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Right Arm Placement/I'm just bad at bass

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by PBbassist, Feb 11, 2014.

  1. PBbassist


    Jan 20, 2014
    So I've been playing bass for a long time (far too long considering how bad I am at) but I've only recently gotten really serious about. Anyway the problem I'm having is what to do with my right arm, I play with a pick and I know - or rather think - I'm not meant to have my right arm resting or touching the bass. When I do have it touching the bass the area of my arm that does touch it becomes super irritated and uncomfortable.

    On the other hand, when I don't have any part of my arm touching the bass is all twisty turny crazy times and I can't play properly. This is particularly a problem when sliding, the act of moving my left hand basically twists the bass from my right hip to my left hip if that makes sense?

    I've searched a lot for an answer to this and I probably look like a big dumb idiot for asking but I'm really at a loss... Do I put my forearm on the bass or let it float and just not be terrible all the time?
  2. MCB 5150

    MCB 5150 Supporting Member

    Nov 21, 2008
    Rockford, IL
    Have you tried wearing long-sleeve shirts? Or a sports wrist band on your forearm?
  3. nukes_da_bass

    nukes_da_bass Banned

    Feb 19, 2006
    west suburban boston
    Another reason I pluck with my fingers- I anchor on something for a thumbrest and avoid the issue of how to anchor.
    Ever consider the pick playing might be holding you back? You might do better with fingers.
  4. PBbassist


    Jan 20, 2014
    What and deprive people of the gun show (I kid) but yeah that's probably my only option... It might just be my skin being sensitive I guess I just need to wrap it before I tap it from now on
  5. PBbassist


    Jan 20, 2014
    Let's not get into a pick vs finger debate here, I choose to use pick because it gives me a sort punchiness and tightness that's necessary for the style of music I play, if ever I feel fingers would sound better I would (and could) switch to fingerstyle with no qualms whatsoever. In fact when I first started learning bass I was playing a lot of Muse which is fingerstyle

    EDIT: Sorry if this came off a bit mean I realise you were just offering genuine advise dude sorry
  6. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    If your arm is getting irritated where it touches the bass it sounds like you're moving your arm too much.

    I had that problem in a band once where the only song I used a pick for was U2's Where The Streets Have No Name.

    If you're resting your arm on the bass your picking motion should come from the wrist, not the elbow or the shoulder. Think about where the motion is coming from. You might also try changing your strap length. Or getting a wider, more grippy strap that will help hold the bass still.

    Or start wearing wristbands.
  7. FretlessMainly


    Nov 17, 2010
    I play fingerstyle most of the time, but when I use a pick, my right arm does not touch the bass. The side of my palm anchors on the pickup cover and I pick near the end of the fingerboard. Complete stability and neutral wrist position.
  8. nashman


    Feb 11, 2011
    +1. Relax you arm, use your wrist for picking action.
  9. KellyM


    Jun 11, 2006
    Lynnwood, WA
    As I see it you have two main issues here.

    This one is easily solved. There is no rule against resting your forearm against the bass, as long as you don't do it in such a way as to hamper your movement or technique.

    This one is somewhat less so. It depends on the reason for the irritation of your skin. It could be an allergic reaction (or something similar) to the finish of your bass. Or, of course, to whatever is on the finish of your bass just there. Or, if your bass has no finish, you could be allergic to the wood.

    Or the irritation could be as a result of you scraping your arm repeatedly against the edge or face of your bass as you play. There are two possible solutions to this. The first and most sensible, in my opinion, is to just stop doing this. Others have already explained how to do that.

    The second possible solution is to simply make sure your arm is well covered where it comes in contact. This solution, while not ideal, at least has the advantage of solving both problems. :)