Hi guys I’ve been playing bass for a couple of months now and practice about one and half hours a day I would like to do more but one thing that worries me is that most mornings I wake up with stiff aching hands it goes away after I start flexing them and there is no pain when playing but it’s always there again in morning. Are other people having this is it just natural? I do lots of stretching and stuff but I am wondering how far to push it ?
May I inquire to your age??
I know the feeling and I would think it is an age thing… also seems to wax and wane with the weather and the moon phases (just like the old folks always were yammering about when I was a kid and never understood what they were on about )
I can’t say for sure it is not connected to playing bass, but I kinda try to convince myself that playing bass is actually slowing down any further deterioration in that direction…
@T_dub has a regime of hand/arm stretches and warm-ups he goes through before playing, and they are detailed somewhere in this forum… I can’t find them right now, but a few minutes with the search tool in here should get you some results!
I’m 52 so I guess age is a factor I think that I just concerned about over doing it and getting injured because I’m enjoying it so much I would hate not to be able to play . I’ve played guitar and some trumpet before but have never felt so connected to an instrument
I’m 51 years old, so not the youngest either, but I don’t recognize this… I’d say that if I experienced pain from playing, I’d take that seriously. For what it’s worth, there’s a ton of information about this to be found online. Just Google for “guitar hand injury” or something similar and you’ll find it.
Just a thought: have you checked your action height? You may have to apply too much pressure when fretting if your action is set too high.
I guess it is not something that comes at well defined age, but as you get to around 55, I feel these things are slowly creeping up on you… some feel it earlier, some later.
Of course, as @Mike_NL mentioned, you should listen to your body and if it is indeed pain (instead of “just” stiffness/soreness), you should be careful and perhaps talk to an expert about this.
So, it is a fine balance: while an immediate reaction to some level of pain is to not move that joint or limb anymore, that might not be the best long-term strategy (e.g., with back pain, people are encouraged to still move as much as possible and not just rest). But, of course, if the pain is intense and persistent, then other strategies are warranted.
I think my action is good at 2mm and I have googled about this but mostly it’s about real pain when playing and such but mine is not really pain but stiffness, I’m hoping it’s just adapting to bass but just wanted to know if others had had the same
@wolfrun, 1,5 hour every day, you say? What is your physical condition, are you a sportsman, working fulltime physicly or working at a desk?
What I mean is, every sport takes time to built up. Starting playing bass or starting for example pushups is more or less the same for a body: it has to grow into it. Check every sport explanation for it, they alway state: take your rest, at least a day in the week. The older we get, the more time our body need to rest our muscles. Stiffness is the first indication you need to let your hands rest a bit more, before it gets painfull.
Take it a little bit slower, cooldown after playing, just like a sportsman. Flex them after each playing and keep your hands during the day as warm as possible. Make sure you keep enjoying your playing!
Well the question is if you stop playing a day or two, does it go away. Just to verify it is the bass playing and not just old age creeping up on you. My knees have arthritis and they are stiff every morning, and yes more activity makes the stiffness worse the next day.
They make these gel packs you can microwave to warm them up, reusable hot packs really, that help reduce soreness. Also you might consider stretching before and especially after practice when the muscles are warm.
Is it mostly in your fretting hand? If so it’s likely you’re gripping the neck too hard. This is common.
thanks for replies guys I am in pretty good shape tbh i have a very physical job growing on the land and also cycle so that probably does not help my hands as i have to grip all day ,i have been thinking about building in a rest day just like a sport and have already been stretching and warming up think i will just have to see how it goes really and back off it starts to hurt
I suspect your problem will get better with time and conditioning.
I’m 71 and practice for several hours nearly every day (I take lots of breaks though). I think what has helped for me was 30 years of typing 60-70 WPM all day long prior to retiring from the print media; then a second career in the legal field typing up legal briefs etc. The stress on the hands and finger muscles while typing is similar (I’m speculating) to that of playing bass. Fortunately, I haven’t had any problem with that. My legs and back get tired, which is why I take lots of breaks so I can sit down, but no hand issues.
[Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, just some random person on the internet who had similar issues.]
That is a common symptom of joint and/or tendon injury. I had similar issues with my left index finger, and it took months to go away. (Actually it’s still not completely gone, but I have to go out of my way to make it hurt now.) Talk to a doctor or a physiotherapist if you can, the sooner you address this the better. And if this only started after you started playing bass, then that’s probably not a coincidence. You might want to set up a one on one session with a bass teacher, maybe they can spot and correct bad habits in your technique.
As others have already said, make sure you don’t grip the neck too tightly, don’t overdo the 1-finger-per-fret, don’t feel pain or discomfort while playing, take plenty of rest, etc etc.
You can also take a look at the below two videos, they’ve helped me a lot. I do these wrist/hand/finger exercises before every practice session.
I feel your pain literally @wolfrun.
I took less than good care of my hands during my younger years ( bike accidents,boxers fractures, etc etc) and the damage has caught up with me.
Stretching helps but believe it or not so does practice as I’m finding after 9 months the pain isn’t as bad.
I’ve been told magnesium gel can help but have yet to try it
thanks for all the help and replies guys all very helpful i think it is a problem with tendons not helped by playing guitar as well but think i will just be careful and take a rest if I start to feel pain it has got better since i started stretching so hopefully i have got it in time
When I first started playing bass I had switched from guitar playing. The wider frets thicker strings caused some stiffness in the mornings but after a bout a week of playing my hands were strengthened enough to play without any discomfort the next day. One thing to look for is do your hands feel relief with stretching in the morning? If they are really painful and you find no relief try taking a break for a day or two if stretching helps then practice stretching your finishers before and after playing