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Painfull fingers... What am i doing wrong?!?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Frxns, Apr 3, 2013.

  1. Frxns


    Mar 27, 2013
    Hi all, i'm new to playing bass. I've been playing for a couple of months now...
    Everything goes well, except for one thing..
    If i play on a rehearsal or at home for,a longer time i get this terrible pain in my fingertops on. Both hands ( only the fingers i use)
    It doesj't seem to go away even after couple of months...
    Maybe this is a silly or stupid topic but i want to know from experienced bass players if they had this problem too in their starting phase...
    What's the trick? Bite trough the pain? Do i have to play more to grow more hard skin on the tops? Am i doing it wrong, maybe i use a bad technique?

  2. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    Just keep on playing, but dont over do it, or you will get blisters. Increase the playing time gradually and your fingers will harden up. Make sure that you are not pressing down unnecessarily hard on the strings when you fret. As far as the plucking fingers are concerned, try to play with a light touch. If you need volume, rather than play harder, use the amp's volume knob.
  3. Nashrakh


    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    Good points so far, I would add that a good setup goes a long way.

    You don't need a lot of pressure in your fretting hand if the action is set properly - last rehearsal I let our singer play my axe and she always looked like she was wrestling with the thing until I told her that beyond a certain point at which the string makes contact with the fret and sounds clearly, energy is wasted.

    Having pain in both your hands would indicate to me that you do indeed play to hard though. As pointed out, reduce the pressure, turn up the amp if necessary to compensate for potential volume loss.

    If blisters are your problem, some might say you gotta toughen up. If you struggle with it for months now I guess the problem lies deeper, so setup would be my first reaction to this situation!
  4. Pressing hard is only really required on a fretless instrument. It often helps to get better intonation on the lower notes.

    However as said above, if your action is reasonably good, you don't have to press that hard.

    Another tip is to dip your fingers in vinegar... i have heard that this helps your fingers... never tried it though because i use the method below.

    I play for a few hours until my fingers hurt and nearly start to blister then stop.

    Play the nest day until the same point... (this is far faster as they are slightly sore from the day before)]

    Repeat this for a few days until your fingers become sore after 5 minutes.

    Then take a few days rest until your fingers feel alot better.

    Then repeat.

    However NEVER let them blister, then you can't play, and also NEVER burst the blisters, because the skin underneath is VERY fragile and sensitive.

    Hope that helps
  5. AuntieBeeb


    Dec 12, 2010
    Yep, if it's pain in both hands I would agree with fearceol and Nashrakh. If you're quite new to it, then it will take a bit of time to build up both your muscles and your fingertips. Work on it gradually, and be sensible about it - I remember that feeling when you get your first bass, you want to practice for eight hours a day come hell or high water, but you have to let your hands rest and recover! In time, you'll have bulletproof fingertips like the rest of us.

    And, yeah, don't knacker your plucking hand. Nothing's more dispiriting than belting those strings and still being unable to hear yourself, especially when that hand starts to cramp. Make the amp do the hard work for you!
  6. Frxns


    Mar 27, 2013
    Allright, hearing a lot of good tips here, i guess you guys are right about the fret pressing, i guess i do press kinda hard because i'm a bit new to it, and for my other hand you could be right as well, i ordered a,powerfull amp but awaiting that one i have been playing for a couple of months on my friend's peavy... And it's not so powerfull. As for the vinegar i would try it if the first two tips don't work:)).
    Thanks allready!
  7. Frxns


    Mar 27, 2013
    By the way jmclearnon did this practice for you help you when you just started playing the bass? Because it looks hard but pretty effective! I guess i should give that one a try soon, thanks
  8. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    The point of it hurting even "after a couple of months", is an issue.
    Depending on how hard and how often you are playing it is a variable, but the body will normally compensate for that by giving you indicators......do you have blisters for example?
    No blisters would indicate not a pressure issue or even a skin hardening issue.

    Allergic reactions to certain string compositions is not un-common, Nickel strings are a popular one for this as nickel is a popular allergic contact dermatitis metal alloy, it means that your immune system over-reacts when your skin touches certain substances.
    The symptoms may include rashes, redness, swelling pain, or combinations of these symptoms.
    While people can develop allergies to a number of types of metal, nickel allergies remain one the most common type of allergic contact dermatitis in the todays modern world.

    So check out the possibility of it being not technique related as you do not seem to show (or did not mention blisters or joint or muscular pain) the common mis-use and over use causes.
    Maybe nothing....maybe something, coated strings or stainless are good options to change to, may even be the roughness of your strings so try a ground wound or even flats.:)

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