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Pain in the Jamersons

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Bruiser Stone, Jun 11, 2019.


  1. Bruiser Stone

    Bruiser Stone Supporting Member

    Dec 7, 2017
    Tennessee
    I've got these LaBella Jamersons that I've finally managed to setup nicely at low-medium action on my P-Bass. My plucking fingers LOVE them; they are my favorite strings thus far for finger-style play. It's not just the fact they've got a lot of meat to grab, but they've got a bouncy resistance that I enjoy. They are responsive to both a light and heavy touch, and even compared to the lighter FL and FS sets I've tried, they just sound different: authoritative, woody, and wonky (in a good way). And they unexpectedly sound better than ever through the amp I just purchased, so I'm reluctant to give up on them.

    But my fretting hand and arm after 2-3 days of play/practice protest in a way that feels more than just general fatigue. I've managed to get the action lower and the E intonated better than my previous three attempts, and this seems to help greatly when actually playing. But today, I experienced something akin to a Charlie-horse spasm when driving in my fretting forearm that temporarily left me unable to hold the steering wheel with my left hand. And since this happened, I've had a dull but persistent pain in the same forearm and just above my elbow.

    The blame seems obvious: the strings are just too heavy. Perhaps, but I suspect it is more about deficient technique. I've got long, skinny fingers and thumbs. I've still got a bad habit of overextending my thumb behind the neck to pivot rather than shifting my whole hand. Having the action lower reduces the effort in grip, but having slender fingertips feels like I have to focus a bit more when fretting to keep from rolling off the larger strings with my ring/little fingers. I don't have big, thick bear paws, and I never will, but I'm hopeful I can play anything with some adaptation.

    Without the benefit of examining my technical flaws, am I just too optimistic thinking my hands could somehow be compatible with these beasts? Maybe tweaking my technique is the answer, or just more time building up strength, but I don't want to needlessly persevere and do damage when smaller sets do get close. Has anyone encountered something similar and found a way to make them work?
     
  2. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    P bass?
     
  3. Bruiser Stone

    Bruiser Stone Supporting Member

    Dec 7, 2017
    Tennessee
    Yes, 1978 model with 1 5/8” nut.
     
  4. Have you already tried: Warming up, stretches, self-massage, getting it massages, pain creams, heat, taking breaks, taking days off to rest/recover, etc.??
     
  5. Bruiser Stone

    Bruiser Stone Supporting Member

    Dec 7, 2017
    Tennessee
    Some stretching/massage, and last night a liberal application of Deep Blue helped. I’ll take 2-3 days off. I play almost everyday, seldom less than 30 minutes, sometimes 3+ hours. I could probably use a rest anyway, but these strings are different. I’ve played heavy gauge EB flats and GHS Boomers, and neither set left me with this feeling.
     
  6. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    I suspect that this is a technique issue that is just being exacerbated by the heavy strings.

    The first thing I'd look at is whether the wrist of your fretting hand is frequently bent. Fretting with a bent wrist saps much of the strength out of your fingers -- it's harder to press down on the string -- and can lead to serious injury (e.g., carpal tunnel) over time.

    Here's an oft-posted video that discusses the problem and offers a solution:

     
    2manynotes, Joedog and Bruiser Stone like this.
  7. Bruiser Stone

    Bruiser Stone Supporting Member

    Dec 7, 2017
    Tennessee
    Thx so much Lobster. First thing that jumped out at me...I’m a flat-finger offender. I’ll review this several times and work on it.
     
    Lobster11 likes this.
  8. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    Great -- let me know it works for you.

    BTW, I think "Bruiser and the Flat Finger Offenders" would be a great band name....
     
  9. Bruiser Stone

    Bruiser Stone Supporting Member

    Dec 7, 2017
    Tennessee
    It is going near the top of my short-list.
     
    Lobster11 likes this.
  10. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    Have you stretched the strings? Loosen them up a bit?
     
  11. Bruiser Stone

    Bruiser Stone Supporting Member

    Dec 7, 2017
    Tennessee
    I’ve had the strings on and off a few times, and now they do seem a little more pliable. I don’t know if that’s attributable to stronger fingers or them stretching. Even so, they still result in pain the next day. Will the strings gradually lose tension on a bass, or is there a specific technique to stretch them off of it?
     
  12. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    (What changed your bass life?)
    @inthevelvet's thread

    For me it was TI flats, and later the labella low tension flats. While I always liked playing bass, the flat wound sound coupled with the easy playing of the low tension changed everything. It was like I was fighting the instrument before, and then with these strings and a low action, the physical part of playing just became a non-issue. Just curious what other people had as game changers for them.
     
    Bruiser Stone likes this.
  13. Bruiser Stone

    Bruiser Stone Supporting Member

    Dec 7, 2017
    Tennessee
    I’ve tried TI’s for about 3 months. Loved the sound of them with a pick, but they never felt right fretting or plucking. But I’ve actually just lucked up on another solution...I traded one of my heads for a second bass two days ago. It comes with flats and sounds perfect. The strings on it have black silks at the tuners, so initially I thought they were LaBella 760FS, but they’ve also got black silks at the ball ends, so I’m not so sure. But if I can find another set of these, they sound and feel amazing. More tension than TI’s, but definitely a step or two down from Jamersons.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2019
    Stumbo likes this.
  14. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    I suggest taking pics of the strings and starting another thread to see if anyone can identify them for you. :thumbsup:

    Happy playing!
     
    Bruiser Stone likes this.
  15. Bruiser Stone

    Bruiser Stone Supporting Member

    Dec 7, 2017
    Tennessee
    Thx Stumbo. After some research, I think they are Dunlop flats.
     
  16. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Mar 4, 2021

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