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Where should I be feeling sore? lol

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by BassOfDiamonds, Jul 18, 2012.

  1. Ok, so I've just finished up practicing for tonight after having had my first lesson last night.

    For those who remember their beginner days, do you remember feeling muscularly "worked" in the following areas of the right hand:

    - top of hand/wrist
    - forearm
    - area between bicep and tricep (towards the outer top area of arm)
    - deltoids

    It doesn't bother me, I just want to make sure those are the areas of the body that are supposed to feel the emphasis in order to figure out whether I might be doing something totally off that's causing me to feel certain muscles/bones being exercised.

    Of course, I don't have my next lesson till next week, so I'm askin' here so I can practice correctly in the meantime.

    Here's a pic of what I mean: http://i3.ytimg.com/vi/BO7sPaQNIUM/mqdefault.jpg

    I looked at some Youtube tutorials, and it seems like I'm doing everything right, at least visually. So just want to make sure this is normal. Thanks!
  2. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    You dont say how long you have being playing, so I'll assume you are a noob. I cant say that I experienced any of the things you list, when I received my first lesson. The top of hand/wrist problem does not sound good to me. I assume that this first lesson was all about technique, how to hold the bass, your stance, etc. If not so, it should have been. At your next lesson, ask your teacher to show you good left and right hand technique. From a physical aspect, things to be aware of are ;

    Both wrists should be as straight as possible.

    Keep the hands relaxed.

    Dont rest the forearm on the body of the bass.

    Dont grip the neck too hard.

    Dont press down too hard when fretting a string. It only takes minimal pressure.

    Before a lesson/practice session/gig, make sure to take five minutes to warm up, by doing gentle stretches. Search You Tube for "hand stretches for guitar". Dont jump straight into fast strenious play from the start. Go slowly at first until the hands adjust.

    Sorry about all the "donts," but they are important IMO.

    Here are two clips on right and left hand technique. Hope they are of help :

    Best of luck with it. :)
  3. Yeah, I'm a noob. And I mean a complete noob. First time ever touching a musical instrument.

    :confused: Is that possible? It seems that except for the G string (lol), I have to bend my left hand up in order to be able to place just my fingertips on the frets.

    I also seem to have to bend my right hand down over the bass and bent to the right in order to have my fingers precisely perpendicular to the strings when picking.

    Like this: http://i3.ytimg.com/vi/BO7sPaQNIUM/mqdefault.jpg

    That's possible? :) Feels so tense now, trying to hold myself into the correct position.

    Odd...my instructor told me to rest my forearm there.

    How do I avoid the buzzing/rattling sound? It seems to only not happen if I press down pretty hard.

    Bookmarked those. Thanks!
  4. 1958Bassman


    Oct 20, 2007
    If you rest your forearm on the body, there's a tendency to allow more weight to push down when you're concentrating more on playing and not on hand/arm position. This presses into muscles and, possibly, the nerve in the forearm, causing pain. Keeping the right wrist is difficult, especially on a 6 string bass. Personally, I think a new player should start on a 4 string, but that's not universal. The left wrist should definitely be straighter- many players have hand problems because of excessive bending/pressure on carpal tunnel/nerve.
  5. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    If you feel any pain anywhere, you're doing something wrong.
  6. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    Note, I did say as straight as possible. Granted there will be times when it is not going to be straight.

    1958Bassman has given a good explanation as to why it is prudent not to rest your forearm on the bass. Yes, lots of bassists do, and get away with no problems. However, it can be a recipe for injury at a further time. My advice is to use the "Floating Thumb" I linked you. Apart from avoiding injury (as the wrist is straight), it also has the added bonus of muting the unwanted sounds from the strings not being played.

    Pressing down too hard : To find out exactly just how much ( or more to the point....LITTLE) pressure is involved in fretting a string, try fretting without the thumb on the back of the neck. Press gently at first, then increase gradually, until you get a clear sounding note. After a while you hand will get the message as to how much pressure to apply.

    Finally, JimmyM's advice is very good. Playing the bass should not involve pain of any kind. Ignore people who tell you to play through the pain. If you do experience it, stop immediately, investigate the possible causes, and correct accordingly.

    EDIT : I just remembered this very good video clip on L/H technique, especially for beginners.

  7. 1958Bassman


    Oct 20, 2007
    Or, it's because of 'Full Contact' bass playing.:p
  8. 1958Bassman


    Oct 20, 2007
    This is one case FOR hanging the bass lower than chest level. That's fine for the fretting hand, but bad for the plucking/picking hand. Find a position where both wrists are as straight as possible. Usually, placing the body at belt level is a good starting point.
  9. Ran into this issue again tonight....tried all the suggestions in the videos/thread, etc, and I'm still having tension in my very upper arm/shoulder, and even my neck.

    It's not even soreness though, it's more that I feel the muscles being used/held, which makes me kind of fatigued.

    But I think I'm probably just pretty out of shape. I'm an extreme ectomorph, really skinny with almost no muscle tone. I don't really exercise much, I pretty much coast on my fast metabolism.

