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Pinky Injury

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by bassista6, Oct 22, 2010.


  1. bassista6

    bassista6

    Feb 13, 2009
    I've been playing bass consistently since January and haven't had any injuries until now. I've had an intense pain in the first joint of my left hand pinky for the last 3 weeks. The finger hurts the worst when I play the D and G strings usually when I play the thicker strings it doesn't bother me. Most days if I play through the pain for ten minutes or so it goes away, but then the next time I go to play it's back again. I got a Fender Precision bass off of ebay and it has earnie ball hybrid slinky strings on it. There is no pain when I I'm not playing the bass I can bend it and put pressure on it with no problems. If I take my other hand and place the pinky on a string with it and then let go there's no pain even though my pinky is holding down the note with it's own strength. It just doesn't make sense. I've been trying to stretch it, but nothing seems to help. I would think it might just need to get stronger, but if that case how come it's never bothered me before. It feels normal to the touch and it looks normal, so I can't figure out what the problem is. The only changes that I can think of since this pain started is that I have a new bass (I used to play a Stagg BC300) I have different strings (I used to use GHS strings) and that it's usually cold in my house now that the weather has changed and therefore my fingers are usually cold even after playing for a few hours. Could any of these things cause my problem. If anyone has experienced something like this and can help me I'd really appreciate it. Thanks.
     
  2. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Braintree
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    Few things to mention. Injuries such as a wear and tear issue caused by over playing with a miss-use seem to come from no where. Truth is they have been just developing to the position where they cause pain, much as in the same way many things happen in the body.

    You have been playing bass a short time in the grand scheme of things and it sound like you have been using your little finger unsupported and stretched. When you bend it to play notes it is weak hence the pain, you play though the pain hence the trouble is never addressed and you continue to overplay with a miss-use making it weaker.

    Look at using a Simandl technique for you fingering till you improve you hands ability to cope.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franz_Simandl

    I would see a teacher and just have your technique looked at to make sure you are not putting un-due pressure on your playing. You do not say what type of music yo play or the height of the bass as it hangs on you. Height can cause some issues that cause the fingers/wrist to be put under stress.
    Warm up and stretch before sessions and break your session up into segments, long hours playing are not good for the body of players. Have regular breaks and drink water and eat bananas or such like foods bars to keep energy levels up.

    If it persists see a medical doctor and have it checked out, remember never play through any pain and take the rest......it is the best cure for injuries.
     
  3. bassista6

    bassista6

    Feb 13, 2009
    I've never had an injury like this wear it only hurts when I do one thing. I have been doing the one finger fret above the 5th fret and 1-2-4 below it. I have been resting the pinky and just using the other three fingers for the past week, but it doesn't seem to be getting better. I always warm up for ten to 15 minutes and I've just started stretches my wrists and fingers before playing. The water is good advice for me I know I don't drink enough, so I'm going to try to implement that as well. I play a lot of styles mostly funk, but also rock pop worship etc. I have a pretty light touch when I'm playing quickly, but when I have to hold a note down for too long I notice that I put way too much pressure on that finger. If I don't use the extra pressure I can't get the note to ring out as long as it should. As far as where my bass hangs I'm not able to stand playing for a long period because of a shoulder injury I sustained a year ago. I usually play seated and I haven't figured out a way to get the bass at a good level for seated play. If anyone has any advice for that I'd appreciate it. I also notice that very often I grip with my thumb at the back of the neck too hard. I sprained my left thumb back in July and so it forced me to fix my thumb technique. I've been gripping a lot looser, but now that I've fixed that I've been having problems with the pinky. I'm going to have someone look at my technique and tell me what I should change and I'll continue to rest the finger. Hopefully that will help. I don't think this is a bad injury I just have to allow it heal and find a way to prevent it from happening again. Thanks for the reply.
     
  4. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Braintree
    Retrovibe Artist rota
  5. bassista6

    bassista6

    Feb 13, 2009
    Thanks for the link. I wish I could have found this months ago. I struggled with my thumb position for months. Now that the sprain has healed I still forget and grip too hard sometimes. I always kept my thumb in the back of the neck cause that was the way I was taught, but I often put to much pressure on it. I'm going to pay more attention to that now and try some of the positions you mentioned. Especially the one about playing up high on the bass that's always been hard for me. I have a precision too and the body can get in the way if you don't find a thumb position that works for you. Your blog is very informative. Thanks. As far as the pinky goes I'm going to continue to rest it and hope it heals very soon.
     
  6. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Braintree
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    No probs, if you (or anybody) have any questions, post them or drop me a PM.
     
  7. bassista6

    bassista6

    Feb 13, 2009
    I've really been paying attention to my technique over the last week and I've realized that I've been playing with the pads of my fingers as opposed to the fingertips. It's really unnatural for me to play with my fingertips, but I notice that when I do I have have an easier time keeping my non fretting fingers down and I don't have any pain in the pinky. When I play with the top part of the pad of my fingers I notice that the first joint bends backwards quite a bit and that's probably how I sustained this injury. I've also noticed that when I play standing which I'm unable to do for extended periods of time I have no pain in my pinky. I'm going to have to change my technique which isn't going to be easy, but I'm glad I figured this out sooner rather than later. Does anyone have any advice on how I can start using my fingertips to fret instead of the pads of my fingers. I'd really appreciate it. I've still been resting the pinky by playing things that don't require me to use it. Since I have a harder time playing without using the pinky I've been working on different things like harmonics which is good. I finally decided to tackle Victor Wooten's Amazing Grace, but I really want to be able to use my pinky again.
     

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