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Wrist pain and bad habits

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by weeding, Jan 26, 2006.

  1. weeding


    May 17, 2005
    I unconciously got into the habit of resting my arm on the edge of the body of my bass, and bending my wrist about 90 degrees to play the strings. I then began experincing wrist pains and for a long time didn't realise what it was all about (me=feels very stupid). So, I'm trying very hard not to do this anymore, but I'm occasionaly slipping back to my old method. Has anyone else had this problem, and if so could they offer me some advice on how to cement a healthy playing position.

  2. AGCurry


    Jun 29, 2005
    Kansas City
    Maybe part of the problem is that you're trying to "cement" a playing position!

    Seriously, here are some ideas:
    1) Try wearing your bass lower. If this makes your left hand uncomfortable, angle the instrument so the neck is at a greater angle from horizontal.

    2) Stick your elbow out. When you're practicing, put a pillow under your arm.

    3) As you're playing, think about what sounds you want and how to get them just by moving your right hand to different points. This will not only loosen up your right hand/arm but it will provide a wider palette of tones.

    4) Try playing some songs, or sections of songs, with your thumb or a pick.
  3. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    When I was playing a pretty narrow genre of metal, I was having similar wrist pains and early symptoms of CTS. If I am playing a lot of notes fast and with a pretty punchy attack, my wrist tends towards a 80* angle. The cause of the CTS symptoms turned out to be the ultra fierce fingerstyle I was employing to cut through. With a lot more volume at my disposal, a lot of my problems went away. The "locked" position could be a big part of the problem too.

    These days I use a louder amp, occasionally do a few stretches/pressure things around my wrist that a chiropractor suggested, and vary my right hand playing style a lot. I use a pick now and then, lots of slapping, and a lot of different angles for my right hand, and use a soft attack when possible.
  4. just try and keep your elbow out from your body

  5. I can think of a bad habit that invloves using your wrist, but I think it'd be against forum rules to mention it...:D

    (I'm sorry, but someone was gonna say it eventually)
  6. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    I used to do that. I thought it was "the way" bassists were supposed to do it, because you see so many playing that way on TV.

    Some tips that'll keep your wrist from the CTS bend:
    1. Raise your elbow. It'll reduce the angle of your wrist. You can bring your elbow more out to the side as mentioned above, but you have to watch out that this doesn't create a bend at the side of your wrist as a result of your forearm turning perpendicular to your hand.
    2. Begin using a floating thumb technique. Floating thumb is described in great detail in many of the threads around here if you do a search; basically, if youre moving your thumb up and down between all of the strings at all times, it's almost impossible to keep your wrist at that harsh angle.
    3. You can change your hand position altogether, although this would be a drastic change that would take some time to get used to. I curl my fingers under my hand when I pluck, so my hand is always at the front of my bass, so my wrist only angles a little if at all, and my forearm barely touches the side of the bass.Here's a pic if you'd like to see how it looks.

    Good luck!
  7. Human Bass

    Human Bass

    Aug 26, 2005
    There is nothing wrong with masturbation my dear :D
  8. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    He meant slapping children.
  9. Human Bass

    Human Bass

    Aug 26, 2005
    Oh! Now this is very wrong!:eek: