Thumb and Index Finger hurt while trying to play with palm muting

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by HazyMan, Apr 13, 2018.

  1. HazyMan


    Feb 21, 2018
    As I mentioned in the title, when i palm mute and try to pluck strings, my thumb and index finger ache. That also happens with my thumb when i just try to apply pressure on it, it has also got something like a little callus on it, my index finger however doesn't, but when applied pressure to it, it might ache aswell. Is there a way to prevent this from happening or do i just need to keep playing and get used to it?
  2. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    If you experience pain or ache, the body is telling you that something is wrong. I certainly would not continue palm muting the way you are presently. Playing through pain is never a contender. IMO you have two choices :

    1. Try to find a more pain free technique to palm mute, and correct the the current issue.

    2. Put some sponge under the strings a la Carol Kaye, or get another type of muting device.

    Here's hoping you resolve the issue. :)
    HazyMan likes this.
  3. HazyMan


    Feb 21, 2018
    However i want to use my palm to mute the strings because that forces me to play with the thumb and fingers and i want to get the thumb involved in my technique too, i don't want to put sponges and stuff to mute. Does string gauge affect this issue too? Maybe if i get lighter strings the pain will be reduced? Also, would flatwounds or tapewounds hurt less than roundwounds? Btw the pain i have is quite similar to what the beginners feel in their fingers when they first start playing the bass. Their fingers ache a bit, but then they get used to it and their fingers get stronger. Maybe that's whats happening to my thumb and index finger right now, even tho i've been playing bass for about a year and more
  4. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    The first thing I would look at is how high/low you're holding the bass and what that's doing to your right wrist.

    Also think about using a pick. It makes palm muting at the bridge much easier, ergonomically speaking. I'm a 90% finger player, the one exception being for palm muting.

    Type of string is pretty irrelevant to what you're doing.
  5. HazyMan


    Feb 21, 2018
    Thanks for your reply, but i don't want to use a pick. I tried it out, and i prefer the way of playing with the thumb and index. If i were to change the height of the bass then the part that aches wouldn't ache anymore, but i would begin to ache again. I think i just need to stop palm muting until those aching parts calm down, then i'll get back to it.
    Note: The aching parts look like bubbles or something like that.
  6. You mean, like blisters on your fingers? Or in your joints?
  7. HazyMan


    Feb 21, 2018
    Yup, in the DIP joint area i got sth like a blister bubble. One on the thumb and one on the index.
  8. Rev J

    Rev J

    Jun 14, 2012
    Berkeley, Ca.
    It sounds to me like a beginning strength issue. You are just starting to use a new technique and are using muscles that either you don't use much or are using in new ways. Since your muscles aren't used to the position they are starting to hurt kind of like when you start doing a new exercise when working out.

    My suggestion is to work on it for a few minutes until it starts to hurt. Then come back to it again tomorrow and do the same thing. What generally happens is that you will increase your strength/stamina in small increments that you won't notice at first but in a month or so will be like "Hey I remember when that was hard."

    Rev J
    HazyMan likes this.
  9. HazyMan


    Feb 21, 2018
    thanks for your suggestion, i will do that!