoy


    Mar 23, 2000
    I've been experiencing pains in my fretting hand too... For me, it occurs right on the muscle between the thumb knuckle (2nd from the thumb tip) to the wrist. The muscle's the one inside the palm.

    I also know why this was happening.. I was tensing that little muscle too much, squezzing with the thumb as I was going to crush the fretboard. My only advice is, find a position that is comfortable for YOU, so you don't get your hands locked in an awkward/painful position. :)

    Where you put your thumb should not matter too much, as long as it causes no pain, and doesn't imped your playing. Playing your bass should be an enjoyable experience, with the minimum of pain.

    I tried playing with my left thumb extended, so it is straight out, and it touches a point on the neck, where it is way closer to the bass head than the other fingertips. I think it's an ok position if you want to fret primarily with the index and middle finger, because assuming you want to play without pain in this position, your hand will naturally tend to be cocked at an angle with your thumb taking this position.

    Adjust your thumb according to the playing situation. Don't just lock it into one position for all the fingerings! Experiment, because there should be certain thumb positions that are more comfortable for specific fingerings than others. For example, you might want the thumb almost wrapped around the fingerboard for one chord position (Good Lord! chords on a bass??!! err.. I meant, arpeggios.. :) Or, you might want to put your thumb opposite your index or middle finger, or.. well.. whatever takes your fancy. :D
  13. if you ever play slap don't hit your strings too hard you can rip open your thumb, but yeah its normal to feel some pain in your fingertips
  14. Pain in the fretting hand???

    How about (no kidding) pain in the fingers holding the pick. After about 20 seconds I have to pause...what the fock is wrong??
  15. obcorm


    Apr 12, 2005
    15 years later... I'm having sharp pains in my finger tips. I've been playing 17 years and just had a 7 week break. Started noticing sensitivity halfway through. Tell me more about these electrolytes.
  16. Carpal Tunnel in my left hand - caused by repetitive movement and bad technique. CT pain will affect the thumb, index and middle finders. In some the inside of the ring finger is also affected. Starts off with a dullness, then tingle, then pain. Short fix get a Carpal Tunnel brace from WalMart for $19 (US). Wear it at night and if you are lucky the 8 hours of rest the brace gives will help the problem. Talk to a Doctor.

    I also have deQuervain's T'endinitis in my right thumb. I think caused by strumming the rhythm guitar. I can play the bass for short periods with little or no pain. To see if you have deQuervain's Tendinitis place your hand like doing a karate chop.Tuck your thumb into your fists - now close the fist and move the wrist down. If it hurts talk to a Doctor. Surgery seems to be the fix.

    Good luck.
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2016
  17. enricogaletta


    May 21, 2011
    Yes, is the main first step develpoing your calouses.
    Than, other pains can be caused from wrong hands techniques, try to figure it out with other players to see if you're doing correctly. If yes than, you just need to be patient and build your muscles ;).
    If you need further help, just contact me, I will be happy to help you.
  18. obcorm


    Apr 12, 2005
    I should expand. My left hand technique is very good and I have been playing extensively for 17 years. I went away for 7 weeks which has been the longest period since starting that I have not played. All my calluses have gone now so it should be just like starting again. However, there are tender point on my left hand on 1st 2nd and 4th fingers at exactly the points that are the optimal points to make contact with the strings. It is not like having virgin fingers though. My 3rd finger which is barely used is fine, some normal discomfort as if I was starting but no excruciating pain at any specific point. Same with my right hand if I try fretting with that.
    It feels like nerve pain, I thought maybe over time nerves and blood vessels harder grown in to the calluses, OR now I think maybe it's lumps of scar tissue at those points from so much continuous use. If I press my fingers down even on a table I can feel pain in those exact points.

    Thanks again,

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