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tingling hand(s)

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by smadder, Jan 23, 2012.

  1. smadder


    Nov 13, 2004
    I wanted some advice before heading off to see a doctor.

    I'm right handed and play electric right handed. Just over the past few weeks, I've noticed that after playing for over 30 minutes-ish at a stretch, my left (fretting) hand starts to tingle. It's like a "falling asleep" feeling. A tingling numbness that starts to get painful. It starts at my hand and crawls up my forearm at which point I usually stop playing for a while, shake my hand out and wait a while for it to go away before playing again.

    I've tried stretching, different strap positions, different neck angles, and even sitting and standing, but it's still happening.

    Anyone have any experiences like this or any advice/suggestions?
  2. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    That's carpal tunnel. See a doctor.
  3. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
  4. Ron G

    Ron G

    Mar 16, 2009
    Portsmouth, VA
    I'm not saying don't see a doctor, but when I play 1-2-3-4 I have the same problem. So I now use F. Simandl method 1-2-4 only covering 3 frets and I can play a few hours with no problems.
  5. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    See a doctor and do it as soon as you can.
  6. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Banned

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
    BINGO! :hyper:

    And, if you transfer this 1-2-4 technique to fretless, you'll play much better in tune.

    Just to be clear, one uses the third AND fourth fingers together, with this technique - and it's time-tested.
  7. Depends. If it's the thumb, index and middle, it's probably carpal tunnel. If it's the ring and pinky, it's likely to be cubital tunnel (elbow). I've had both, with successful treatment of both.
    In either case see a doctor. I give you this information so that you can try and determine which fingers are affected, in order to better inform your doctor.
  8. How straight is your left wrist? If it is bent while playing, you might try adjusting the strap and bass position so that your wrist is kept in a neutral position as much as possible.

    Many of the repetitive stress type injuries are made worse by the wrist being in a non-neutral position during the repetitions.
  9. henry2513

    henry2513 Supporting Member

    May 9, 2011
    Los Angeles, Ca
    Playing with a lighter touch will really help you.
  10. fangersnthumbs


    Jan 25, 2012
    Play through it
  11. G3Mitch


    Feb 8, 2011
    New Zealand
    I had a similar thing in my right index finger, it would tingle and almost hurt when I stretch my arm out to my side, and even sometimes when I reached for things. I'm not sure whether my bass playing caused it as thats my strumming hand.

    I googled it, as you do, and found the carpal tunnel syndrome stuff. I actually became quite paranoid about it. But as I tend to do, I avoided going to the doctor (Wouldn't recommend that) and it eventually just went away, so I'm not entirely sure what caused it. I know if you tweak nerves in your back it can affect nerves in your fingers etc. Obviously it cant hurt to see your GP, which is really what I should have done.
  12. jsbachonbass


    May 16, 2006
    Denton, TX
    NO,NO,NO! Go see an orthopedic doctor right away. I delayed seeing my doctor when I had some tingling in my right hand(pinky and 3rd finger). It wasn't until I noticed weakness and muscle atrophy between my thumb and first finger that I went to the doctor, and found out I had cubital tunnel syndrome(pinched nerve in elbow), and even though I had surgery to release it, I have some permanent weakness and muscle loss, and I am now having to readjust my right hand playing since my first finger is so weak. This all happened within a couple of months. Muscle atrophy can happen within 1 month of severe nerve compression.
  13. HaVIC5


    Aug 22, 2003
    Brooklyn, NYC
    Going to the doctor, even if they treat all the symptoms effectively, means nothing unless you change your technique to something that is not hurting you. Check out this video below and really pay attention to the idea of "neutral position."

    Developing Safe Left Hand Technique for Bass Guitar - YouTube
    comatosedragon likes this.
  14. Worst.
  15. Psycho


    Jun 24, 2008
    Make sure you aren't resting your arm on the upper body of the bass! Keep a good wrist angle too, just because it's comfy now doesn't mean it won't be later on.
  16. repoman


    Aug 11, 2011
    Kinderhook NY
    If you have a type of job that is repetitive (carpenter, mechanic, typist, forklift operator,etc, etc.) chances are that is your root cause. I would seriously consider reporting the injury at work.
    I recently had TWO carpal tunnel surgeries, just 10 day apart from each other. I missed about a month of work, but now the pain and numbness is gone.
    The best part... the company paid!

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