So about 6 months ago I pulled a ligament in my left thumb when learning Billy Jean? Had to take a break from playing …started back up and pulled the ligament again doing finger permutations. Not sure if I’m fretting to hard, stretching to far or bad technique. So frustrating cause I just want to jam out… Has anyone done this? Any suggestions?
The thumb of your fretting hand should NOT be doing any work at all, rather it should just be resting on the back of the neck. If you’re pulling a ligament, you are probably putting too much stress on the thumb. Try to just relax and simply use your thumb as a guide.
Thanks! I think that’s whats going on.
One thing I did to alleviate the deathgripping was to play for a few minutes at the start of each session wothout touching the bass with my thumb at all. You’d be surprised how little pressure it actually takes to properly fret a note with a bass that is set up correctly.
I too had similar issues in the first weeks. I remember that lowering the action helped me a bit, because it made fretting easier, and then I didn’t have to grip so hard. (De-tuning to DGCF also had a similar effect, because it reduced the string tension. I discovered that by accident when learning Nirvana songs.)
Yeah getting the bass properly set up is key. Fretting should actually be pretty effortless.
Yeah ergonomics can make such a big difference. Even just buying a new strap has improved my playing, because it made me realize that the previous strap was too low, and I was twisting my wrist too much.
Which reminds me: @Jeffmerica also make sure that you’re not using your fretting hand to hold the neck up. (That was another thing that made me use too much thumb in the first weeks.) The neck should stay in place when you let go with your hand.
I agree; it took me a long time to realize this. My strap was too low too, making it really hard to play up the neck. It took me many hours of watching video of Josh and others trying to figure out why they could fret so easily. I looked at the relationship of the horn to the body and realized I was just too low. I had the idea that the bass could just sit in my lap, but it just wasn’t working.
Now I am looking for a strap because the bass isn’t just laying in my lap. That’s ok though, I finally can access all the frets now. I’ll gladly buy a new wider strap.
Cool…thanks for all the tips!
My strap would have to be so short that the body of the bass is practically touching my chin in order for me to play sitting down. The upper part of my body is just to short. I have to constantly struggle to keep the instrument in my lap and not slide down my thigh, causing me to waste more energy on that than I do on actual playing.
This is one of the reasons I always practice/play standing up.
I get you. I was a music conference 15 years ago and attended a lecture by an orthopedic surgeon once. The big takeaways for me were: 1) DON’T get injured, and 2) there are anatomical differences between people. His specialty was hands, pointed out that not everyone has the same number of ligaments in the hand and fingers.
Getting back to what you said, in my case, I have shorter legs and and longer middle for a 6 foot man, so to say to me, “when you sit down with your bass, it should rest on your right leg,” is just not right for my body. Once I adjusted the strap to lift the bass up a bit, then I found I could access the those upper frets for melodic bass. I just forget from time to time about those anatomical differences.
Now the issue is my strap,which is really a guitar stap–it hurts my shoulder.
I use a 3.5"-4" wide padded strap, and that seemed to help my shoulder . .
Yeah, I’m down to two candidates:
# Levy’s Leathers MSS2-4-TAN 4 Garment Leather Signature Series Guitar Strap,Tan
# Gruv Gear SoloStrap Neo 4.0" Wide Guitar Strap (Chocolate) (SOLOSTRAP-NEO40-BRN)
Either is an investment. I think I saw Pam’s review on Amazon for the Levy. I really wish I could go to music store like we did the the olden days…
I bought this last month (in black). It’s comfortable, but the adjustment mechanism is the worst ever.
Yeah, the Amazon reviews had many reviews that said as much. Is just hard to change, or hard to get what you need as far as adjustment, or what specifically is bad about it?
Glad to hear I’m not the only one…
They have various types, the Neo has the “slide lock”. It’s a plastic thing made of two parts: one side is the slide lock that you need to pop off with your fingers (top picture), and the other side is the thing that goes into the holes in the strap (bottom picture). Remove slide lock, remove other side, move it to desired length, reinsert slide lock.
Unfortunately the “remove slide lock” and “reinsert slide lock” parts (in my case at least) took around 5-10 minutes each, because they’re so hard to slide in and out. My fingers were hurting and had cuts on them by the time I finished. (I didn’t want to use a plier, because I’m certain it would break the plastic.) Then a couple of days later I noticed that one of the slide locks was missing, and found it lying on the floor… I assume I was not able to fully slide it back the first time.
Check out the below video where they show how it works. You can see him adjusting a slide lock at 3:20, and another one at 6:20. The one at 3:20 works easily, but at 6:30 you can see him starting to struggle with the 2nd lock, and then the video cuts to the future where the lock is magically open. That’s the part where you spend minutes trying to get the f.ing thing off.
@akos Thank you for taking the time to write this up. I can imagine how that could be hard to get clicked into place…especially if the strap is a bit thick. You might find yourself pushing down and over at the same time, and you’re right I did see him struggling a bit with the 2nd strap; obviously he’s practiced!
(I probably should have started a new thread, but…)
Some people invest in basses, I guess I’ll invest in straps; I ordered both to see which I liked best.
The Levy came in first. It fits very well, and I had no problems with getting it fit to the Schaller S-Locks. One of the big knocks against it in the reviews was packaging; too tight, creasing the strap. Looks like “they” listened. Mine came in a VERY oversized box, and was wrapped with a very light rubber band. The adjustment system is the same as my old Perri’s 2" guitar strip it replaced. The thing fits great! I was concerned it would crawl up my neck, but it’s no problem at all. It rests comfortably on my shoulder; very comfortably.
Gruv-Gear is on its way; we’ll see how it stacks up.
A few things on this:
Listen to your body. There is a bit of soreness, which is normal when learning the bass and then there is pain. If you ever start feeling pain, stop playing immediately and don’t play again until there is no pain. Obviously if the pain isn’t going away then see a doctor.
Your hands want to be in a particular position. I wouldn’t fight this as it can lead to injuries. Of course, if you are holding the instrument incorrectly that can also cause issues. There is a good video about this I’ll put at the bottom of this.
Relax and breathe. You don’t need much force at all in your hands for basic playing. Do a test. Start with a hard grip, play notes and loosen your hands gradually and you’ll see that you don’t need much pressure at all. However, the higher your action on your bass, the more pressure you’ll need.
Hope that helps. Never nice when pain stops you from doing what you want to do.
Here’s the video I mentioned. It’s old, but it’s good advice.
Sounds like the show us your straps thread is for you
My next strap is going to be this one by the way, whenever I buy my next bass: