pain in thumb while using a pick

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Mytt88, Feb 28, 2017.

  1. Mytt88


    Jan 18, 2011
    Hey guys recently I've been getting shooting pains in my picking hand thumb and after a practice session or gig it and aches all week and occasionally locks up until I have to click it back. It's got to the point i find it difficult holding a pen to write with. I might have to stop playing

    I'v started using my fingers more to compensate out of avoiding the pain but a past injury means I can't feel the end of one of my fingers so I can't really rely on that either.

    Just incase this is a common problem has anyone had this experience before?

    I've had problems with my wrists but that seems to have gone away and it feels similar to when I torn a ligament in my finger but Im pretty sure its not that because its not permanently bent down.
  2. I developed tendinitis in my right hand thumb from bad technique. Most of the time it's having too much curve in the wrist. Next time you are at your doctor's office mention it.

    WalMart has a thumb brace ($9 to $12) you can wear at night. Six to eight hours of rest, as you sleep, does help. I did end up having the operation. Day surgery and I was back playing in a week.

    Good luck.
    Mytt88 likes this.
  3. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Ouch! Sorry to hear. :(

    A couple of tips from my experience:

    1. Keep everything loose and relaxed. Don't use too much force or grip too hard.

    2. Be sure to keep your thumb and index finger in a nice, round circle, like you are making a big "OK" hand gesture. Avoid forming your thumb and 1st finger into a "teardrop" shape.
    Mytt88 and dtripoli like this.
  4. BassAndReeds


    Oct 7, 2016
    Where are your middle to ring fingers when you pick? If they are away from your first finger, that might be your issue. In which case, try having all your fingers together to support each other. That may help you ease up on the thumb pressure.

    Maybe a video of you playing would help diagnose the issue.
    Mytt88 likes this.
  5. How do you hold your pick and how tightly do you grasp it?
  6. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    Mushroo and Mytt88 like this.
  7. Mytt88


    Jan 18, 2011

    Here's a video close up of my technique if that helps. I think maybe my thumb is to flat and absorbing too much if the impact/shock. Definitely not rounded

    Thanks for the suggestions so far I need to catch up on reading the links. I used to use picks and I've recentlying tried thinner ones for more flex I may try going lighter again as well as tying the suggestions.
  8. BassAndReeds


    Oct 7, 2016
    That helps our diagnosis. Truthfully, I couldn't play the way you are playing. Not to say that it's wrong. But it does seem to be more of a guitarist style of picking than a bass style picking. I say this, because your lower 3 fingers are away from the fingers holding the thumb. I think guitarists don't have an issue with this technique because their string tension and spacing are lighter than on bass. However, in my opinion, this does not work for bass because the strings are heavier, and the added strength to hold onto a pick at this tension can lead to injury. I'm not sure if others will agree with me, so don't take me as gospel. Just my opinion.

    If you want, maybe give the following technique a try. I'm not so much into his "rotation" explanation, as I pick with an up and down motion from the elbow, not a rotation. But his first point about holding the hand and thumb is spot on how I hold my pick. Maybe it'll help you as well.
  9. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    You're holding the pick too far back against your thumb. That's just asking for pain. I hold it loosely (hard enough to not drop it, but not any harder) between the tip of my thumb and pointer finger. I've never had a problem using a pick that way. You look like you're almost making a fist with the way you're clenching that pick.
  10. 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.

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