Left wrist pain


when i was playing bass without a strap, everything were ok, but since i got one and I forced myself to play with (because i will need it in the future i think), i have left wrist pain.

Especialy since i am at the billy jean lesson, big stretches at the end of the neck, i cannot play long times.

Have you experienced similar problemes?


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Are you clutching the neck, or putting a lot of pressure with your thumb, having to push down the strings very hard?

Maybe it’s a posture thing. I can sometimes overdo the “claw” if it’s a tricky piece, try and relax your wrist.

Do you do warmups, like scales before practicing? Stretching?

hello, thanks for your awnser!

Yes my thumb often end up tired, even if I know that i shouldn’t be using it to press strings, i cannot see how i could do otherwise since the strings are buzzing if I try to play without it

Yes, I do one or two scale as a warm up, but I never do stretching

And yes, my wrist do really look like a claw when i’m playing, I think it’s because i have small hands and finger, so if I want to press cleanly, I always end by put my hand in an uncomfortable position

Maybe use some micro shifts, instead of trying to reach too far, until your fingers have gotten more used to it.

If the issue only occurs when standing take a close look at how and where the bass is sitting against your body when sitting and standing. You really want them to be the same. Easiest way to check is stand in front of a mirror with bass on strap and a seat behind you. Then sit down and watch what happens as you do.

Did the bass end up higher or lower on your body? Further over to one side or the other? Angled up more or less?

The description of your problem suggests you have a good position when sitting but a bad one when standing.

It doesn’t suit everyone but when sitting I have the bass on my left leg (I’m right handed). I find this is where it naturally ends up when i sit down with it already slung.

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You’re onto something Nebel…I also have to concentrate on relaxing my hand so that I’m not holding the neck like a vice with my thumb - it kills the tendon that runs down the thumb and along the wrist/forearm. Funny enough it was Billy Jean that caused all the tension for me too! (Not only is Billy Jean not my lover - but definitely not my friend either :sweat_smile:) When I become aware that I’m holding on too tight, I try to play with my thumb barely touching the neck and that helps to correct it.

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I have left wrist pain, but my cause is an injury. I have discovered a couple things that make it easier for me.

  • Warm up by stretching your wrist and fingers (and stretch your wrist a couple times a day anyway)

I didn’t pay any mind to this video when it came out but I do now.

  • don’t stretch for notes, micro shift. Stretching puts a lot of stress on the wrist.

  • Pay attention to the shape of your left hand. Keep it steady. I found that when I shifted, My thumb might not move as much as my hand, and my hand shape would change. I now try to keep my hand more closed, and slide it up and down the neck.

  • Listen to your body. I find fretting the F (E string 1st fret) with my index finger stretches my nerve, so I try and play it using my middle finger. That may not be true for you too, but listen to what is stressing your body. I also find instead of fretting with my pink I fret with my ring and pink combined.

I also play with the bass on my left leg and on a 45 degree angle


Good suggestion, I have already done that, and the funny part is that i feel pain in my wrist when I am playing with a strap on my chair, but not if i play without strap! very strange. I struggle to isolate what is wrong :rofl:

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ok that’s very interesting!

So you say that your left thumb should not move if your entire hand is not moving?

And man that’s crazy I have the same issue with fretting F so I use my middle finger too!

I have a left shoulder tendonitis, maybe you had the same probleme

I’ve an injury to my radial nerve from my hand up to shoulder. Could be the same thing.

What I am saying poorly is, if I shifted for a fret or two, I would try to keep my thumb in place and move my hand/fingers. I discovered that if I shifted my hand keeping the thumb in the same relative position, it cut down on the stress a good deal. So now I shift my hand up and down the neck without stretching any fingers to reach notes, and it’s not as much stress on the wrist.

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hey guys!

Small update: I get to the music store and my bass was just fucked up, nothing was nice setted, so I gave the store guy my bass and he will do the job, I’ll tell you if it ends the struggle!

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I don’t usually experience pain while playing, and pain is actually beneficial because it’s your body’s way of telling you you’re doing something wrong.

Sometimes I will get tenderness in my wrist & joints on my fretting hand and it is almost always from fretting too hard & overuse. It’s basically impossible not to fret too hard when you’re learning. Your brain is so focused on just getting it right that you end up overdoing it. I remind myself often to play more gently.

I assume you mean your bass was not set up properly when you say it’s fucked up, in which case this might be your problem. If your action was super high then you’d have no choice but to fret hard. Odd that it was happening only when standing. If you have a really heavy bass then holding it up by the neck could be bothering you as well. Lots of factors here.


Something I should have been focusing on long before now lol, but certainly makes a difference paying attention to what your fingers are doing :slightly_smiling_face:

A good setup will definitely help too, action was probably higher on my first bass than the current ones, thinking back on it. Probably where the death grip habit started :sweat_smile: before I knew any different

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I agree on all counts. I have discovered that if I keep my left elbow as close to my body as possible, my hand will keep correct position with fingers (and thumb) 90 degrees to the strings. I don’t know why but that prevents the “death-grip” from occurring. :guitar:

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Hey guys! Just a quike feedback so if someone has the same problem can find this!

I was definitly just an idiot who played on a fucked up bass! So I think it may be wise to go to music store before anything!

Also, i now do stretches after a session!

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