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Picking cramps!!

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by eupharies, Jan 12, 2012.

  1. eupharies


    Jul 3, 2007
    Leeds UK
    Bassist - Chasing Dragons

    Ive read every thread to do with this trust me haha so no need to mention carole kay

    Ive recently joined a new band and i suffered in the old one a bit, but i found having the bass higher upon on my body..helped a bit

    My new band are going places and 1st gig with them is in 2 weeks... the set is double the length so... im really worried about getting cramp...

    I was thinking of getting a thumb pick which would make me grip the pick less hard i guess...

    Reckon this would work?
  2. Warfender


    Oct 25, 2009
    I get cramps and fatigue as well sinc mainly finger picker. Where are you getting cramps? Maybe you are gripping too tight if cramping in your fingers.

    I mainly get a tired wrist, so I'm prorbably doing something wrong.
  3. EricF

    EricF Habitual User

    Sep 26, 2005
    Pasadena, CA
    Practice. You're cramping because your muscles aren't used to playing that long and hard, and they're getting tired. Adjusting your position may help, but it's largely about building your endurance.
  4. I have also thought about thumb picks, haven't tried them yet so no input there, but I have found picks that are smooth, slip around in my fingers which makes me grip them tighter, then the cramping and fatigue can set in.
    For me the solution is to use picks that are rougher in texture or have raised grooves to help the finger grip. If the pick doesn't slip I am more relaxed.
    Also I keep a hand towel next to me and every couple of songs or so I wipe my hand dry and the pick if it needs it.
  5. DBCrocky


    Oct 18, 2011
    Cary, NC
    I used to get a lot of thumb cramp when picking. Two things helped:

    1) Turn up - if you have to play hard to be heard, you'll grip tighter and bring on the cramps.

    2) Use picks with a rough surface - Dunlop Nylon Standard or Max Grip, or Snarling Dog Brain Picks, again so you don't have to grip so hard to hold on to the pick, especially if your hand get's sweaty.
  6. 4-stringB


    Jun 10, 2010
    Try buffing the pick (or just the part you touch)with rough sandpaper, with a good tractive surface you won't have to grip so hard. Another thing, I wear my bass low and use my arm and shoulder with my wrist relatively straight for most of the picking motion. Cuts down on wrist fatigue for me. The folks that wear the bass up high, with bent wrist seem to invite carpal issues. However, I could be wrong..Good luck...
  7. Jay2U

    Jay2U Not as bad as he lóòks

    Dec 7, 2010
    22 ft below sea level
    I've tried a thumb pick, just because of curiosity. To my opinion it doesn't work for the bass. I think it clumsy, it slows me down a lot. It gets stuck between strings and bangs against the pickups, so I put it away. We have a great variety of picks here, as my son plays guitar. Amongst them there are several types of grip picks. Some are rough like sandpaper, others just have a grippy surface. One I'd like to mention is a pick from DAVA which is partly covered with rubber. In general the grip picks work a little more relaxed.

  8. eupharies


    Jul 3, 2007
    Leeds UK
    Bassist - Chasing Dragons
    cool thanks for the advice, i get the cramp in the meaty bit under the thumb... gets to the point where i dont even know if im holding the pick anymore haha
  9. eupharies


    Jul 3, 2007
    Leeds UK
    Bassist - Chasing Dragons
    i currently use dunlop shark fins as the bigger surface has helped but not completely!
  10. maxiegrant

    maxiegrant Bassist in Transition

    Nov 26, 2007
    Sellersburg, IN
    You are holding it too tightly.

    Practice strictly right-hand stuff for awhile -- and hold the pick as lightly as you can. Just pick open strings, eighth-notes or whatever, while you watch TV or something. Rest when it gets tired. Always start holding as lightly as possible. Build up your stamina and pay attention to how your hand feels. Stop when it gets sore.
  11. +1. S squeeze it just enough to avoid dropping it. Let it flop back and forth in your grip. Play as lightly as possible, with the least possible motion.
  12. i have the same problem, and dunlop max grip picks seem to help. i play really hard and end up doing a lot of speed picking and chords with my band so i have to have a pretty good hold on the pick so it doesnt go flying out of my hand. used to have a lot of cramping in the palm of my hand and forearm, but most of that has gone away since i switched to the max grips. i dont have to grip as tightly as i did with smoother picks and i really like the nylon because it slides over the strings a lot easier. also as others have suggested, i try to play as light as possible for the most part, and play harder during the parts of the songs where some extra volume and punch is needed. ive also noticed that if i use my whole arm as well as my wrist to pick a fair amount of stress is taken off my wrist/hand.
  13. Audiopip


    Mar 21, 2010
    I still get cramps in the muscle between the thumb and the index finger on my picking hand.
    So basically I dont use a pick.

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