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Slight pain in fretting hand?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Gwendolynn, Dec 11, 2016.

  1. Gwendolynn


    Dec 11, 2016
    So I've started playing bass again after a two month break. I was practicing scales (which requires a lot of stretching because my hands are fairly small) and now have an aching feeling in my palm. Is this normal, especially after such a long break from playing? If not, how do I ensure that this doesn't happen again?
  2. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    Hi...and welcome to Talkbass. :)

    Scales should not involve a lot of stretching, unless you are doing them using the "one finger per fret" technique on the lower (1-5) frets. Instead of stretching, use the thumb as a pivot. There is also the possibility that you are playing for too long a time for a given practice session. Break down your playing time into half hour sessions for now, until your hands/fingers/wrists have time to get used to this new work being asked of them. Later, you can gradually increase the playing time.

    Make sure that the action on your bass is set low.

    The other potential problem is your technique. See post number 11 in the link below. In it, I posted three video clips that deal with safe left hand technique. Be careful that you are not gripping the neck too tightly.

    Finally, I'd recommend that before...and after...each practice session, that you do some gentle stretches for about three or four minutes. Search YouTube for..."hand stretches for guitar/bass".

    Hope this helps.

    Physical discomfort while playing
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2016
    Mushroo likes this.
  3. fearceol's post + 1,000. Anything medical fearceol is THE Man.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2016
  4. T.Rex


    Sep 19, 2015
    ive noticed stretching my hands too fast when i go to play anytime can cause pain and also i used to get pain in my palm when doing the one finger per fret thing, i got threw it somehow, i guess just not overdoing but keeping at it, also i have fairly big hands so its not a huge problem, and incase you are doing the one finger per fret ive seen a couple of videos probably on youtube where using the 1 34 of your 4 fretting fingers can be smarter in some cases
  5. You want to avoid stretches wherever possible.

    On a 34" longscale bass, the first three frets can be covered by four fingers. Carol Kaye shows this in one of her videos. It is better to keep the fingers bunched instead of splayed out whenever you can.

    This, IMO is where most of the problems occur on a longscale, because as you move up the neck it gets way easier because the frets are closer together.

    The frets nearest the headstock are where most of the issues occur on a longscale.

    I have great big hands, but its' one of the reasons I ditched longscales.

    I reveled in stretching when playing one for ages. Until it all went south suddenly and I couldn't use my strained pinky.

    I had, later on, switched to Carol's method of fretting (which is also described and used by others....videos on YT) but I just plain didn't like any method.

    So for me, it was a switch to shorties... and I haven't had a problem since.

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