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Posted by Bob Gollihur on February 16, 2001 at 08:00:18:
In Reply to: Left hand thumb locked and does Bass kill fingers for other instruments posted by Tom Skjei on February 15, 2001 at 21:22:36:
: Hi- I just recently started learning 2xbass, but its killin my left hand! I feel like I can only get a solid hold of the strings when I lock my thumb behind the neck, so its not bending at all- especially in half position.
: I've also noticed some wierd cramping near the top joints in my second and third finger.
: anybody have any suggestions?
: also, do you think once my hands adjust to 2xbass I wont be able to play guitar with the same dexterity?
Your position should be partially behind the bass, not alongside it. This position should give you some leverage, with the body of the bass against your body, so that your arm and fingers are pulling back against the fingerboard.
Yes, it takes some strength, but just like with bass guitar, you should NOT have a death grip on the neck. The leverage should aid you in placing your fingers on the fingerboard and let you stop the strings using that leverage. I can actually play without my thumb - that's what you should be aiming for, being able to be loose enough for that, which also aids vibrato.
How high are your strings at the nut?? Have you had your bass adjusted by a luthier? Very often basses are WAY too high at the nut. The slots should be low enough that you can just fit a thick business card or so under the strings, perhaps a little higher if the strings are fat and loose, to avoid buzz. Improperly set up basses are a challenge even to experienced players.
Cramps can be part of the price of admission, but changing positions and practice will lessen that - don't overdo it, build up your practice times. And don't worry, other than overdoing it and injuring yourself, the exercise and strength increase will not hurt your mobility on other instruments.
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