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Pain with the bass

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by jionunez, Apr 4, 2014.

  1. jionunez


    Apr 4, 2014
    So I'm a beginning bass player, and one of my biggest problems is holding the damn thing. I've tried shifting the bass to different angles and playing both sitting down and standing up, and my elbow starts to hurt, almost immediately. It's a pretty dull pain and doesn't go away until I stop playing. Also, trying to get all of my fingers down on the fretboard only makes it worse and make my hand hurt. This is a really frustrating problem because I really want to learn to play, but even holding it correctly hurts me, and my hand is at such a weird angle that I can barely move my fingers let alone press the strings. Literally, the only position I've found so far that I can play with no pain at all, and able to actually move my fingers and press the strings is when the bass is almost upright. Remember I'm a beginner, so I'd prefer tips on how I can train my left arm to be more comfortable with the playing position.:confused:
  2. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    Hi, and welcome to the low end ! :)

    Below are some links that will explain things better than I ever could. I have linked right and left hand technique also.

    Pain should never be an issue when playing the bass. If you experience it, dont play through it, but find the cause and correct it.

    At one time we were all at the place you are at now. To start, just play for very short periods and increase the time gradually.

    Sorry... I did not mean to lecture, just want to offer some friendly advice. :)

    Here are the links :

    Holding the bass :


    Left Hand Technique :

    BTW the first link is taken from the "Bass Guitar for Dummies" book, which IMO would be a great investment for someone starting from absolute scratch. Your local library might stock it. Comes with a CD.

    Best of luck with it. :bassist:
  3. bluesdogblues


    Nov 13, 2007
    ^ ^ ^
    Floating Thumb!
    I've been thinking about it this whole day.
    I'm gonna try it. Who knows? maybe I'll have to rediscover (again) my bassplaying and start learning and using float thumb exclusively.
    Thanks for the link fearceol :)
  4. thedane


    Sep 25, 2011
    Bill Wyman of The Rolling Stones spent his whole career playing his bass in a near-vertical position.

    It might not look "Cool and bitching and hip" and all that....but ya can't say it's wrong!
  5. Hi,

    Strap height is crucial for the long term, and it's different for all of us since we're all built differently. I cannot play sitting down as I find my wrists end up in really uncomfortable positions and I end up in pain after about 10 minutes.

    In addition to the videos posted by fearceol, here's a few more.

    One Finger Per Fret: especially the five videos at the bottom of the page.

    +1 to taking it easy. When the bug bites, it's tempting to play for hours on end... Don't. Limit yourself to half an hour a day to begin with then gradually build up to gig length.

  6. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    You are welcome. :)

    I was lucky in that my teacher introduced me to it at a very early stage before any other technique had become the norm.

    The great advantage is that apart from muting unwanted harmonics, with the FT the wrist is straight, thus avoiding any potential injury problems at a later time.

    Well worth persevering with IMO.
  7. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    Yes, stop when there is pain do not try and work through it. Find what is making the pain and correct that.

    You will be asking your body to do a lot of things it has not done before - several short practice sessions seem to work better than one long session.

    A month of lessons from someone that does play the bass will correct most of what you have asked about.

    Good luck and welcome to the bottom end.
  8. willeb


    Jan 27, 2014
    Hartford, CT
    What kind of bass are you playing? I had this problem when I first started with wider necks. The angle required to play a broad neck didn't agree with me. I moved to a narrow neck and the problem resolved itself..
  9. metalhead398


    Jul 23, 2013
    So did Fieldy from Korn. Contrary to popular belief, he's a good bass player.