1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Right Hand Gets Tired Fast

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Emily1897, Dec 12, 2012.

  1. Emily1897


    Dec 12, 2012
    I have to play a pretty fast song, but before I even get to the middle of it, my right hand is tired out. Help would be greatly appreciated.
  2. dbd1963


    May 18, 2010
    Northern Virginia
    This may not be what you wanted to hear, but -- practice. Practice until the muscles get in shape, and then make sure to keep up your practice to keep them in shape.
  3. NoChi


    Mar 16, 2011
    The Hague, Holland
    Ever since I got into a serious relationship my right hand has gotton out of shape too.....badumpss?
  4. spz8


    Jan 19, 2009
    Glen Cove, NY
    If you're a beginner player, it just takes time, effort, and a lot of practice. Try to keep your hands/fingers as relaxed as possible. Digging in at times can sound great, but the more power you put to fingering, the faster you'll burn out. Play lighter and turn your amp up louder. Maintain good technique and form - check out Gary Willis' tips on good technique and muting.

  5. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    Tampa, FL.
    It just time to build up endurance. Keep practicing and you'll eventually get there. Don't worry about taking it slowly at first, either.
  6. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    What everybody else said. the only other option would be to lighten up on your plucking. But I'm a very heavy handed player so I am the wrong guy to ask for advice on how to do that.

    What is the song by the way?
  7. Piggy8692


    Oct 2, 2010
    Northern Utah
    I can definitely sympathize, I just tried sprinting for a mile and I got tired too. Start slow and work yourself up. Use a metronome. Practice alternate picking if it's really really fast.
  8. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    Look at it this way. Your hand is made up of muscle and tendons...these require energy to work, the same as other parts of your body. When walking you get tired and need to rest and take on more fuel to give you more energy. But on a lone walk you breathe deeper, faster and heavier as you tire. This is your body taking in more oxygen to give the muscles more fuel.

    But in playing your breathing and metabolism does not really change,your heart does not beat faster to pump more blood to the areas that need the fuel, so where are your hands and fingers getting their energy if not from oxygen?

    The answer is diet, eating the correct foods and being properly hydrated will give your muscles the best chance to work at there best. Practicing with tired hands will lead to injury, practicing with fresh hands will lead to improvement. Diet is the other way we get energy for everyday body use fuel.

    When do you practice?

    If it is in the evening, then look at what your hands have done that day, they may already be tired just from the activities or work you have done that day?
    So do some stretches and a few warm ups..you will be amazed at the difference. Remember practice is not your hands starting to work for you, they have been working for you since you woke up. Of you practice at the end of the day you could be practicing with tired hands....if you have not drunk and eaten properly you are asking you hands to do more than they should....so they cramp, slow down or tire fast. Remember if you were going for a long hard walk, you do not do a series of long hard walks that day to prepare for one in the evening.....you will be tired and the last one in the evening will give you problems......similar to your hand use.....they have been working for you all day.

    So as said, stretch and warm up, this takes less than five minutes, have some good energy food and handy to help you replace the energy you use when practicing, and one more thing, do not practice after meals..give it about 45mins to an hour to allows your stomach to finish digesting any meal. Your body will service the digestion system with more blood ( as it carries fuel and clears waste products that the body creates away from the source, so your other muscles will not get the correct amount of blood flow to service your hands in playing. If you had a big meal and tried to do anything physical you would get a stitch in your side, this is your body telling you to stop the physical thing you are doing because there is not enough blood flow to service both digestion and the physical task.

    That waste product I mentioned that the blood helps remove away from muscles is Lactic acid. When you use you muscles, Lactic acid is the waste product that muscles create. In normal use the am,punts created are removed with ease, but any over use of the muscles and it builds up because the blood cannot remove it quick enough, so it cause the muscle to slow down, as this will slow down the ammont being produced and give the blood stream a chance to remove it....remember in playing your metabolism does not speed up, so nether does the blood flow, so it cannot cope with Lactic acid build up as well as say doing a very physical task that did change you metabolism. It will get to a point of you do not stop your body will make you stop....it will cramp the muscle and make you stop, or of you were running or swimming, give you that stitch in your side.
    A short rest is all that is needed..a few minutes and then you are good to go, so try practicing for say ten minutes at a time rest for five in any hour you practice. Then as that becomes easier raise it to twenty minutes then rest for five in any hour. Then raise it again to play for thirty minutes and rest for five and so on.
    You will notice that the rest time has nothing to do with the length of time the muscles get used. Your body learns to recover faster and also learns to work harder for longer. So in those breaks drink some water have an energy bar and read a little theory maybe and then get back on it before resting again.
    Below is a list of foods that give the body good energy and nutrition, they are great foods to eat before, during and after playing..remember you have to replace the energy used.

