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Technique Worries

Posts: 100
I'm self taught and lately I've been noticing certain things with my technique that really concern me. 1) after I'm done playing, when I open and close my fretting hand, I hear a lot of joints cracking. 2) My hands and arms fatigue very fast. 3) My finger joints ache during and after play. 4) I can never find a comfortable strap length. 5) I know I press on the frets/strings too hard, but I can't seem to break the habit. 6) My fretting hand is often uncomfortable even though my wrist is straight.

I want to correct these things before it's too late. I would appreciate any insight.
johnny [staff]
Posts: 1005
Are you doing any warmup exercises before you start or do you plunge straight into the hard stuff?

As for strap length, it's a problem for me too. I can't find the proper balance between looking cool and not being in pain, so I usually suffer and try to look cool by having it as low as possible (when playing a gig). Someone on this forum said “it's not a violin” I really liked that
No I don't do any warm ups, I just start playing. Reason being that they never seem to help, even when I have done them. Do you have any that you can recommend?
Posts: 1499
You might try positioning your bass higher (shorter strap) with the neck more vertical than horizontal. The ergonomics of a vertical neck are much kinder to your hands and wrists than a horizontal neck. (You can feel this just by holding your fretting hand in playing position then raising and lowering your arm from down-at-the-thigh to chest-high. Your hand will naturally be much more open and less strained to reach across frets in the high position.)

I know of a number of bass players who, after years of playing a standard electric bass, became unable to play because of pain and stiffness in their fretting hand. Switching to a vertical bass allowed them to play again.

Here's an example of a vertical bass:

Sadly, I don't think you'd get many admirers if you are playing metal/punk on a vertical bass!
KissyBoy [staff]
Posts: 42
this is a cool little video which gives some nice tips, i found them very useful

another thing to be mindful of is when you fret the neck, be mindful of which muscles you're using to fret. i always find it easier to use the muscles in the hand an wrist to help the muscles in the fingers instead of just using your fingers. you have to put much less stress on your muscles if you use your wrist and hand to fret instead of just your fingers
Posts: 46
Try lowering the action on neck. They say that lower action is for speed which is true but it relieves the stress on wrist and hands. It worked well for me, if nothing else works try lowering the action.
I had the same problem with pressing on the strings too hard. Eventually it just sort of phases out (at least I think so)

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