My Left Forearm Hurts After Practice

I just did the lesson #1 of the first module and it feels fine while I’m playing but afterwards my left forearm feels like I’ve been twisting it.

I went back and watched what you were doing and I think I’m doing the same thing.

Do I just have to have patience while my muscles learn new shapes are am I doing something wrong?



Hi @davemenc and welcome!
Just off the top of my head… That feeling is the feeling of using your fingers in ways they’ve likely not been used before-comes with the territory. When you start feeling tired–rest. You’ll build stamina the more you play over time. No need to rush.
There are things you can do to increase your endurance (besides playing more). They make devices that are designed to increase your finger strength–I like the ProHands Gripmaster line. Those devices will help you build your playing stamina and finger strength too. Keep in mind you’re trying to increase individual finger strength not just “grip” strength–big difference.

Also, double check that your bass has been properly set up, if the action is too high it will always work out your fretting hand more and lead to quicker exhaustion and discomfort.

Last tip off the top of my head… If your other arm (the arm you are using for plucking the string) gets sore it’s probably from bad positioning–especially at the wrist. Remember to try to keep your arms and fingers in their natural positions when possible.


Check out this thread:

I am certain this video in particular saved me from an RSI:


Another tip: Massage the upper forearm of your fretting hand. The large muscles will tighten up when you’re first getting used to playing bass. Knead your tight muscles anytime, like when you’re watching TV. Don’t despair: it gets easier in time.


It’s important to learn early on how to fret a note with the right amount of finger pressure. Start by fretting a note say C on A string. Keep backing off pressure while plugging a quarter note til it buzz then add the pressure back to let it ring again. That’s how little pressure you need. The rest is you going Guantánamo on your finger, metal strings vs flesh and bone, metal wins every time, lol.


All good advice.

I would also suggest using a strap whether sitting or standing.
Your fretting hand should not be holding the neck of the bass up.
As a matter of fact you should be able to fret and play notes without even having your thumb on the back of the neck when you use a strap.
Also use a well padded 4" strap.
Just my thoughts YMMV.


Can you possibly share a photo of you fretting some notes? It might be how you’re holding it, maybe too much bend in your wrist or something.

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Module 1, lesson 1 … Most likely it’s due to using muscles you’re not used to using. Give it a few modules.

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Thank you all for your (very quick) response. I have since watched the fretting video and I’m doing EVERYTHING wrong. My thumb isn’t on the back of the neck, my palm is holding the neck and my fingers aren’t at right angle to the string. I have a lot of work to do…

I note that Howard included a video about “Developing Safe Left Hand Technique” and I hope that will straighten me out.

Let me work on this and see if I can improve and then I’ll post pix if I’m still having trouble.

Again, thanks!



Also @davemenc there’s this video of some guy you might recognize.

Bottom line don’t push through if it’s painful. I did that and had to take time off bass to recover. It’s a long old road my friend and it takes time to develop these things.


Also take “baby steps”. Better to play for just 5-10mins if you’ve never played before. Then come back the next day. If you’ve got the music bug, learn some theory or learn about recording music. Both things that will help long term but don’t require the same muscles.


When you first start using your muscles and tendons in a way your body is not used to they can become sore. Try and stretch easily before, and after, practice. If you want, get an ice bag and ice your arm/wrist for no more than 20 minutes on, then at least 40 minutes off. That will help reduce swelling and pain. Ibuprofen can also be helpful too, but don’t take too much. It will take a few weeks for the muscles to build up, and you need to make sure you aren’t gripping too tight or your wrist isn’t in a bad position. It just takes time. Welcome to BB, this is a great group and a great teacher.


This is incredible! I’ve seen so much about where you “should” position the thumb and it’s definitely given me some issues. I like his plucking hand video too. Brilliant find. Thanks.