    Is this situation common with new bass players who start off being really out of shape?
  10. Bisounourse


    Jun 21, 2012
    Gent, Belgium
    Well, I never had that problem. But like JimmyM said: if you're feeling pain you're doing something wrong.
    Only other advice I can give is: try to sit/stand comfortably and relaxed while playing.
  11. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    +1 to all the above.

    OP, The last sentence above, could be your problem. A lot of times we are concentrating so much on our playing that we tense up without realising we are doing so. Try to be aware of your whole body while playing. Breathing slowly and deeply helps to relax the body.

    It is also a good idea to build up your playing time gradually to allow the body time to adapt. In some ways it is natural to feel a bit fatigued when you suddenly ask the body to do something strenuous, that it is not used to, and as we all know, playing the bass is a very physical activity. ;)

    Bottom line is to take to it gently and gradually and be aware of any pain (stop if you experience it).
  12. kevteop


    Feb 12, 2008
    York, UK
    Same here, or I used to be (I started working out when I started learning double bass) but I don't recall any muscle soreness when I started playing bass guitar. You might get sore skin on your fingertips at first and the odd blister but that's about it.

    You must be too tense when you play. I guess it's either an unconscious anxiety/concentration thing, or you're gripping the bass tightly to your body using your arm or something weird like that. Either way it's not normal and you need to learn to relax or you could cause yourself big problems the more you play.
  13. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    Simple answer is you are holding up your shoulders...common problem.
    Stand in front of a mirror and do 10 shoulder shrugs. Lift your shoulders as high as you can, then drop them down as far as you can on each one. Do them a a reasonable pace.
    After the 10 shake you arms and then push your shoulders down, relax and see if they rise. If they do that finished position is your natural relaxed height, if they do not then that is how much tension you have been carrying.

    The natural tendency is to raise the shoulders, this happens because you may be looking at what your hands are doing so it is natural that the neck may rise, or stretch to see this happen, and as such you practice in that position rather than return to a relaxed shoulders down position.

    All bass players at some point will do this without noticing it, but what the should notice is when the strain builds in to tension and know exactly where the cause is. This simple exercise and being aware of the shoulders being up will help relieve a number of problems in the neck, rotor cuff, back and hips.

    Since neck tension can have an effect on the hands due to strain in the Brachial Plexus ( the area just under the shoulders near the neck where the nerves to the arms branch out ) because stress and strain here can en-trap a nerve. So it is best to watch those shoulders and "keep the down". Shoulder shrugs are good as a warm up and of course good as a warm down after playing, combine with the hand arm shakes to help take tension out of the upper body.
  14. Holy crap. I'm at work, so of course I don't have my bass to test all that out on, but upon a quick simulation with my arm, I think you nailed it. I can't believe I didn't realize something so obvious....thanks everyone! :)
  15. HaVIC5


    Aug 22, 2003
    Brooklyn, NYC
    Resting the right forearm on the instrument is pretty essential. Watch this video for the explanation, but the long and short of it is that the dead weight of the right arm acts as the counterbalance to your fingers in your left hand. This prevents your left hand from having to "grip" the instrument and cause tension in your left wrist.

  16. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    I should have been more specific in my first post, as I think we may be at cross purposes here. I agree with your above post. You are talking about resting the arm on the FRONT (face) part of the bass body.

    What I (and I think, 1958Bassman ) are talking about is resting the arm on the narrow TOP EDGE of the body, which causes the wrist to bend as well as restricting the movement of the tendons, which can cause problems.
  17. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    Not really essential Adam, it depends on the balance of the bass, a bass that is neck heavy or a player that holds on to the neck without the correct technique that sees them pulling the neck down, may counter the balance with the forearm on top....they can also counter if with forearm along the front, sort of trapping the bass between the body and the forearm....as a flamenco, or Spannish guitarist would do.

    In a modern bass design the instrument should be balanced on its own, so all we do is play it. The amount of pressure any one player can apply is unseen, so no one can really tell how much is being used...if any.
    Tell tale sign would be a mark of line on the forearm and some tingling or numbness in the thumb area, caused by the bass edge digging into the forearm and trapping the nerve.
    Uncommon occurrence but not un-heard of, I have come across players that have done it and when put correct the problem cleared up.
    Pressures are the un-seen part of teaching that needs hands on instruction, but just now in the UK the advice from the MU is that no teacher should touch a pupil because of the rise of law suits from "improper contact" which makes teaching the the art of pressure nearly impossible as you need to put their hands in positions and feel them for tension as they do it. These things are easy to show and let a player feel than they are to explain which is why a good teacher or instructor at the start is worth their weight in gold.
  18. tbird99


    Jun 29, 2012
    Dalton, Ga
    You should feel hurt in your butt at least that's where I always hurt at when I first started don't worry you'll get used to it the more you do it same applies for your hand
  19. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    It's only obvious if you know to look for it, and since you cannot see it yourself when playing it goes un-noticed. But more importantly, it becomes part of a players set up and will, that is not maybe, but it will bring problems in later life because the tension that is used to lift the shoulders also moves the spine, which moves the hips etc.

    A great book all bassists should have is, A Bassists Guide to Injury Managment, Prevention and Better Health, by Randall Kertz.

  20. Clef_de_fa

    Clef_de_fa Guest

    Dec 25, 2011
    And on the tip of your fingers ???

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