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problem and pain

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by wishforbass, Feb 11, 2017.

  1. wishforbass


    Jun 23, 2016
    ok last week my teacher said the way I play bass is wrong and it lead me bad habit and effect clean playing and lead me can't do muting .
    then he learned me how to play bass .
    I have smaller finger than him .
    he said I should put my thumb behind the neck instead of over it and grab it like bass ball bat.
    he said because I have smaller finger for have better reach point I should put thumb a little lower than middle of the neck .
    I did this and lead I can play better and move my finger more near strings but I have a problem now .
    when I put thumb behind the neck lower than middle then of it .my thumb that push behind the neck is ok but after few nots I start feel pain in thumb and lower of my Thumb I feel pain and it's like a muscles is in a position that it's not powerful for there or not made to have pressure there .
    the pain go between my thumb and ring finger have pain and discomfort.
    what is your idea ? Am I using wrong technique?or my muscle is weak?

    Attached Files:

    Fergie Fulton likes this.
  2. wishforbass


    Jun 23, 2016
    here my finger distance I think the finger distance is so much from fret board ,am I right ?
    or it's enough and good distance?
    specially I play fast style of music

    Attached Files:

  3. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    You're teacher is right. It is not a baseball bat.
    You are training your hand and a lot of nerves & muscles
    need to adjust. This takes time.
    Have fun.
    bassinflorida and wishforbass like this.
  4. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    Here are two video clips that are worth watching.

  5. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    In my opinion: you are squeezing too tight with your thumb and compressing the "life line" of your palm. See how the palm of your hand looks like a butt crack? Not good! Try relaxing and opening your thumb, like you are catching a baseball or burping a baby. Then your palm won't look like a butt, and you won't get that pain at the base of your thumb. :)
    Tommyc, smogg, fearceol and 1 other person like this.
  6. Badwater


    Jan 12, 2017
    Once you develop the strength to fret, you'll be able to relax more and play with in-appropriate fretting techniques, like thumb over the E string, and using 2 or 3 fingers to fret one note, and moving your fingers like playing a stand up double bass with success. And once you can play relaxed, you'll be able to play cleaner without a lot of effort using both your hand to mute unwanted noise.

    But because you are learning, listen to your instructor, and build up on those techniques.
    wishforbass likes this.
  7. Herbal


    Jul 10, 2016
    Try to play without your thumb even touching the neck, then slowly drop your thumb down until you can play with it comfortably resting on the neck.
    The less tension in your hands and body the better and cleaner you will be able to play.

    Some people, Sting being a good example use the baseball bat thumb grip, but I have small hands and never use it myself.
  8. I don't buy into the "Thumb in fixed position behind the neck" theory. The thumb should move around.

    In this pic you see my hand in full rested position no strain anywhere including wrist:-


    Now you see my hand with a bass neck in it. Still rested. No strain anywhere.:-


    Now here is my hand with the thumb in a fixed position. Note that this unnatural for the thumb down by the palm. Area of stress. And my wrist is now bent too.
    I absolutely need to move my thumb around. Even point it more toward the headstock when necessary

    If I play with my thumb in a fixed position behind the neck without moving it much, I get all kinds of problems pretty well right away.

    DON'T BE AFRAID TO MOVE YOUR THUMB AROUND. Even approaching "thumb over " at times.:-
    And don't grip the neck in a "death grip"!!

    twinjet, Helix, Freightshaker and 4 others like this.
  9. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    I agree. The thumb should go where it naturally wants or needs to. The thumb over the neck is not "wrong," but it can be restrictive.

    OP....here is another video clip to check out.

    wishforbass likes this.
  10. BusyFingers


    Nov 26, 2016
    Wait, if he is getting any discomfort he should stop.

    And people need to stop suggesting others play through pain to "train" your hand. That's a lie. You cannot "train" tendons to do things they aren't ergonomically capable of.

    I know, I took someone's advice around here who said you can move from short scale to long scale and train yourself to apply one finger per fret and I've injured tendons in my hand.

    I'm kind of worried as the pain returns even now that I've stopped using the full scale bass and went back to short scale.
  11. BusyFingers


    Nov 26, 2016

    I did a bunch of research on the forums and the internet to find out what "proper left hand technique" was and what I found out was that there is no "proper left hand technique" that can be applied to every person.

    There are some general guidlines about left hand technique, and a lot of players with average or above average size hands utilize a similar left hand technique, but that does not necessarily mean that people with smaller than average hands should use the same technique, especially if it is causing pain whatsoever.

    I say this as a dire warning, as I've injured my hand attempting to use a lot of typical technique guideliness while playing one note per fret on a full scale bass.

    I also play a fast style of music, which requires busier than average basslines and one fret per note worked out very, very well on short scale basses. That is, until I tried to "develop" the same stuff on a long scale bass.

    A single week injured some tendons in my left hand. But even after I stopped with the long scale, my hand still hurts on short scale when before I had no pain whatsoever on short scale bass. I may attempt to take a month or two away from the bass altogether and see if I can return without pain.

    If you're feeling any pain, stop!

    The truth is, everyone is different ergonomically. You should be aware of general guidelines related to left hand technique, but ultimately you should probably develop your own technique to suit you ergonomically.

    You can check out my thread here:

    Help me with my left hand technique.
    jjmuckluckjr likes this.
  12. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Your palm looks flat, open, and relaxed with your thumb in full rested position. When you scrunch your hand into unnatural thumb position: YOUR PALM LOOKS LIKE BUTT CHEEKS!

    Remember, Mushroo says: Want to keep your hand relaxed? Don't make it look like a butt!
  13. :woot:...
  14. BusyFingers


    Nov 26, 2016
    I'm just looking for clarity on what you're suggesting. You're talking about the line that runs perpendicular to the direction of your digits? The one that goes across the top of the palm of the hand?
  15. BusyFingers


    Nov 26, 2016
    I agree on a number of points here, especially that there are no hard and fast rules about where you thumb must go, especially if you play up and down the fretboard. Ergonomically, everyone pretty much needs to shift their thumb higher to reach higher registers on the fretboard.

    Also, Fergie proved you can play without your thumb in one of his videos. Forcing your thumb into a position that causes pain is a bad idea.
  16. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    I'm comparing the "life line" of palmistry to the "crack" of the human posterior. For a relaxed and pain-free hand, keep that life line uncompressed! I don't want to see any wrinkles or creases!! ZenG has an open life line in the first photos, and a pinched life line in the final photo.

    Line #1 in this diagram:

    Last edited: Feb 11, 2017
  17. Do as your teacher advises, but keep your thumb to the left of the index finger.
  18. AndreasR


    Oct 23, 2012
    Like someone suggested, play with the thumb detached from the neck a bit. It seems like you have a deathgrip on your bass. Use only your fretting fingers and relax so you can get used to how little pressure you actually need.
  19. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    +1. There is no "one size fits all" technique, as everyone is different. Pain should never form part of playing...or learning to play.
    jjmuckluckjr likes this.
  20. It could just be camera angles and shadows but to my eyes, it appears that the action on wishforbass' strings could be lowered. That usually helps develop a lighter touch.

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