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Playing in a cold room and (need some performance/medical advice)

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Fassa Albrecht, Feb 25, 2008.

  1. I recently discovered that in cold situations my fingers become numb and then tingle to the point where I'm in extreme pain. As you can imagine this isn't the best situation for anything, yet alone bassplaying.

    The problem is that if I am going to be playing regularly at church then I'm going to have a bit of an issue as we're being forced to move soon due to building works from the main building and the new room is FREEZING. I'm worried incase I go to band and my fingers go numb.

    Does anyone know what I can do to either prevent this in the first place or at least help me in my bass playing?
  2. You have a few options available to you:

    Wear something that keeps your head warm to reduce loss of body heat. Wear fingerless gloves, or something around your wrists like sweat bands, or rub your wrists together between songs to slightly increase the temperature of your blood.

    Move around more to keep your body temperature higher.

    Ask the church to install heaters.

    Get a custom bass made with demisters in the frets :D

    Or suck it up and learn to play numb and in pain :)

  3. A few questions then-

    -Will I be able to slap with fingerless gloves on? I'd have thought it would restrict the wrist.

    - What would you say if I told you there's not enough room for me to actually move anywhere, apart from if I really want to go behind the drumkit?
  4. Slapping is a personal technique. The best way to find out whether fingerless gloves impede your ability to slap is to put a pair on and give it a go :)

    You could always jump up and down on the spot. Not sure how that would work with praise music, but it's an option to consider at least. Of course if you jump sideways you could end up with a domino effect :D

    I guess the best way to eliminate cold finger pain when you can't move or wear clothing that helps would be to make sure your action is set very low so you don't have to put too much pressure on the strings while playing. That will only help so much of course, but might provide enough relief to get through the gig.

    Lastly, perhaps consider moving to a more temperate climate, like Australia, where these problems come up maybe once or twice a year :D :D
  5. reverb508


    Jan 6, 2008
  6. if its above freezing suck it up (I'm from Michigan).

    Keep your hands in your pants (yes, i know what i'm talking about)

    Hand warmer packs

    practice at home with the thermostat turned down so your used to it

    keep moving your fingers at all times, even when your not playing

    Scalding hot water on hands before you start playing

    BTW: WATCH your intonation
  7. I use hot water on the hands right before playing and it works well.
  8. palm grease

    palm grease

    Dec 10, 2007
    those little hand warmers work wonders for me!
    the 1st hour in my studio is super chilly! so i got a 20 pack of those hand warmers and im all set! i also 2nd the hat suggestion! both work for me!

    make sure you warm up too...i mean scales n stuff! play slow and steady and focus on your attack! make sure your not over doin it!
  9. bigfatbass

    bigfatbass Banned

    Jun 30, 2003
    Upstate NY
    Endorsing Artist: Karl Hoyt Basses
    The things that work best for me are:

    1. Hat. most of your heat leaves through your melon

    2. Vest with pockets. Warm core = warm extremities

    3. Keep said pockets full of the above-mentioned hand warmers! Those little packets of felt and goo saved me a million times. Best thing ever for frosty fingers at a cold gig.

    4. Remember to breath normally, and deeply, (in through the nose if possible) while playing. Once you start to tense up from the cold you've lost, because that is the feeling of your body constricting blood flow to your non essential bits.
  10. chucko58


    Jan 17, 2002
    Silicon Valley, CA, USA
    I paid for all my gear myself. Well, me and MasterCard.
    The OP's description sounds like the onset of carpal tunnel syndrome. You definitely don't want to go there!

    Take a look at your wrist angles and how you wear your bass. Anything you can do to straighten your wrists will improve the situation. I wound up having to buy different instruments because of this issue.

    Caffeine and nicotine are vasoconstrictors, that is, they cause the body to reduce the flow of blood to the extremities. Many cold medications have the same effect. If you can avoid using these, it should help.
  11. :bawl:

    Well this is what I thought but I had a medical exam for this which came back clear.

    As for wrist angles this is a bit of a kicker for me. I've had all this stuff checked out and this isn't the problem. I can't wear my bass any higher because otherwise I feel cramped. I do wear my Shergold low but my Yamaha is too awkward to play if I wear it low.
  12. Earthquake


    Dec 19, 2007
    Because the problem is cold temperature induced, it didn't sound like Carpal tunnel syndrome to me. How cold of a room are you playing in? Are both hands going numb? How old are you? Give more information and maybe I can point you in the right direction if it's more than just a super cold room. I'm a doctor.
  13. Ripper


    Aug 16, 2005
    i have a set of gloves that i wear when playing in the cold... a stretchy, one-size-fits-all glove with these little inserts in the fingers for my left (fretting) hand... the inserts are just some vinyl that i cut to match my finger size... and for my right (plucking) hand i have a golf glove... works VERY well in the cold, especially combined with those little hand warmers between songs...

    and yes you can slap with it... but all the tones will end up warmer, and i've found i can actually play faster because of the decreased friction on the fretting glove... does take some getting used to though
  14. Qvist


    Jul 20, 2007
    Or you could play with a pick :)
  15. droskobass


    Oct 8, 2007
    Montreal, Canada
    Former Part-Time, Non-Commission Employee MOOG Audio
    I do this before every time I play. It has the dual benefit of making strings last 4-5 times as long !!

    It may not be acceptable in church but waering a wool beanie will help you stay warm. Thin sweaters help me stay warm in winter months up here in montreal (think Mohair if your a punk) or anything with at least 50% wool (not synthetic).

    believe it or not, warm socks help a lot too. get socks with Marino wool.

    good luck!!

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