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Warm-Up Techniques/Exercises to reduce Fatigue/Pain

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Charlito, Jun 9, 2000.

  1. Charlito


    May 19, 2000
    My current day job is a data-entry slave. I suffer from OOS (occupational overuse syndrome) or RSI (repetitve stress injury) - typing all day then playing bass all night is not helping. Also playing live for longer lengths of time really burns me - I find I have to simplify some of my lines becuase my hands are so tired - tense and sore - I physically find it hard to press the strings down sometimes. Sounds awful and it is. I was wondering if anyone would like to share their warm-up routines/exercises for keeping their hands/wrists in good shape etc.
  2. I got some good ideas from a pretty recent issue of BP.. I think the cover story was "70 Ways to Play Better Now" or something. They had some stretching exercises in there for your hands, which I now do before every gig. Basically, open your hand and stretch all your fingers as far as they'll go, hold for 10 seconds, then make a fist.. repeat a few times. Also, I just generally shake my hands and arms around for a few minutes to get loose. You could also squeeze a rubber ball or tennis ball.
  3. gmstudio99


    Mar 11, 2000
    Cleveland, OH
    I would also recommend seeing a doctor.

  4. demon53


    Mar 27, 2000
    There is an awsome article in BP mag. It was about a year ago, but on the cover, they called the article :"Bassist, heal thyself" or something to that effect. Check out the BP websight and check the back issues link from a year or two ago. Its got some great stuff in there. Me personally, the finger stretching and shaking out usually works pretty well for me. But you should really check out that issue of BP.
  5. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    One of the problems inherent in bass guitar is that it promotes playing with bent wrists, which compresses the nerves and tissues there. I've managed to avoid hand pain by angling the instrument about 45 degrees relative to the ground (preventing my left wrist from bending too much in the lower positions) and by keeping my right forearm flush or parallel with the top of the instrument (preventing my right wrist from bending). I realize this won't work for everyone; just my 2 cents.
  6. phairphunk


    Jun 19, 2000
    I ran into some hand/wrist troubles myself recently. I found help through Carole Kaye, and her website. I think it's just www.carolkaye.com but I might be mistaken. She shows how to best hold the hand/wrist to keep from fatiguing. It worked great for me.
  7. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.

    Try running cold water over your hands between sets. It works for me. I have the same problem but mine stems from age syndrome. smile.

    G.M. offers sound advice. As young as you are it would be a shame for your career to be cut short. If the first Dr. doesn't help, you owe it to yourself to get a 2nd opinion. I personally would consider an occupation that didn't aggravate the condition. I know that's easier said than done. Best of luck to you. If you think like I do, quitting music probably isn't an option. smile.

  8. brewer


    Mar 27, 2000
    i was having similar problems. after working all day, i would start getting horrible hand cramps during the first or second song at a gig, forcing either simplified playing or a somwhat lessened ability.

    to solve this i started playing the bass unplugged starting roughly 20 minutes to a half/hour before going on stage. it worked! i havent had the problem since using this warm up technique. i simply play the bass with fingering etc to loosen up my hand muscles.
  9. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    I was having enough tingling in my hand that the doctor said I was starting to get carpal tunnel syndrome. He told me to wear a special CTS brace every night to force my wrist to remain straight all night. I hated it at first, but I honestly believe that it made a difference. You can buy such braces at Walgreens, Eckhards, CVS and other pharmacies where knee braces and ankle braces are located. They aren't too expensive. It is worth the money to save your hands. Jason Oldsted
  10. Licketysplit


    Mar 15, 2000
    In the most recent issue of bassplayer (Tony Kanal is on the cover) there is a lesson on bass isometrics. I've been practicing these and bassically it's a five-minute chop buster/warm-up/@ss-kicker that really loosens up the fingers and strengthens them. It took a whole page to describe hopw to do it in the mag, so I'm not even going to try, you can get the issue and learn from it. Another thing I do is warm-up chromatically from the low F to the C-flat on the G-string. Basically, one fret per finger in one position and play up and down chromatically. Hope that made sense...
  11. qbert00001


    May 31, 2000
    I'm gonna second licketysplit here. The excercise in the new issue of BP definitely is killer, and after only a few days it's starting to get easier. I have a feeling that it will help me out greatly in the long run. Also my teacher gave me a decent warmup that seems similar to the one licketysplit gave: Play chromatic scales on all strings, up to about the 14th fret and back down, playing in three note sequences with the fingering 1-2-3, 2-3-4, 3-4-2, 1-2-3, etc, and then repeat in reverse on the way back down. Helps loosen up the hand and also builds speed i've found. hope this helps.

    Breakin' the law! Breakin the law!

    [This message has been edited by qbert00001 (edited July 27, 2000).]
  12. I add a hearty third to Licketysplit. That exercise is a monster and also helps with getting the pinky independent (a problem for me).

    I also use a version of the John Patitucci exercise (fifths/minor thirds, then octaves/minor sixths), but starting on the B string and extending to elevenths/flat ninths and flat fourteenths/augmented 11ths. Talk about a stretch...
  13. Quit your day job!!!!!!!!!!

  14. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Dam*, I wanted to post that, except I don't have a girlfriend right now, probably because of my chronic forumitis...;) ;)
  15. Charlito -

    I'm right where you are (see my post in Miscellaneous Re: Be Careful What You Do When You're NOT Playing Your Bass).

    #1) If you haven't already, GO TO A DOCTOR RIGHT NOW!

    #2) Follow Jason Oldstead's advice: get a wrist brace and wear it, especially when you sleep, but also while you're doing your data entry slaving.

    #3) If you can afford to, follow bassdork's advice, stop doing data entry. That's what I did, I quit my day gig, but I also had a fairly good playing gig which afforded me that alternative. If you can't quit the day gig, then start looking for something else which will offer you similar income without the RSI threat.

    #4) Ed Fuqua (KUNG FUQUA!!! :D) is also right, spend some time working on stretching/relaxing exercises, and strengthening exercises. Make it a point to examine your playing position and technique for any problem spots (particularly bent wrists...this applies to data entry as well: are you keeping your wrists straight while you're typing?). I actually lowered my bass a bit, so that my right wrist would be a little straighter, made a big difference.

    Good luck, and keep us posted on your progress. It is a defeatable situation, my hands are back to 100% already, hopefully you'll be as fortunate as I was.
  16. Charlito


    May 19, 2000
    Just thought I'd post a quick follow-up. Since posting that message all those many months ago I have received a promotion - the new position is far less labour intensive RSI-wise which has in turn alleviated stress and my RSI has cleared up. I continue to practice a dilligent warm-up exercise routine before each gig and practice, take regular breaks from keyboard work when I can and try to relax. Like Gard said in his previous post - It is a defeatable situation! For those who are suffering - hang in there - listen to the warning signs your body is giving you and do all you can to alter what is directly affecting the problem.

    Cheers to all for the insight and support.


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