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Technique is unique to you

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Bozzy, Mar 22, 2021.

  1. Basslice

    Basslice Supporting Member

    May 11, 2008
    Western Massachusetts
    My middle finger is a LOT longer than my index finger. I find the only way to be able to get the two fingertips even while playing is to cock my wrist. After 30 years it doesn't bother me too much, although when hot and approaching dehydration on stage I do cramp, which SUCKS!
  2. RhinoBass


    Oct 21, 2009
    Check out a guy named Quentin Berry.
  3. DanGroove

    DanGroove Supporting Member

    Apr 27, 2017
    As many others have pointed out, two years is a relatively short time for a repetitive strain type injury to develop. Changing your technique from what you are used to WILL feel awkward and like you've completely nullified the skill you have spent 2 years developing. It passes faster than you think. Just practice slow with a metronome and continue in spite of the frustration. I recently spent some time revising both my right and left hand technique. This is after 28 years or so of self taught habits. It felt completely alien at first but after 2 weeks of daily practice, it started to feel natural and within 30 days the new technique was solid. The next step is taking the new technique from running scales or arpeggio excercises and forcing yourself to apply it to the songs you already know and play. It's very easy to slip back into old habits at first, especially with material you already know well using the old technique.
    Kipp Harrington likes this.
  4. PWRL


    Sep 15, 2006
    I've found that when it comes to technique- and this approach applies to most learned disciplines- one has to first approach things through experienced advice before bending the rules and developing a personal technique. This is not to say you can't hop into things your own way from day one. I've seen plenty of videos of people playing with their feet, and I don't think playing with your feet often is addressed in music classes. Clearly that's a technique which most of its practitioners learn on their own. However, I have seen and personally experienced injuries from consistent employment of the wrong techniques, even by some professional players. For example, I have a consistent issue in my left thumb and have had tendinitis in that same hand from gripping the neck the wrong way and generally doing things my own way when I was first starting out. When I began to examine what I was doing and accepted advice from people with more experience, those things stopped bothering me as much. However, the whole reason they happened in the first place was because those problems took time to develop while I was doing things wrong, and almost cost me the ability to play.
    There are always going to be successful outsiders who do things their own way. Furthermore, there are going to be things people recommend and ways they do things that won't work for you. That's something one learns through practice. That goes for art, crafts, music, whatever. If it weren't for people modifying the way things are done, we'd all be playing theorbos or something. But as somebody who's already experienced multiple problems from employing the wrong techniques over time which for a considerable amount of time I believed worked, I, too would advise anyone to try to start out in the ways most recommended to not cause problems before bending the rules.
  5. tpaul

    tpaul Supporting Member

    Mar 19, 2011
    Yes, your technique is unique to you. However, your anatomy is not. Unless there's something you're not telling us, your joints and tendons work pretty much the same way everyone else's do.

    Sure, you might not get carpal tunnel. If you smoke, you might not get lung cancer, and if you drive drunk, you might not get in a car accident. Playing overly loud music without ear protection might not damage your hearing, and subsisting on a diet of junk food might not result in weight gain and associated health problems.

    Or, all those things might happen, but not right away - it might take a few years or decades for the effects of your behavior to catch up to you. The problem is that when you do start feeling those effects, it might be too late.
    PWRL and Kipp Harrington like this.
  6. jnuts1


    Nov 13, 2007
    dude fix your stuff now. dont wait 15 years and tear some tendons.

    and i used to think i had a truly unique thing going on until i found some players doing what i do 50x better
  7. I can see what your problem is - you are not using a pick! :smug: Get yourself a good pick, you will thank me in the years to come. You're welcome.
    Bozzy and Kipp Harrington like this.
  8. I can see what your problem is - you are not using a pick!