    Potassium must be rightly included in your daily diet to reduce the risk of heart attacks and blood pressure problems.
    Potassium is a good source of cramp prevention and relief.
    Sufficient potassium can be consumed by including the potassium rich foods in our daily diet.
    Potassium rich foods are listed below and are categorized according to the fruits, vegetables, dairy products and other potassium rich foods.
    Proper amount of potassium must be included in food.
    There are two main problems associated with Potassium levels that can develop, hyperkalemia or hypokalemia.
    Hyperkalemia is excessive storage of potassium and hypokalemia is deficiency of potassium.
    A balanced diet should be enough to sustain a healthy Potassium and vitamin level as well as most of the chemical elements the body needs.

    Acorn squash
    Baked beans
    Butternut squash
    Bamboo shoots
    Fresh or boiled beet
    Black beans
    Lima beans
    Brussels sprouts
    Dried peas and beans
    Hubbard squash
    Turnip cabbage
    Refried beans
    Cooked spinach
    Tomatoes and tomato products
    Yellow turnips
    Vegetable juices
    Kidney beans

    Kiwi fruit
    Orange and orange juice
    Watermelon juices
    Prunes and prune juice


    Red wine
    White wine

    Bran products
    Nuts and seeds
    Peanut Butter
    Ice milk
    Wheat bread
    Apple cider vinegar
    Cottage cheese
    Ricotta cheese
    Vanilla Ice-cream
    Cinnamon raisin bagel
    Plain bagel
    French bread
    Plain bagel
    Onion, poppy and sesame seed bagel
    Oatmeal bread
    English muffins
    Cocoa powder
  9. Bass_Band


    Aug 2, 2012
    Thanks Fergie,

    I was hoping for that kind of infos for so long! I tried a lot of method to take care of my hands (I play bass very intensly in the last year) but with no real structure. I've deducted that rest & nutrition was good for the hands without emphasis on the essential point that hand/wrist was really sollicitated without cardiovascular activation to help the fluids flows (lactic acid). Your post make so much sense. I'll now change my way of practicing with a plan.

    Thanks again! :bassist:
  10. RedMoses

    RedMoses Supporting Member

    Jul 4, 2012
    Try and relax, people tend to tense up when playing faster or more dofficult sections, try turning the volume up a bit and using a lighter touch.

    Mind your thumb anchoring, i find that when im playing difficult passages i apply too much pressure to on my thumb anchor and it fatigues my hand.
  11. Jay2U

    Jay2U Not as bad as he lóòks

    Dec 7, 2010
    22 ft below sea level
    +1 Relax that hand and your mind. I play pretty fast lines with two, somtimes three fingers. First my fingers got tired. :meh: Later I tried a different approach, like touching the strings instead of hitting them. My hand is kind of hanging about, while my mind says: "Watch the hand, it's playing all by itself". Before I knew I was able to play fast lines all the time. :)
  12. Disappear


    May 9, 2008
    I agree with stretching but everything else is just superfluous. I mean, how many players change their diet just so they can play better? How strenuous is bass playing that you need to associate it with dietary needs? Granted over a day you use these minerals, vitamins etc.

    I want to add another point to that though


    and now that you read that and believe it, if your playing improves you're going to attribute it to Fergie's post...

    But that's a placebo.
    But maybe that's what you need...

    Posture con't:
    Look up threads about playing technique. I bet a lot of your pain/lack of stamina can be explained by that.

