Shoulder pain ?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by squeally dan, Dec 3, 2012.

  1. squeally dan

    squeally dan

    Mar 30, 2008
    Playing in a wedding band. I am a guitar player but for the past few months I have been the bassist. Looks like I will continue as the bassist.

    Anyway, I have been having shoulder pain after an hour set. I purchased a wider and more elastic strap that was recommended here, but still having pain. Any suggestions? Am I just a girly man?
  2. jallenbass

    jallenbass Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 17, 2005
    Bend, Oregon
  3. intheory


    Nov 17, 2009
    SW Florida
    I need to do this...looks awesome!!
  4. squeally dan

    squeally dan

    Mar 30, 2008
    I'm using a used early 90s fender jazz bass. Are the heavier than other basses? It sure feels heavy.
  5. Andyman001

    Andyman001 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2010
    weigh it, if over 9lbs, look to trade it in, pain is no fun.
  6. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    Are you sure that you are not hunching your shoulders without realising it ?

    Next time you practice, play in front of a mirror and observe how you play.
  7. Jay2U

    Jay2U Not as bad as he lóòks

    Dec 7, 2010
    22 ft below sea level
    It looks like we all have different solutions to the problem. Here is another, which helps me a lot. I wear the bass as low as possible, even if I'm sitting. If it's too high, I'm lifting my right shoulder to play. This causes pain. In my case the actual pain was coming from the neck, however it appeared as shoulder pain, mainly on the right side.

    The OP didn't tell whether it concerns the right or left shoulder and if he plays right or left-handed. Of course, you should have it checked by a med.
  8. squeally dan

    squeally dan

    Mar 30, 2008
    I'm right handed. The shoulder that hurts is the one that the strap goes over (left). That's the one supporting the weight.
  9. Jay2U

    Jay2U Not as bad as he lóòks

    Dec 7, 2010
    22 ft below sea level
    Then I suppose your pain has another cause than mine.
  10. dtripoli


    Aug 15, 2010
    Even though we are skilled on the fret board, playing a guitar and playing a bass require using different sets of muscles. I played exclusively guitar for about 18 months then went back to bass. My chops and stamina were up but I still got shoulder and neck pain for the first few months until I redeveloped the bass playing strength.
  11. cyclopsbookworm

    cyclopsbookworm Mutant Werewolf Supporting Member

    Nov 13, 2012
    Vista, CA
    Jazz basses are pretty heavy. A bass that's just a couple pounds lighter makes a huge difference. For me, I find that if I'm too stagnant I'll start to get a little pain, but if I change my position or move around a little more that helps.

    Another thing I do in-between songs (If I'm playing something heavy) is hold up my bass slightly with my right hand to take the weight off the shoulder for a few seconds. Maybe roll my shoulder around for a sec. That 2-3 second relief can make a difference after a set.

    If you were in a metal band you could do the robert trujillo thing and rest the bass on your upper could look totally silly though for a more traditional band setting =)
  12. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    You may be like me and have an ailment unrelated to playing bass (or so I think that's what's wrong with me). I just deal with it, but I find myself moving my strap around a lot on my shoulder, to different positions. There is a pinched nerve down in there somewhere, or so it feels. Naproxen helps, but is no cure. Try letting a doc look at it. I need to do that myownself.
  13. Nitrojunkie2


    Sep 15, 2012
    Portland, OR
    I agree with most of what's come before: Jazz basses from the 90s are heavy, different muscle areas take time to strengthen. I had the exact same problem when I switched from guitar to bass in a band setting. But a very wide Levi's strap seemed to help quite a bit.
  14. i have a this problem with my lemonly heavy squier VM jazz. EVERY time i tell someone (no matter bassist, guitarist or construction worker) to hold my bass for a sec they always go "damn its heavy".
    but money is tight and i like the sound.

    what i do is 1. hold it with the right hand between songs and sets, breaks etc. 2. sit down when possible. whne im playing jazz or quiter soul i tend to sit down. very helpful and it even looks professional.

    however eventually i will try to find another bass.
  15. cchorney

    cchorney Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2010
    Meriden, CT
    You should be able to find a light weight bass without too much difficulty - either via wood choice, body size or scale length (because those typically come with smaller bodies). But try before you buy - part of a bass's sound is due to the wood its made from.

    A couple options for basses that sound like what you've got, more or less:
    Steinberger small body headless bass - 8.5 lbs
    Fender Mustang short scale - 7 lbs 14 oz

    You could also get a Kala U-Bass, which has polyurethane strings and sounds like an upright. It weighs very little but is almost a different instrument.

    Or you could get a hollow body, but these tend to have their own, thumpy, sound.

    It might be worth getting a padded strap, fixing your posture, and getting some physical therapy exercises going first. Cheaper, anyway.
  16. glennzki16


    Jun 12, 2013
    Hi guys! i have the same exp. Previously I am using Fender Jazz 90's, After 1-2 songs, I Really feel the pain in my left shoulder. I am also right handed.
    Now I am using Carvin SB5000 and I guess the pain was already here..Even now that i am not playing, I felt something here.... I bought extra silicon padding to my strap but it's the same.
    Now even i play acoustic or electric guitar, im having this problem" ((:)crying:

    Should I go to gym to gain some muscels? LOL!
    I am a bit skinny..about 62KG and 5"5'...

    Thanks for help!
  17. Sounds like a pinched/trapped nerve. Get it checked out with a doctor. Do NOT even consider going to the gym, odds are that'll make things worse - not better.

    Naproxen has been mentioned - it's a fairly heavy-duty prescription-only anti-inflammatory (in the UK at least). You could try a course of Diclophenac Potassium that should be available over the counter at a pharmacy - in the UK it's marketed as 'Voltarol'. If that doesn't work, your doc might suggest the prescription version (double strength) & then may go on to Naproxen.

    Definitely get it checked out & try to avoid sleeping on your left side - that can apply all the wrong sorts of pressure & really aggravate matters.

    I should add that I'm not a doctor, nor have I ever played one on TV… but I've had two 'frozen' shoulders & one pinched nerve over the last few years & the above is a precis of the treatment I received.

    A lot of musicians' injuries are posture & technique related. We tend to slouch (especially in front of a computer), & there's a lot of BS spouted about 'correct' technique that utterly fails to take into account the fact that every one of us is built differently. Check out the poll results in this thread about finger span for visual proof of that.

    You also might want to check out the videos on Fergie Fulton's site here:

    His guides can help a lot.

  18. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Banned

    Feb 21, 2010
    St. Louis
    I had this problem when I first got back into the band thing. Until I got a Comfort Strapp.
  19. I have to agree with Deathblade Eric. If you have insurance, a DR visit it probably cheaper than that strap you bought. Piece of mind alone is worth $20.

    I had shoulder pain and numbness in my hand, disc herniation that required surgery and a metal plate in my neck. Not at all saying that is you, but I am paying severely for not going to the DR sooner.
  20. Rip Topaz

    Rip Topaz

    Aug 12, 2005
    Willow Street, PA
    Beta tester for Positive Grid
    I've gone through six back surgeries since 2008, and was close to giving up playing live until I found the Duostrap. After a couple online conversations with Damian Erskine, the guy that designed it, I ordered my Duostrap Neo.

    Best music related purchase in over a decade. It's that good.