Playing With Carpal Tunnel? Viable?

Hello All,

I’ve made a post in the past about fretting hand technique issues and have done my best to apply the suggestions acquired to my playing!

Unfortunately despite adjusting my fretting hand technique (taking After Adam Neely’s Playing style) I have still developed some early repetitive strain syndrome. I’ve tried to play with my fingertips however the tension required to fret with the tips as opposed to the pads is increased (at least in my opinion) and so it’s something I’ve been playing around with.

I’ve taken active measures to correct this by booking an appointment with a bass guitar tutor which will hopefully help me better develop safe fretting technique as OFPF is simply not an option unless used in the higher notes.

Does anyone have any suggestions to help with fretting hand technique or any suggestions from similar experiences? Should I perhaps consider an instrument easier on the wrist/tendons to play?

Thank you in Advance,


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Hi Chris,

just to check: Is your Bass Guitar properly set up? Is it well-intonated? I had quite similar struggles playing my Bass in the beginning and pressing too much on my strings for fretting so that playing Bass almost became an ever-painful thing.

However, a local guitar-craftsman in Berlin told me that my Bass was not properly intonated. Many well-manufactured Basses would need a setup first to sound perfect and the string tension to be soft.

He did an Intonation Setup and the result was hell good. The string tension has become sooo soft and smooth and sounded absolutely perfect since then and I didn’t have to put any “violent” pressure on my strings to fret. That was a giant relief for my enjoyment playing Bass.

If your Bass is not intonated yet, I’d recommend you to go for a guitar shop first as a beginner and get a proper setup.

All the Basst from Berlin, Germany :guitar::yum:


Hello! I’ve not yet had it intonated (it is a Yamaha TRBX 174) the action feels high but when measuring the E String it’s 3mm or so, so it’s well within acceptable ranges! I could certainly do that for my next step to try and find a solution. I’d be pleasantly surprised if that were the answer!


Bass setup, including intonation, is very easy and is a skill everyone should learn. No need to take it to a pro.


Thanks for this Howard! I’ll definitely be referring to these in the near future to make some adjustments! All I’ve done adjustment wise on my shorter scale bass is a truss rod adjustment (to remove lower fret buzz) and cleaning the fretboard! I’ve not yet adjusted anything on my full scale bass yet asides from cleaning the fretboard. But maybe this could be super helpful!


Yeah thank you so much Howard :relaxed:. I wished I had these tutorials earlier when I was beginning playing Bass Guitar. The guitar craftsman took 100 bucks from me for that. x)
@chrisstl I wish and hope for you you’ll save your money and get it well-intonated yourself instead. :hugs:


Hey @chrisstl ,

just wanted to know if your problem got solved or improved with your Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Has an intonation done the job? :slight_smile:

If you’re still struggling with CPT-Syndrome (I’ve had a Disc Prolapse and playing Bass was quite hard during that time and got me a lot of back muscle training first to carry these 7.5kg around again - there’s why I am concerned about CPTS :woozy_face:), there’s quite a good explanation about hand and body posture here:

(my favorite insight I learned from posturing with a Bass: “Just hold your Bass as if you’re holding a shotgun” :joy:)

All the Bass


Hey DLicacy!

I still get pain when playing for extended periods (also after playing). I’ve made a slight adjustment to the truss rod to help lower the action and it has helped a bit. Other than that I’m going to also put a limit on playing sessions (20mins at a time max).

I’ve recently had an in-person lesson and am trying to learn how to use less pressure on the strings for the fretting hand to achieve a note by using the right arm to rest against the body of the bass as a counterweight. So far it’s a work in progress but I’m hopeful it’ll work if I make some adjustments. I’ve even considered possibly playing in classical stance to lessen the wrist burden.

Thank you for the check up! I’ll take a look at the video as well!

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What helps me the most when I get pain in the wrists (which I kinda struggle constantly with, as I am working on the computer all day), is to move them the opposite direction from what they do all day.

The most you do is kinda a closing motion: Pressing the keys on the keyboard, fretting the strings. What I do in between is this movement:
Open my palms as wide as I can get them. Not doing stretches with the help of the other hand, just using the muscles of the one hand to open it es far as it can go, and hold this for a few seconds.

This has helped me much more than any stretching exercise recommended elsewhere.

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Following this as I have very limited wrist movement and consequent pain from 7 breaks (at the same time) from a motorcycle accident 35 years ago- that’s my excuse for not being able to play Billie Jean, anyway!

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