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Play thru the pain?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by EriktheRed, Mar 23, 2010.

  1. EriktheRed


    Dec 13, 2008
    Northern IL
    Another question from a rookie...

    When I play the main riff of the bassline to the the song Money, I do it the way I've seen it tabbed in more than source:


    Here's the problem: after doing that a few times it starts to HURT. Specifically, I feel it in the muscle at the base of my thumb. After a while, it gets to be a distraction. I keep my thumb behind the neck and I have to move slightly to go from the 2nd to the 5th fret.

    So my question to those who have been playing a while is this: Is it normal to have this kind of discomfort when you've started playing riffs like the one above? Does it go away after a while with practice?

    Should I just keep playing 'til my fretting hand gets used to the movement or should I start playing open strings in place of the 5th fret notes? I want to do the song the way it's supposed to be played, but not if I feel like this.

  2. How long have you been playing?
  3. Tim C.

    Tim C.

    Feb 4, 2010
    Play open strings instead of the fifth fret notes. When I saw Roger Waters in 2007 that's what he did.

    Also make sure you're keeping your wrist straight and not putting your thumb joint at weird angles.
  4. maybe your putting too much force on ur thumb to the neck. i remember it took me some time to get more comfortable with playing the line
  5. purpletornado


    Aug 5, 2009
    When I play that riff I just play the open strings, as stated above. Much less stress on my hand and it still sounds good, at least to my ear.
  6. Mayers

    Mayers Guest

    Sep 28, 2007
    If you feel pain you do something wrong.

    You may be too forcing or a bad hand position ... so relax, be sure you have a good warm up.
  7. Rocinante_x1

    Rocinante_x1 Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

    Aug 22, 2004
    Washington State
    dont have such a tight grip on the neck.
  8. EriktheRed


    Dec 13, 2008
    Northern IL
    Bass the last 2 1/2 years, but guitar on and off for over 20 before that. Obviously, guitar doesn't have the fret length the average bass does.
  9. EriktheRed


    Dec 13, 2008
    Northern IL
    Ok, thanks guys.

    I think I'll just start playing open strings.
  10. James Judson

    James Judson

    Jul 16, 2009
    Force that pinky to behave. The stretch is really not to much. But with that said when its the end of the night and your tired do it the easy way.
  11. 2 1/2 years, you should be over the newness. You're squeezing too hard or expecting too much too soon.

    Whatever you do, do not play through pain. You're only begging for a long term injury if you do.

    Either alter your fingering, lighten your touch, or take breaks and give your hand a chance to get stronger and more flexible.

    Good luck!
  12. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    Eastern North Dakota
    Pain means something is wrong. Maybe bad technique, maybe something else. Don't listen to people who say suck it up and get over it. Pain is our bodies way of saying stop that.

    I have tried to play thru the pain on an EUB. Last night I bought a Rob Allen. My pain will be gone and I'll still sound great - I hope.
  13. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    My natural reaction to hearing that tune would be to use a 1-2-4 fingering and open strings.
  14. +1

    I'd play open A and D
  15. open strings are the ones

    and relax that hand. Lower the action, give yourself some rest
  16. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    Indulge me please and try this. Play the riff a few times and then again with out any thumb contact on the back of the neck. In the first one you are gripping the neck with the tendons and muscle group at the base of you thumb. In the second one you are using the muscles in you forearms and these are the correct muscle groups to use your fingers. Your thumb has really no role in fretting, we tend to use it because it is there. Its role, if any is to keep out of the way and be a pivot if it has to be used rather than a grip.
    see link

  17. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    Eastern North Dakota
    I think people should use 1-2-4 fingering over 1-2-3-4 anyway. Way better for your hand.

    ODDBALL Supporting Member

    Mar 2, 2005
    Salida, CA

    Why is that? Not to sound rude. I am still learning to fret more relaxed.

  19. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    I agree with SteveC.

    Especially when playing on the lower frets ( 1-5).

    Dave Marks explains the reasons why very well on this clip.

  20. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    Eastern North Dakota
    I just see a lot of players trying the 1 finger per fret thing and I see the tension it causes in their hand. I also have upright bass background so that has an influence. Still, 1-2-4 reduces stress and tension on your hand and allows for good hand position and fingering. Once I get up to the 12th fret or so, I will use my 3rd finger more, even 1 finger per fret, but spacing is different up there.

    There's nothing wrong with being more relaxed, no matter how you choose to finger.
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