Posted by Reed Ohrbom on April 29, 2001 at 17:51:25:
In Reply to: Hand Pain posted by Django Pastorius on April 28, 2001 at 11:35:36:
As always, Bob G.'s advice is totally right on. DO NOT try to play through the pain. Make your time with your bass be an enjoyable experience, whatever it takes. Just play mostly open strings, if that's what it takes for awhile. There's lots of getting to know your bass that you can work on, like developing a stance that you're comfortable with, developing your right hand pizzicato, or bow technique, etc. Note that Rufus Reid's book starts with several pages of exercises with open string only.
The main input that I would like to give is one that I have written about before, so I apologise to others for repeating: The action, which means the height of the strings above the fingerboard, has a very significant effect on how hard your fingers have to press on the strings to make a clean note. And therefore, a large influence on how much pain is likely to result from playing. The action is determined by the height of the strings in the nut, at the top of the fingerboard, and the height of the bridge. Action is a personal perference, so perhaps you should have your action evaluated by an experienced player or technician to see if it could be lowered to make it as easy to play as possible while you are in the learning stages. Later, after you have built up your hands and technique, you might want it higher for more range of volume and tone.
I know from my own experience of many years playing guitar, and now just a few years of the upright, that having the lowest possible action, while still maintaining clean tone, has allowed me to enjoy my playing to a much greater degree. Hope this helps you too.
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