Wrist pain from thin neck?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by 707GK, Aug 6, 2020.

  1. 707GK


    Jun 13, 2013
    I’m getting pain when in the morning, in my left wrist, only for about 15 seconds when I first wake up and then it’s gone the rest of the day unless I angle my wrist the wrong way playing bass. It’s been consistent every day for a few weeks now, usually this kind of thing goes away by now. It seems to happen less when I play my P Bass, where the neck fills out my hand and I don’t have to angle my wrist awkwardly.

    Is this a thing? Maybe I’m just sleeping awkwardly on it?
  2. Lesfunk

    Lesfunk Bootlegger guitars : S.I.T. Strings Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2007
    Florida USA
    Yes it’s a thing.
    Everyone is different.

    I had a Geddy jazz that had such a thin neck that my hand would cramp From playing it
    96tbird, murphy, gregouille23 and 5 others like this.
  3. Warpeg


    Jun 20, 2005
    I can’t speak for your specific situation, but I have faced hand cramps multiple times from skinny necks. My left hand is used to P-bass necks, so skinnier necks tend to take awhile for my muscles to adjust to.
    StevieMac, raphaeld and 707GK like this.
  4. TrevorG

    TrevorG Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 30, 2012
    As much as there'll be great advice here... go see a doctor or a therapist(assuming that's affordable for you. I live in the land of NHS). If it's persistent you should take it seriously(though I've had wrist injuries last months). IMHO
  5. 707GK


    Jun 13, 2013
    Thank you for the replies. I usually hear of people saying the opposite, a thin neck or short scale being preferred due to pain or injury, so I’m glad I’m not the only one.

    I will definitely talk to my doctor if it persists. I haven’t had many injuries and usually heal up quickly (thanks for those genes, pops) but this one just feels sharper and more consistent. If it’s not getting better in another week or so, time to email the Dr.
    EchoEcho and TrevorG like this.
  6. raphaeld


    Sep 19, 2012
    Same here, was having very bad cramps with thin, narrow necks. Now only playing 42mm nut width necks.
    That's why I've sold all basses with thin necks I had. So currently for me it's either Musicman or Reverend or 5 stringers.
    I needed a 4strings Jazz bass but none are available with wide neck so I've custom ordered one with a 42mm nut width neck (Maruszczyk)
    StevieMac and 707GK like this.
  7. SideshowDom


    Apr 12, 2009
    Salinas, CA
    This is why I don't do short scale or thin necks. My chucky pbass necks never give me that issue, but my thin ESP and Ibanez basses did.
    kodiakblair, raphaeld and 707GK like this.
  8. 707GK


    Jun 13, 2013
    Nice, yeah my jazz just seems to hurt my hand. Seems strange to me, as I have smaller hands so I always figured J necks were the way to go.
  9. raphaeld


    Sep 19, 2012
    Well the custom bass below I've ordered is actually a short scale jazz bass with a 42mm width neck ;)
    The Official MARUSZCZYK CLUB!  Page 171  TalkBass.com 2020-08-07 00-33-51.png
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2020
  10. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    just in case someone else pops in: i don't think it's because of thin necks per se, except for 'idiosyncratic' circumstances. IME: talking/sharing with other players: some players have wrist issues with thin necks, some with the fat necks, and all sorts of issues/complaints in between, and with all kinds of instrument sizes, 'reaches', weights, yada yada. if you think about all the parts of the body involved in playing (your style) = there is room for lots of things to go sideways, over time (a little or a lot of time!).

    i know players who have actual deformities from years of playing (abusing?) a certain way (lots of us older cats have 'issues' --- not just wrists!). it is what it is. ;)
  11. Lonnybass


    Jul 19, 2000
    San Diego
    Endorsing Artist: Pedulla Basses
    Thin necks feel amazing when you pick them up at a store, probably because of the wow factor and how different they are from most off-the-rack production instruments. Unfortunately that doesn't always translate into comfort over a number of hours. Try moving your left hand in playing position with your thumb closed in and further out, you should notice an improvement in mobility the further your thumb is spread. Very telling in terms of what feels right!
  12. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    I think the thicker neck is forcing your had into a more ergonomic position - If I'm right, you're playing with what my violin teacher called a "collapsed wrist". The palm of your fretting hand should NOT touch the neck - your wrist is too bent if you play that way.

    I don't think you need a change of necks - I think you need training in how to position your left hand.
  13. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    I was just thinking about a Kramer I have that causes discomfort in my palm if I play it too long (sentimental baggage so I can't get rid of it). Everyone is different, we all like different neck profiles, spacing, you name it.
    But I'm with you @707GK I have gravitated to basses that feel close to a classic Precision type, C profile. My favorite Fenders are my P or my P neck Js, and a Ray and my Sabrel have pretty similar neck shape. My J is much less comfortable but not unbearable, but my 2 Kramers just don't feel good to me now, but they are fast. I can palm a basketball and a little more meat on the neck feels right to my hand.
    Totally subjective.
    707GK likes this.
  14. slapshot


    Dec 22, 2018
    SE Michigan
    If you do go to the Dr, take the bass with you so he/she can see you play. It may give him/her a better idea of where the problem is.
    Snaxster, nnnnnn and 707GK like this.
  15. LowEndOperative

    LowEndOperative ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ Supporting Member

    Oct 8, 2013
    Mine does from my similarly-necked American Pro. Or I'm just getting old.
  16. tpa


    Dec 1, 2007
    København, Danmark
    IME LH technique depends on neck. On thin or wide necks I use thumb on back of neck and on thick neck I use palm on back of neck. So on Warwick Corvette (thick and narrow with a long reach to the low notes) the palm to back position was the right choice. On my 5 string Ibanez Mikro which is pretty much the opposite in all senses I use thumb to back - not unlike what one would on a classical guitar.
  17. dopejohnpaul

    dopejohnpaul Supporting Member

    Oct 6, 2009
    Bonaire, GA
    Yes, this is why I’ve adapted to wider necks, and my playing is actually a lot more comfortable now.
    raphaeld, 707GK and Rip Van Dan like this.
  18. Esteban Garcia

    Esteban Garcia bassist, arranger, aelurophile Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2018
    Portland, OR
    I'd be more suspicious of your technique causing injury than the thickness of the neck. Stop what you're doing and get professional guidance.
  19. Rip Van Dan

    Rip Van Dan DNA Endorsing Artist Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2009
    Duvall, WA
    That has far more to do with how you are holding the bass then whether or not you have a thin or thick neck. Look at your wrist to see how much you are bending it when you are playing. If you hold your bass too far down or hold the neck of your bass parallel to the floor, that will cause you to put to bend your wrist at close to a 90° angle, which will screw up your wrist. The quick answer is to angle the neck of your bass up to about 45° and then take a look at your wrist as you're playing.

    I injured my wrist a couple of years ago and had to wear a brace and go to physical therapy to get it to heal up. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to play bass while wearing that brace, which I was only supposed to take off at night to go to sleep. I did have to angle the neck of my bass up slightly more than normal but I actually gigged with it that way and didn't have a problem. So check out what your wrist is doing while you're playing. Odds are it has a very high degree of bend in the wrist that's causing your problem.
    danielnorris and 707GK like this.
  20. RabidMusic


    Jan 29, 2012
    I have to agree. More likely technique than thickness.
    danielnorris and RattleSnack like this.
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