Re: Left hand advice/opinion

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Posted by paige on August 07, 2000 at 13:33:03:

In Reply to: Left hand-hurties posted by Asbestos Man on August 07, 2000 at 07:04:45:

: Sorry for being so corny, but...
: Hi! I'm new here!

: The reason I came in search of a message board is this:
: When I'm playing down low for a few minutes my left hand gets really cramped. Am I alone, and is there any advice you can offer to fix this?

Been there, done that, my friend. Alfonso and El Pajaro are right on the money with their advice. About three years ago I was at a place where I was taking 800 milligrams of Motrin a day just to get the pain in my left hand to a bearable state where I could play. A friend suggested I get in touch with Carol Kaye ... in my opinion the "First Lady" of electric bass... which I did. I explained the pains I was experiencing and she gave me what amounted to a "cyber-lesson" on left hand technique which I am convinced saved me from having to put the bass on the shelf. Left hand technique is an absolute must... the bass guitar is NOT to be played as a guitar as far as the left hand goes - especially if you do not have huge hands. The reason is the tendon shared by your third finger and your pinky finger of you hand. Guitar players can get away with playing the "one-finger, one fret" method as the guitar frets are not that far apart. But as the bass guitar has evolved and we have moved to longer scaled basses, the distance between the frets towards the nut on your neck has increased. The guitarist's method of fingering then becomes a vehicle that can cause serious ligament damage to to your left hand as you reeeeaaaach with that third finger. What CArol reminded me of was the fact that URB (upright bass) players don't seem to have that problem as much because of their left hand technique. She suggested that when playing towards the nut end of the neck of your bass, "marry" your third finger to your pinky - or even to your second finger. Don't put that third finger out on its own until you are up past the 7th fret or so, where you will be more likely to play without injury. Don't hurt yourself, my friend... as the above gentlemen suggested.... if it hurts - don't do it that way!

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