Wrist pain from thin neck?

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

  1. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru..........

    Apr 11, 2006
    This is the major reason I no longer own any with a Jazz Bass-style neck. When I was much younger, not a problem.
    _jaxon5 likes this.
  2. fabubass


    Jan 13, 2006
    It's definitely "a thing." Being 6'4" and big hands I can play a Jazz or Precision all night, My Hofner, 1 set ,and can't wait to put it down, even though it looks great and a Must on Beatle Tunes
  3. Rip Van Dan

    Rip Van Dan DNA Endorsing Artist Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2009
    Duvall, WA
    LOL....and I hate wide necks because they are so uncomfortable to move around on. But I've only ever owned basses with the 60's slim C-shape Jazz neck with a 7.25" radius. Those are the only necks I've played since 1966 and what my current bass has now.

    I'd actually be surprised if the problem is not how he's holding his bass and what the angle of his wrist is while playing. He might be forced to hold a P-bass differently than a Jazz to fret it and that means less angle and less strain.
    dopejohnpaul and 707GK like this.
  4. 707GK


    Jun 13, 2013
    After taking a closer look, I do twist my wrist when using the Jazz. On the P bass and Sterling, there seems to be more for my palm to grip onto, and my wrist stays straight. I can even now hear a popping from my wrist when fretting low notes on the E on the Jazz bass, but not the other 2.
  5. groove pump

    groove pump

    Oct 24, 2006
    Agree that it's a thing.

    I ran into some significant left hand/wrist strain last year when I started playing a lighter alternative to my old J-bass with a Warmoth neck. That Warmoth neck has a 1 1/2" nut width, but a little more depth under the fingerboard compared with some other Jazz necks and I could also dial the action down super low on that bass for effortless fretting.

    The new lighter bass has a neck with similar dimensions as that Warmoth, but I definitely had a rougher time with playing that bass, even with the action dropped down low. Then I realized that the string spacing on this newer bass was MUCH tighter than with the Warmoth Jazz and when I compared how my left hand fit one vs. the other, it was pretty apparent that the wider spacing on the Warmoth was a more natural fit for me.

    Now I've got the newer bass in the shop for both a new nut and a different bridge to get the strings a little further apart. It should be done any day now and it's like I'm waiting for Santa Claus!!

    Some wider necks feel okay to me, but even some of those are too shallow and seem to put my hand in a bad orientation if my thumb placed against the back of the neck is too close to my fingers - not enough chunkiness in the neck to space them apart. If there's a little extra wood under the fingerboard (and the strings are also spaced out a little bit), I seem to be pretty comfortable with either a typical Jazz width or a P neck width.

    Just my story, but I feel like I'm a lot better off with a neck that gives me a good fitting combination of width and depth (chunkiness). This "best fit" probably varies for each of us the same way that we like these jeans or those shoes. Hope you make your way to a good situation and some healthy playing sooner than later :thumbsup:
    Rip Van Dan likes this.
  6. Element Zero

    Element Zero Supporting Member

    Dec 14, 2016
    The Pedulla I had also had an absurdly thin neck that gave me wrist issues as well. I found I needed to raise the strap height to about my norm which is about seated level. Made it a little bit uncomfortably high for my right hand but tolerable...

    I no longer own that bass.
  7. How's chucky doin?
    Jeff Scott likes this.
  8. BarfanyShart


    Sep 19, 2019
    DC Metro
    Yeah, I like short scale with a wide neck, that's the most comfortable for me.
  9. nnnnnn


    Oct 27, 2018
    I'm not a bass teacher, but it sounds like you're trying to grip more tightly than you need to, and not making enough adjustment to suit individual neck shapes.

    I never grip the neck with my palm, no matter how thick or thin it is. I tried it just now to see what it felt like and I couldn't play effectively with my palm touching the neck - I could fret notes on the lower (pitched) strings but I couldn't move between notes smoothly and couldn't play octaves comfortably.

    When playing notes on the E string (or the B string of my fiver) the point where my fingers join my palm might be touching the bottom of the neck sort of at the edge of the fingerboard, but not gripping the neck, and my palm doesn't touch the back of the neck - only my thumb touches the back.
  10. P Cheen

    P Cheen Chelsea Blue is the colour! Supporting Member

    Apr 4, 2015
    Sacramento, CA
    I think this is true. One of the reasons why I had to sell my Lakland Skyline 44-60, the nut width was 1.496” and it was making playing a pain. I couldn’t play more than 45 or so minutes.
    ...and then I got a ‘57 spec P bass, 1.75” nut width and a real thicc baseball bat profile...my hands are perfect. I can play for hours.

    And i’m not even 27 years old yet!
  11. somebrains


    Feb 7, 2017
    I switched to a firmer bed with a Costco foam topper.
    I was waking up with shooting pain thru my left arm.
    My gf was having issues too bc we both ride keyboards for a living.

    I'm playing 5s with 19mm spacing.
    It forces my hands into book approved straight positions.
    I don't wear my bass down to my knees like I'm 19 anymore.

    I keep a couple baseball bat Warwick's around if the palms start tingling.
    707GK likes this.
  12. Kukulkan61

    Kukulkan61 Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2011
    Northern Arizona
    Nice!! How you liking that Classic Vibe Pbass I sold you?
  13. Kukulkan61

    Kukulkan61 Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2011
    Northern Arizona
    Stay away from Ibanez then...
  14. EchoEcho


    Oct 14, 2007
    I think it's a problem of technique rather than anything to do with the width of the neck. As the pain is happening away from the bass I suggest an appointment with the doc when appropriate(given covid) just in case
  15. vvvmmm


    Dec 6, 2016
    I believe that Jean-Jacques Burnel might have a song about this phenomenon.
  16. JeezyMcNuggles

    JeezyMcNuggles Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2018
    Santa Maria, CA
    I suck, but nobody really notices
    Yup. Im in that boat. Thin necks hurt my hands. Wrist and fingers. Thick necks and wide string spacing don't do that to me. Not all hands are created equal.
    707GK likes this.
  17. XJ_Wheeler


    Oct 20, 2016
    The technique opinion is true to a point, but if you’re a squid, you’re a squid.
    Neck shape/width/thickness has been the main factor in my bass purchases the last six years. Two years prior to that I purchased two fairly high end “dream” basses with 1.5” slim necks and dealt with frequent pain, cramping and decreased stamina. Those were sold.
    This never happened with my main bass with a 1-5/8” chunky neck that I played for twenty years.
    My (wood toys) basses, skateboards and snowboards all have very specific specs. If you’re comfortable you can rip harder and longer, with less effort and have more fun.
    JeezyMcNuggles, 707GK and _jaxon5 like this.
  18. Adienn7


    Jan 26, 2007
    It's how you play.. The break angle of wrist.. Thickness or thinness is commonly blamed.. But angle of the bass neck effect more..
    danielnorris and RattleSnack like this.
  19. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    Wrist pain from thin neck?
    Entirely possible, that!
  20. chris_b


    Jun 2, 2007
    Does your bass have a high action? My guess is that you are holding the bass in a way that is causing your wrist stress and discomfort. This is not bass dependant and will be caused by your technique.

    Change the way you hold and play your basses. Readjust the strap or get a new one. Get advice from an experienced bass player. If that doesn't resolve this issue very quickly, run this past a doctor who will be able to give a more informed and definitive opinion.
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