    Don't worry about your potassium consumption.
  13. rtav

    rtav Millionaire Stuntman, Half-Jackalope

    Dec 12, 2008
    Chicago, IL
    My right hand gets very tired too during VERY hard and VERY fast stretches, namely, Dream theater covers (Dance of Eternity, the instrumental section in Metropolis after the pause) and some of our originals. I wish I could get my hand to relax, but there is literally no pause possible to do it, so I'll do a couple of things, like drop from 16th notes to 8th notes in certain measures just to slow the cramping a bit, use my right hand ring finger exclusively for parts just before a bass solo (when possible, but Myung has a terrible habit of having very fast bass solos immediately following extended 16th note sections, so there's no chance of getting your breath lol).
    For me the big things are practice (obviously), stretching, keeping my right hand as warm as possible, cranking up the amp so that my fingers are less likely to hit the strings hard (make the amp work for you), incorporate the ring finger if you primarily pluck with two fingers (like me), and swap 8th notes in places for 16th notes when it's not immediately obvious (like doubling a double kick bass drum).
    It's mostly practice, loud amp volume - and a lighter touch.
  14. I had that issue when I first started, trying to play Iron Maiden. 4 minutes of eight notes and triplets.

    First of all, technique first. You want to have comfortable technique that uses as little energy as possible. If you're digging in to the strings really hard, you'll wear out faster. You will go slower at faster but will eventually be able to go faster longer.

    Also, incorporate your ring finger. I noticed my middle finger would tire out, so when it got to be too much, I would replace my middle finger with my ring finger and then back as necessary.
  15. Disappear


    May 9, 2008
    That's one thing I forgot about this place, excluding the OP no one reads any post except theirs.

    ignorance is just pure bliss, isn't it?
  16. In reference to what?
  17. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    A good balanced diet is essential for good all round health, not just for playing the bass. It improves your over all health and stamina, which in turn helps with your bass playing.

    I think it is stating the obvious to say that no one changes their diet, simply to improve their playing.

    Not sure what you mean here. Perhaps you could elaborate ?
  18. Violen

    Violen Instructor in the Vance/Rabbath Method Banned

    Apr 19, 2004
    Kansas City Metro Area
    Endorsing Artist: Conklin Guitars (Basses)
    Breathe Deeper.
  19. matey


    Sep 17, 2012
    wild wild oz
    I find it hard to belive that a steady diet of bourbon and cigaretes is not gonna make you a good bass player
  20. Bass_Band


    Aug 2, 2012
    It's not my thread but a lot of valuable infos out there! In the last 6 months I change my primarely technique, I used mainly 1-2-3-4 with my fretted hand and change to mainly 1-2-(3)4 to easy the stretching (after reading a Friedland's article in bass player). Also, I began slappin' and with all those slap/pop at the octave my pinkie got alot of job he didnt have before (I stop that with the pinkie joint pain). My pinkie was not much sollicitated before but now he's one of the major folks in the party! I'm so much more compact, precise and natural. My tone with the pinky (supported by ring) finger is better and vibrato is easier as needed. I'm back on 1-2-3-4 higher on neck as needed. I guess it's normal to suffer some joint pain as pinkie gets majorly involved in my playing. I just back up on praticing time to give time to my body to repair the joint. I stop practicing for one week 1/2; maybe and hour or two a week and only play at the 2 hours band rehearsal. I'm really into bass, I'm excessive, I improve a lot, I really love it, I meet musicians, my playing seems to please other, so much project is offering to me... That pain suck!! My fretting thumb joint suffers also. I put more conscious emphasis on him and realize I dont have any technique about him as how to position, change. Thirdly is the pain in my index joint. With rest it seems that pain is healing but after a week and a half it's still there; before stopping, I play like a fool (4 hours day minimum steady) over that pain for 2 month and a half so I'm paying for it now. I even got some thinking about non-recoverment signing the end my hobby 'carreer'. I don't have carpal tunnel syndrome; it's mechanical. My right hand (plucking) seems stronger, I'm in the process of involving the ring finger in the party. Have you ever suffer like this? Tell me that rest will help cure those joint pain. Tell me that better technique and strenghtening of the hand will allow me to play again long stretch. Don't tell me to buy a handless harmonica if a wanna play music again!

    And now on break... my GAS extend! :bassist: