Fretting hand/arm still not in great position: pause or progress through lessons?

Hi everyone, I’m on Module 3 Lesson 3 and even though I am mindful of having a relaxed shoulder, arm and hand with my thumb positioned correctly, I find as I move along the neck my hand starts doing the ‘wrong’ things (for eg my hand and shoulder get too tense, my thumb goes whacky etc) so I’m constantly correcting.

My question is should I pause until I get this sorted, or keep progressing through the lessons whilst doing my best? I repeat the workouts often at the different tempos and I’ve watched lots of advice videos on the topic of hand/arm positioning. I do the lessons sitting down then repeat standing up and I’ve adjusted the positioning of the bass.

I’m also wondering if, at this early stage, I should have a single lesson with a teacher to get technique sorted? I posted about this yesterday then deleted the topic because I saw a video of the lovely teacher at my local music store with his thumb in the baseball grip position, and wondered if that wasn’t a good sign! :smiley:

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No, keep moving in the course. What works and feels good for you may be different for others. Your thumb will position itself and as long as you are cognizant of proper positioning, your technique will improve over time. My problem is flying fingers. I devote 20-15 minutes in practice to working on taming them.

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As long as you’re working on new songs/techniques, it’ll always make it more difficult to keep your ergonomics “correct”. Even after 2 years of playing, if I work on something different, it’ll make it more difficult to keep my hands and shoulders relaxed. As long as you’re cognizant of what you should be doing, you do your best to always do it the best you can and aren’t doing anything so wrong that you’ll injure yourself, then I suggest you keep progressing through the lessons.

There’s no one place to keep your thumb, no one way to use your fingers, and as you play more, you’ll likely find what’s comfortable to you… I use multiple different left hand and right hand techniques depending on what songs/style I’m playing. You want to always try to do what keeps you relaxed and uses the least energy; everything seems somewhat awkward when it’s new :slight_smile:

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I played guitar for a while before bass and watched a lot of videos on the things people do wrong so at the beginning of playing bass I was always very careful with my technique, especially muting and flying fingers. I found the best thing to do was to slow down enough that I could make every action a conscious muscle movement; when you do things quickly, it masks a lot of poor technique.

There are a lot of things where you can ask even more experienced people to do something slowly and they’ll struggle with it… if you can’t do it slow, you can’t do it fast :slight_smile:

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Keep going with what you’re doing, but slow everything down until you can nail it. Once that happens, you can slowly and incrementally build up speed. But make no mistake: Speed is not the goal at first. Instead, focus on accuracy without pain or tension. This will get you farther, quicker than anything else.

Remember, as a child who could neither walk nor talk. What got you talking and walking was no-pressure repetition until you could do what you set out to do.

So it is with playing bass.

Practice patience to do things slowly and well. Eliminate the pressure to perform perfectly. Once you can do this, you will be ready and patient enough to speed up incrementally. But learning and maintaining good technique is the key to moving forward.

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Thanks everyone :smiley: I went out for a while then when I came home to practice again the hand/arm was much better. I’ll take more frequent breaks now!

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slow and steady

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If i were you, I’d spend 10-15 minutes per day working on that problem until it’s tamed. No sense developing any bad habits.

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