    This is definitely an alternative. I use a pick often in the band I am currently with... lots of rock 'n' roll tunes. But I enjoy playing with my fingers too much to solely use a pick. Thankfully, I have become proficient at both, with LOTS OF PRACTICE!
  9. I think we scared the OP off! (or p***** him off)

    MYLOWFREQ Supporting Member

    May 13, 2011
    Usually the problems associated with bent wrist don't show up until after a long time. IMHO, you might not be feeling any problems because you've been playing for two years only. I'm not saying you'll encounter problems (I hope you not!), but a bent wrist is a recepie for possible problems.. Same w/ gigging w/ heavy basses.. I played many years w/ a heavy bass thinking I'm young and strong, but ended up having a herniated disc surgery from my neck at the end.

    Regarding avoiding the wrist bent on your right hand, try keeping your right elbow away from your body.
  11. Guitalia


    Jun 7, 2008
    Baltimore, MD
    Some bass player---maybe the guy in the band Chicago---mentioned in an interview about 30 years ago that, to avoid having to keep his wrist at an uncomfortable angle, he trained himself to pluck the strings with his index and ring fingers rather than his index and middle fingers. Made sense, so I did the same for many years.

    More recently, probably influenced by the various synth bass sounds used by Kraftwerk, I've been using high-volume settings at the amp to enable me to use an extremely light touch, such that I get a full and even response with nearly endless sustain while barely touching the strings. No plucking, in other words; I just lightly brush the string sideways with my finger tip or thumb. Straight wrist, bass moderately high on my chest. This approach makes it easy to switch up hand positions and finger technique.

    In fact, a bass player watching me playing in a band once told me that he'd never before seen anyone alternating among three or four different right-hand techniques throughout a single song.
  12. OogieWaWa


    Mar 17, 2013
    Oak Harbor, OH
    True, one thing to prevent repetitive injury is to avoid being repetitive. I change the angle and position of the bass, move my body parts around a lot when playing, and use differing plucking and fretting methods on purpose.

    Same with my stance. Always have because I started at 50, as that very kind of thing is on your mind by then, the wife had CT by then. And if it seems like something is straining in the least bit I've learned move so it doesn't. Just something I kept mindful of, and is now automatic. And it helps me relax, both physically and mentally. I think I play better, too.

    OK, this. --> Warmup and Cool-down exercises, especially emphasizing on STRETCHING. A VERY important thing I see almost entirely missing here in this thread, and that gets blown off all the time. It gets left out almost all the time when people talk about technique.

    Doing those things will help protect you a tremendous amount for any physical activity, which bass playing definitely qualifies as.

    I've got a regular hand and whole body routine I do before setup and after tear-down every gig and for any prolonged practice sessions. It's pretty simple, and only takes a minute or two. I seems to help a LOT, and I sure can tell when I forget it! Plus I do a few hand things just before starting and between sets just to keep limber.

    Maybe it's just being 65 now (and I can still touch my toes!), but I do believe if taught and started early, that it could help prevent a lot of pain and suffering for anybody later in life. I'd highly advise everyone try to incorporate those things into your routine.
    wysiwyg248 likes this.
  13. Bozzy


    Apr 29, 2020
    Hahaha sorry for being gone, I had some exams coming up and I forgot about this thread. I appreciate everyone here for their advice. Perhaps I really should upload some pictures of my right hand while playing?

    PS: It is true, I do feel young and invincible right now! However, I know most of you have years of experience and I will listen to it.
    chris_b likes this.
  14. No problem... your priorities are in order, sir! Yeah, I'm older (56) and started playing the bass 3 years ago. I started having pain in my wrist/back of hand several months into playing. I knew I had to do something about it. Got some info here on TB and did some other research. Concluded that my (plucking hand) wrist needed to be flatter and more parallel to the body of the bass. Also, minimize reaching for the higher strings (D & G). There are lots of videos on YouTube thst can be helpful. It takes time and patience, along with some frustration, but look at it as similar to learning a challenging song. Good luck and good luck on your exams also :thumbsup:
  15. Bozzy


    Apr 29, 2020
    Thanks I appreciate it!
    Kipp Harrington likes this.
  16. Bozzy


    Apr 29, 2020
    Well I'm actually 6'2 and I always thought height was a bit of a disadvantage for your wrists too.
  17. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    May 8, 2021

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