Greetings to all fellow players. Without trying too hard, I'm seeing a lot of posts about pains in hands, arms and shoulders. I get these from time to time and I sympathise with you. I'm just in to my second year of learning- a very slow learner in his forties. I remember going through a period of bad pain in the back of my fretting hand not so long ago- it was putting me off playing. My teacher told me to give it a rest for a while, and not to try 'working through the pain'. Bearing in mind the tension in the face of a small child learning to draw the letters of the alphabet for the first time, I decided to try and be kind to that hand. Here is a list of some of the things that I got in to: ( in no particular order). Massaging in homeopathic ointments (before bed) that I had lying around (belonging to an earlier girlfriend)! These where rus tox and ruta grav. My sister, an aromatherapist, made up an oil that I've also started using. I went with some family members to see a healer who was well known in the uk for her abilities with both animals and humans- without any clues, she correctly identified that one of my knees is troublesome, and then went on to work on my left shoulder, which hadn't been giving me any grief ( that I knew of). Get a massage from a capable person? Basic Alexander technique, used a lot by classical players, suggests not having a 'knee jerk' response to life's problems- to slow down and look at what's happening. Unfortunately I can't afford to see a a specialist but- I gave some thought to how I was using my left hand when playing- not relaxing, not warming up, playing when I'd just come in from the cold. Was I using my thumb as one part of a vice grip? One of my books suggests that the thumb isn't to be used that way when playing- that fretting pressure is provided by a combination of the hand, arm and shoulder. I now include periods in my practice where I try and forget about perfect technique- I just bang around, listening to the musicial result. One can have too much theory, scales arpeggios, finger exercises etc. The end result is supposed to be music isn't it? That much said, many exercises seem impossible at first, but get easier with time... I've also decided that I need to change my bass. I've seen advice that playing a few different ones before buying is the way to do it. I didn't do that for my first bass. I just bought what I thought was a quality item straight off ebay. It's a Stenberger spirit Xt- sounds great, has a nice neck, but, in my case, doesn't sit easily on the knee ( positions the nut too far from the torso, resulting in further arm/ hand problems), and it doesn't hang well on it's strap- fetboard moves out from body so that I can't see over the frets. Probably OK for an experienced player, but not for where I'm at. (Having been driving for years I can make sense of any vehicle quickly). Initial research and budget is pointing towards a Yamaha RBX 374, but I'm going to look and play around a fair bit, and get it (more) right this time! And Yoga. Lossen up those limbs and the mind, and relax that overworked body! Sorry this has become a stream of conciousness, but it's important that I can offer my support to anyone who's in pain like I was! Just time a a quick practice before bedtime... one and two and three and... Here's a link from a bloke who has opinions on the above stuff: http://188.8.131.52/ > select 'trenches', then article 'Healing Your Hands' . There are some clues in it. Nite all.