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Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Bozzy, Mar 22, 2021.
Technique is in the pedals. No pedalboard, no technique, no habits.
My left hand technique sux...
There were several techniques that I thought I invented ... then I watched some instructional videos or interviews of famous players only to see someone invented the same technique 20 to 30 years before me.
Is it just me, or does he constantly bend both wrists when he's not explaining how to keep your wrists straight?
I think you're (possibly) wrong
I might take some heat for this, but the height of the player seems to be a factor. I know a few excellent bassists who have been playing for decades with bent wrists. They are all skinny guys over 6’2”. Sometimes my wrist aches just watching them! I know plenty of short players, just as good, none of them play like that. Caveat emptor.
The hat is in fact one of the main factors in preventing injury.
I wonder why this guy's right hand doesn't simply fall off.
Sfunny. In the classical world you are taught to hold ur instrument one way and one way only with knowledge honed from 100s of years of consideration yet in the pop world we see all manner of weird unhealthy practises....look at poor old Phil Collins for eg.
Those bassists with the bent wrists? No way, keep it straight you'll be pleased u did in 40 years time.
Your body is not invincible. In music school I saw a number of young kids GO OUT because of repetitive stress injuries, and that's with near constant oversight and classical instruction. Then there's all the random tragedies that start befallen your body as you get older. Ergonomically, bass guitar is a very poorly-designed instrument, and every minute you spend taking technique seriously now will add up to years in the future that you will be able to continue playing.
actually "bend" wrists is a bad thing, make no mistake about it!
folks posting about their decades of experience saying it either matters or does not, i think it's not so black and white.
my day job is teaching violin - in that case, if the left wrist is allowed to bend, and a student plays like that for too long, they are guaranteed to have problems.
however, if you play enough your body will generally either ease towards a more straight-wristed position, OR you will find a way to weasle more comfort out of a bent-wrist position.
over time you are really likely to develop into a technique that will work for you. the trouble is that is not 100%, and you really may benefit from exploring more ways of playing. keep up the hard work, it's worth it!!
I also like to keep my wrist straight
One of these weeks, I'm gonna do some research and find the definitive, hands-down, best technique for right-hand (plucking, picking, slapping), and left-hand.
In the mean time, I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing. If my wrist(s) are yelling at me today, I'll figure out what I did wrong yesterday and adjust. For example, usually for finger plucking that means a straighter wrist, lighter touch, and an overall relaxed approach.
FWIW, this all works better in a controlled environment such as practice time with me, myself, and I. At gigs, if I can't hear myself well, that's when I start to dig in all the time and can cause problems the next day and beyond.
I'm getting better at dialing in a sound that I can hear with a lighter touch. Of course this all goes out the window on certain songs when the drummer and guitars decide to be stupid loud.
I’ve been a long term bassist as well. I started off as a self taught guitarist and became
a fairly fluid finger picker 4 years before picking up the bass. The transition to the bass was almost effortless, mainly due to the size difference. That said, I still have a few glitches in my technique. So far 50 plus years later, no health issues, but a few lessons in my youth sure wouldn’t hurt me any.
Mini rant to follow: I hate when people talk about classical guitar technique as it relates to bass guitar. It definitely can be used but most of what people explain is wrong. Also, it makes no sense to talk about classical guitar technique if you sit with the bass on your right leg or have the neck parallel to the horizon.
I agree with you that technique is unique. We don't all share the same body, so have to do things a bit differently to get the same result. Without seeing pictures, I'm not sure how dangerous your wrist position might be for you in the long-term, but as long as your playing is relaxed, you warm up completely before really hitting it, and you stop if you experience any discomfort whatsoever, you'll probably be ok.
Well, it seems that the majority of people here at TB feel that what you are doing is wrong and I would have to agree with them. I know that you are not hearing what you had hoped for. Don't use someone else's bad habit (even professionals) to justify your own. It's certainly not healthy and it will catch up with you eventually. You are in the early stages of bass playing and now is the time to address this issue. I had the same problem as you and it was very awkward for me to alter my plucking hand technique. I started having wrist/tendon problems early on and it didn't take me long to make the adjustment(s) that were necessary for me to play without strain and pain. I tried the floating thumb technique for weeks and it was just too awkward for me. So I developed a "floating anchor" type of approach and now I can literally play for hours without and fatigue or pain. It took me a while to get used to the adjustment but I am sooooooo glad I did. Now my wrist stays pretty darn flat and I am rewarded for it. I strongly suggest that you begin your "adjustment" now... that is, if you want to play bass (without pain) into the future. Good luck.
I played with my bass slung super low for a few years, but it didn't start to cause any pain until I really started putting in a lot of hours in rehearsals and gigs, at which point I bumped up my strap height to varying degrees, where I have fluctuated for many years. Ironically, I now find myself dropping my strap height a bit lower at times because it is more comfortable for my plucking hand shoulder, which has some issues.
I played with medium to high action for several years because I liked the tone and the ability to play very aggressively without any possible fret noise. Now I have periodic issues with pain in both hands that require me to play with lower action than I specifically prefer, but I appreciate that there are benefits to low action as well.
I played with various plucking and picking techniques for 15+ years before I started having any issues. Now I have made some adjustments to those techniques to stave off injuries, particularly with a pick, and I go through periods of hand or wrist pain where I have to temporarily modify my technique even further.
All this is to say that the techniques that work for someone now might or might not work from years from now, and various adjustments me be necessary as time goes by and circumstances change.
I find OP's lack of faith disturbing ... I'm going to be a good boy and put my elbow brace on today!
Technique is unique to an individual and in many cases, you are correct that one should do things the way they are comfortable to them. I really do believe this - with a couple of caveats:
1. Be very careful when ignoring technique advice when it come to things that could become physical problems over time. As mentioned above, 2 years is not enough time to really have insight on potential long term issues and once you get to the pain, it's possible to cause permanent damage (may never be comfortable playing again). And unlearning bad habits is incredibly frustrating and time consuming.
2. Most technique advice is produced to help you do something "better" (faster, easier, more consistently, more reliably, etc) than if you used an inferior technique. It doesn't always seem like it at the time, long term work on a new technique will produce good results in the long run.
Pay attention to the differences in techniques that regard health maintenance (body positions) and those that support "better" playing (fingering, plucking methods, etc). Heed the health ones and follow or ignore the others as they fit your needs.
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