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Sore Biceps after a long show?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by TheFenderBender, Jul 28, 2013.

  1. TheFenderBender


    Jun 27, 2012
    Anybody have this? About 2 days ago I played for 3 1/2 hours straight , we covered some rancid, iggy and the stooges and some classics too, I was using a pretty heavy bass, about 10.5 pounds, and about 2 hours after the show I felt it in my biceps and shoulder, I get it in my shoulder from the weight, and it usually goes away by the next day, which it did, but this soreness in my biceps and stretched out feeling is still there, anybody have a quick remedy or at least know what the problem is? Im self taught, so is it a technique issue? Or this just normal?

    By the way, Im 16, 6ft 2 ish and I weigh about 140 lbs, so I dont have much muscle mass.
  2. FretlessMainly


    Nov 17, 2010
    The key here is to learn to differentiate between soreness and pain. For the most part, soreness isn't necessarily a bad thing, although it can be an indicator of the potential for injury. Pain, on the other hand, needs to be recognized as soon as possible and measures need to be taken to eliminate sources of pain.

    From what you posted, it sounds as if you are experiencing normal body reflexes to playing a heavy instrument for an extended period of time. One way to deal with this is to build up endurance over a period of time. A bit of weight training (don't over-do it), stretching, and aerobic exercise may help, as will a balanced diet and good hydration. Also, get in the habit of wearing your instrument around the house for stretches of time. Be sure to maintain good posture when you do this. This will help you feel very natural when holding your bass for practice, rehearsals, and gigs.

    Keep an eye on things. You are young, and the habits you develop now will serve you well as you age if you stick to a good set of practices.
  3. smeet

    smeet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    Pain in the shoulder from a heavy bass I understand. But why is your biceps hurting?mi assume it's in the fretting arm? You should be using your biceps just enough to hold your arm up and no more, so I'm guessing you are playing with a lot of tension...?
  4. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    Same thought crossed my mind. :confused:

    OP, perhaps your bass has some neck dive and you are forced to prop up the neck ? Even in this case, it should not cause the biceps to hurt.

    As well as "FretlessMainly's" good advice, perhaps it would be a good idea to invest in a harness type strap like this one, especially if you are regularly playing long sessions with a heavy bass.

  5. davidjackson


    Sep 10, 2011
    I've been hit by this before.

    In my case it was because my bass was too low. What was happening was as I got more tired during the show I was actually 'lifting' the bass by the neck so I could get my wrist far enough in front of the neck to fret the strings properly - particularly on the E string.

    I raised my strap a little (quite a lot in truth!) and the problem was gone.

    PS: Just read again what sort of music you were playing and I will bet dollars to doughnuts your bass was round your knees ;)
  6. I have never heard about the biceps before either but. Did you do any lifting (equipment carrying perhaps?)
  7. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    Could be a nerve thing. I get it in my shoulders due to degenerative arthritis in my spine, but not in my bicep. But I do feel it in my forearm and hand sometimes.
  8. Bassdirty


    Jul 23, 2010

    also, maybe its me but, when did 10.5 lbs become a heavy bass.?
    may not be an 8 pounder..i think 12-13 starts hittin the heavy zone. ..

    (im no gym rat by any means..btw)

  9. TheFenderBender


    Jun 27, 2012
    I was using a pick at said show, and when I pick I end up flexing I guess, I guess it's just overworked.
  10. TheFenderBender


    Jun 27, 2012
    The average bass from what I know at least, I've played at least 200 hundred different basses, and I'd say they average about 8-9.5 lbs.
  11. GKon

    GKon Supporting Member, Boom-Chicka-Boom

    Feb 17, 2013
    Queens, NY
    I've had this problem before. As well as my hamstring and butt muscle of one leg being very sore, because of the way I tend to stand when I play.

    My picking bicep also gets tired from time to time.
  12. nashman


    Feb 11, 2011
    I think I know what you are talking about. Your bicept issue is not from the weight of the bass. Your bicept gets sore/tired from use while playing - I assume mostly your "picking" versus "fretting" arm . I would also suggest you test different strap lengths. My rule of thumb is to hang the bass just a bit lower than where it would be if I were playing while sitting down. Being 6'2" and 140 lbs - your arms are probably pretty long. Adjust your strap so your arms aren't too stretched out - or too tight to your body.
  13. mpdd

    mpdd neoconceptualist

    Mar 24, 2010
    got the biceps and the shoulders worked out in the misfits cover band, no other time though
  14. Schmorgy


    Jul 2, 2012
    If your bicep hurts after picking, you're putting way too much effort (and body motion) into it.
  15. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006

    OP, Carol Kaye is generally regarded as the master pick player. According to her, there should be little or no arm movement. All the work is done by the wrist moving up and down. Check out tips #26 & 27 here, from her web site.

  16. GKon

    GKon Supporting Member, Boom-Chicka-Boom

    Feb 17, 2013
    Queens, NY
    Although I thoroughly respect and admire her opinions, I also don't know that she played in a Ramones/Misfits/Social Distortion etc.
    band for a 2 hour non-stop gig. That's a LOT of 16th and 32nd notes being played, at least the way I did it. :D

    I think even the BEST picking technique will still fall victim to some arm movement due to the moving around on stage through sheer excitement. :D
  17. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    I agree entirely, though if it is going to cause discomfort or possible injury at a later time, perhaps is would be futile to hold back, just a little, on the exitement. ;)
  18. Schmorgy


    Jul 2, 2012
    To spare my wrist, when picking quickly (pedalling along to double kick rhythms and such, as I do in "Metalcore") I move the pick entirely using just my index finger and thumb. Here's why: I use the thumb mostly as a guide even, and to cantilever the pick so that I can push the downstroke as quickly as I can pull the upstroke, and by using my index finger as the workhorse in the pulling motion, it uses the same muscles as plucking with that finger does. Wrist stays straight, arm stays straight, no risk to either, no forcing tendons to play around sharp corners. It may not look as lively as swinging your whole forearm around the elbow like a door with the hinge coming off, but it accomplishes those fast rhythms efficiently without wrecking your body in the process.
  19. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006

    Here is a quote from Carol Kay's site which I linked in post #15. Regardless of anyone's opinions on the lady herself, I believe she knows what she is talking about when it comes to using a pick.

  20. baileyboy


    Aug 12, 2010
    I think most would agree 10.5 lbs. is on the heavy side of basses. And I am a gym rat, btw.