Hand Care

My bass arrived a couple of weeks ago, and since then I have been playing it for several hours a day. I started the course on the day my bass arrived, and I’m on module 11 now. I’m very pleased with the progress I’ve made.

Lately my hands have become a bit stiff and sore. When I wake up in the morning, my hands ache a bit. It’s not exactly a painful sensation; it’s like the feeling you get the day after lifting heavy weights in the gym.

Is this normal for a beginner? Should I take longer rests between practice sessions? Is there anything that I should do to avoid this stiffness, such as stretching? My hands are very useful, and I don’t want to break them.

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Welcome @AlexM. I too go thru this. I have started doing some rigorous finger strength excercises as well.
Partly, we are squeezing to hard. We don’t need that much pressure, part of it is natural because we have not always used our hands like this, and part of it is over working.

I know how hard it is to not play, but I forced myself to take it a little easier this past week and it is getting better.

Also, are you doing any pre practic / play stretches or excercises to warm your hands up and get them limber for the un natural stretching they are getting ready to do?

I do something called The 100 second stretch. It might be on YT, if not I can explain it later.

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I don’t do any stretches or other warm-up exercises. I just pick up my bass and play it.

@T_dub I’d love to hear about your 100 second stretch.

@JoshFossgreen Please consider making a video about warm-up exercises and other things players can do to increase their bass-playing longevity. I bet that a lot of people would find it very helpful.

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@T_dub
Funny you should mention that. I was thinking about that today :thinking:

@AlexM
I reckon we all feel the burn a bit especially early on. I’ve smashed my right hand up pretty badly a couple of times over the years and I thought it would really hamper me but it’s my left wrist that’s my major issue due to the fact that I’m trying to eliminate bad habits from my guitar playing days :grimacing:

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Hi!
I do have and had similiar issues. I’ve regularly played to the edge between strain and pain. Although once the pain starts I would recommend stopping immediately. As you say yourself - your hands are useful and you don’t want to break them.

Should you take longer rests? If my impression of you is correct then I would say yes - probably a little longer resting time between practice sessions. Maybe it’s just projection though, because I also overdid it a little bit. I don’t think anyone can tell you how much you should practice and how long your breaks should be. Be honest to yourself, don’t force yourself and take care of yourself. Those are the three guidelines I set my training practice time by. Although the be honest to yourself is more about skill level than hand strain.

What I personally also do after an especially excruciating training session is stretch my hand out after playing, shake it out and relax. I can’t say how much it really helps though. It’s just something I’m used to from sports training and there it helps to stretch afterwards.

A thread also about training and how long breaks/recovery time should be: On bass playing and powerlifting (but it’s all individual as already said)

P.S: I’ve played for hours until module 11. Starting with Module 12 I could barely hold out 15 minutes. As with every new fretting/new technique - it get’s better. Just don’t overdo it because you are used to longer practice time without breaks.

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The 100 second @AlexM is a routine that the guy at Low End University created for himself to use before shows and recording. I can’t explain it all, but we can improvise.

First, you stretch each finger, 1 at a time, including the thumb, for 4. seconds each.
Do this by putting your finger up like this

And pushing back, towards the back of your hand. Go as far as you can, but don’t hurt yourself.
40 seconds

Next
Do the same thing to all 4 fingers at the same time, pushing towards the back of your hand.

Hold it for 5 seconds each hand
10 seconds / 50 total

Next
Bend your wrist and hand cowards the inside of your forearm like this

Then pull on your fingers towards your arm for 5 seconds each hand
10 seconds / 60 total

Next massage your upper fore arm here

with your thumb towards your elbow, get that muscle good for 5 seconds each arm
10 seconds / 70 total

Next massage the inner side of your arm here,

same area by your elbow , just the opposite side for 5 seconds each arm
10 seconds 80 total

Next, roll your wrists in full circles starting with your finger together like thr beak of a bird, like this

As you get half way around open your fingers full wide stretching as much as you can, like this

and as you get back to where you started, put your fingers back to the starting position.
Keep rolling, slow, but not too slow, opening / stretching and closing to starting position. Do this for a total of 10 seconds, you should be able to get about 4 full wrist rolls.
This should be one continuous fluid motion, not moving half way, opening hand, move half way closing it.
Just open and close as you roll, making sure you feel stretching in your wrists and fingers.
10 seconds / 90 total

Lastly, let your arms and shoulders drop, fully relaxes, and just breath in and out, deep breaths, completely relaxed, letting go of all the stress for 10 seconds.
10 seconds / 100 total.

You are done and free to play.

I hope this helps and makes sense.

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I reckon I’ll be giving that a go :+1:

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Hm, I guess I need some reference points on my forearms first… massage right there on the Joker’s nose, and then on Harley Quinn’s, uhm, other body part… :crazy_face:

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Perfectly normal

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Thanks very much for that awesome write-up, @T_dub!

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Great writeup. Thanks for this.

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Thank you, it would have been so much easier to link to the video he does, but it’s on a subscription site.
Great finger and technique excercises on that site as well, low monthly fee too.

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Killer routine, and thanks for the in depth explanation and photos.

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My pleasure, since it’s impossible to link to the video without logging into the member area, photoswere necessary to make sure the words had meaning :thinking:

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My experience has been similar to yours. After a period of ‘good’ soreness, a ‘bad’ soreness has begun to creep in, with it not mitigating at all. In some days it would even be worse. One thing I learned from my ultramarathon days (the hard way) is to pay attention to those niggles and not delude myself into hoping that it will just go away.
In my case I am preemptively taking care of it by accepting that the ‘one finger per fret’ concept is not gospel, and to micro-shift as much as possible. Just because I can fret scales in a one-finger-per-fret fashion doesn’t mean that I should. If the reach feels even remotely challenging, I’m micro-shifting. I regret not starting with this approach from day zero because now I have to retrain the muscle memory, thankfully it was caught early in the process. Good luck.

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There was this guy from Bradford, Yorkshire, who at age 70 was not only still considered lightning-fast when legato soloing, but also routinely played unplayable chords, the Magical Holdsworth Clusters, involving stretches spanning more frets than considered medically possible on this planet.

His warmup before shows? Sticking his front paws into a bucket with warm water…

Keep in mind that the muscles operating your fingers are in your lower arm!

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Great guide @T_dub! Thanks

Now we need a “Show us your tats” thread…

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Actually someone would just have to start it and I bet it would get filled.

I’m not a tat guy but sometimes enjoy art in general and especially if it’s about the joker and harley quinn :smiley:

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Haha, guess I kind of did. :joy::joy::joy:

Thanks, glad it is helping others.

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No Jokers yet @juli0r, but I have the one HQ as you can see. I am a big fan of clowns
From movies / TV’s, from old Skateboard decks, or comics, wherever. Just not serial killers.
My daughter, as soon as I am able to check her out of her treatment center are getting matching ones.
I am dead serious when I say this- one of the first things she asked me from her hospital bed, after coming back from surgery to from ESP the foot, and coming out of an induced coma, and getting the tubes out of her throat, and she was able to talk, was “dad, can we get matching Tattoos”

I said, “of course, we already have it picked out, remember”. She said she did, and asked to see it again, so I showed it to her on my phone. Its this HQ face.

Hahaha, she just called me as I was typing this to tell me that she is moving over to the other side tomorrow, and asked if I could call Jeff and set up a time with him on Saturday.
Won’t be doing the matching ones on Sat, but they are going to happen soon. It helps to have a best friend of 30 plus years that is a tattoo artist for 30 plus years.

Jokers, thinking of doing something with this outline, and filling it in, or all around it, leaving inside the outline empty.

And I have other ideas too.

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