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Pain in thumb, how to fix so it doesn't happen?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Murmaider, Oct 28, 2013.

  1. Murmaider


    Oct 20, 2013
    Just got my bass and am playing fingerstyle.

    I'm aware that there are 3 ways of fingerstyle:floating thumb, full anchor, and moveable anchor or something along those lines.

    I've been anchoring my thumb on the pickup and keeping it there when I go up the strings, and after a while I get a pain in the joint where my thumb connects to my hand.

    Does this mean that the full anchor is a bad technique? I've tried switching to the moveable anchor and I can't get it down when you go up the strings, especially down them.

    Am I just anchoring wrong or should I start using the moveable anchor or even the floating thumb techniques?
  2. prater


    Aug 4, 2011
    I had this problem when I was starting out and it only recently went away. I like to use the pickup as an anchor but sometimes I float depending on the groove.

    One thing that helped me quite a bit was adjusting my strap height, for me I moved it up a bit and it helped a lot with pain in both hands.

    But I think the main thing that helped me was just playing more, especially with a beat so you get to feel the groove more and your fingers get faster. I think it is a combination of your hands getting more used to the positions and the fact that you relax as you become more skilled and don't tense up your hand as much.

    My teacher also made some adjustments to my hand position that I didn't actively take into consideration but his constant adjustment of my plucking and fretting technique seemed to stick even though I didn't notice it because now he always tells me how much better my hand positioning is vs. when we started.

    So my advice, get in the groove, relax, and play more.
  3. LanEvo

    LanEvo Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2008
    It's a sign that you're pushing too hard. Yours hands/arms/neck shouldn't be tense. You have to force yourself to loosen up your grip and relax a bit.

    Meanwhile, if you're feeling pain, you should take a rest before you inure yourself. Take care of your hands!
  4. nolezmaj


    Sep 22, 2011
    Had same problem years ago - I played with fixed thumb on a wide 5 stringer. I also put too much weight on that thumb, and guitar was too high.
    I changed everything a little - lowered guitar just a little, changed the angle (less horizontal) and most importantly - relaxed my right hand.
    Maybe you are pushing yourself too hard - practise simple and undemanding patterns and always remember to relax bith hands.
  5. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    +1 to all the above.

    OP, you said you cant get the movable anchor to work for you. Nothing unusual here, considering you also state that you have just got your bass.

    You are going to have to be prepared to be patient. Things are not going to happen without that old boring word....PRACTICE ;)

    Lots of people anchor their thumb on the pick up, but it can lead to hand/wrist problems at a later time due to the wrist being at a severe angle. Ideally, both wrists should be as straight as possible. Experiment with what suits you best. If you do decide to anchor, then dont press down too hard with the thumb.

    A final piece of advice would be not to over do the playing time for now until your hands/fingers/wrists adapt. Increase the playing time gradually.

    Best of luck with it. ;)

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