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Tricep pain in right arm

Discussion in 'Orchestral Technique [DB]' started by Fuzzy1990ny, Feb 26, 2018.

  1. Fuzzy1990ny


    Mar 19, 2015
    Hello all,

    I recentley made the switch from standing to sitting and I'm loving every minute of it. Well sort of. Sitting has solved so many major technique problems that I have and has alleviated so much pain and discomfort that I had standing except for one aspect. When bowing the g string for a prolonged amount of time I start to get a dull pain in my tricep. This only happens when playing solo's, orchestra is completley fine. It seems I'm extending too much for the g string. I'm trying to be as relaxed as possible and have tried rotating the bass so the g string is closer to me.

    I am working with a teacher on this but would love to get some second opinions.

    I sit with one foot on the floor and one foot on a rung of the stool. My teacher wants me to sit with both feet up but I'm just so darn comfortable sitting the way I am except for this tricep pain. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

    Oh, and I play French bow.
  2. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    Try lowering the stool and play with both feet on the floor. I find it the most comfortable way to sit for long periods. You also might try using a Laborie endpin giving the effect of sitting but but with the option of more body mobility.
  3. Dbass926


    Jun 20, 2005
    Philadelphia, PA
    The likely cause of your discomfort is the G string being too far away from your center of mass. It means that your E string is currently a dream to play, especially for excerpts (no risk of bowing into your leg)...but that you will have a harder time when you are focused on playing high notes.

    One possible solution would be to angle the bass inward, so that you looking straight ahead are drawing a line exactly halfway between the fingerboard/neck and the top of the bass. This will make the E string slightly less accessible but it will allow you to play all 4 strings without creating fatigue. A good test would be trying to play an F on each of the 4 strings in successive octaves. If you can do this without twisting your torso or bending your back too much, you stand a good chance of playing with some semblance of comfort.

    I have a lot of respect for Eric and it's worth pursuing his solutions. I will say that for my part, I benefitted from raising my stool and endpin so that I wasn't bending myself around the bass to play in thumb position. Getting myself above the bass was crucial to finding an equilibrium of comfort.

    At the end of the day, having a teacher on hand to assess the situation in real time and use your feedback to arrive at a solution for you is the only way you're going to effectively solve this. And even then, you're going to evolve as your body ages and the expectations on you shift from solo playing to ensemble playing, etc.
    Lee Moses likes this.
  4. Perhaps you are straightening your bow arm too much when near the point of the bow on the G string, going beyond drawing the strokes sideways at 90 degrees to it.

    Sitting in front of a mirror try resting the upper part of the bow on the D or A string at 90 degrees with comfortable relaxed shoulder height and arm length, plus usual slightly turned in bow hold, contact point and arm weight. Then simply raise and lower your bow hand in an arc with steady shoulder height as you roll the bow from string to string. You will see the bow angle down towards the floor through the middle of the cut out when 90 degrees to the E string, point more towards the floor on the G string side, and look more parallel to the floor on the A and D. This is because (1) the bass is leaning back, (2) the fingerboard is leaning back even more and (3), you hand moves along a plane across the strings that is 90 degrees to their length (picture a sheet of cardboard resting on the strings both at 90 degrees to their length and to their sides - this is the plane). Does your right elbow still feel uncomfortable to reach each string at the point, middle and heel of the bow?

    Never quite straighten your bow arm IMO.
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2018

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