OK so sometimes when I am playing for too long my hand gets sorta stiff, but I just keep playing, like for example songs where it is basically the same structure like knocked up by kings of leon, my hand gets a bit stiff, ny suggestion to how to stop this and how to warm up properly before playing (the hand I have on the fretboard)
Rule number one: Do Not Play Through Pain! So many idiotic high school football coaches have promoted this insane idea over the years that it has become almost a gospel truth in several walks of life. It is crap, and any good physical therapist or neurosurgeon can attest to it. Pain is your body's way of telling you that something is very wrong, and you need to stop. Listen to it. One four-month bout of tendonitis will convince you of this, and I hope you don't need to go through that kind of pain before you come to your senses. A lot of players do.

Proper warm-up is essential, but few pros talk about it much. One who devotes a fair amount of ink in his columns to the subject is guitarist John Petrucci. He has written at length about how he uses a great many warm-up exercises to get his hands into shape for a tour, and how he warms up before a show in order to avoid pain, cramps, and more serious conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome.

Try scales - particularly extended pattern scales where you have to stretch to reach the notes. Triplets, string-skipping patterns and lots of chromatic stuff will get your hands in shape for playing and will make you a better player in the process.

Take care of your hands. No one else will do it for you.
"Maybe this world is another planet's hell?" - Aldous Huxley
Last edited by FatalGear41 at Aug 1, 2010,
Here are two warm-ups that I always use before I start playing. And I've noticed my hands become remarkably stronger.

1. Patrick Pfeiffer calls these "permutations". I will discribe it the way he does in Bass Guitar for Dummies

- Position your hand on the neck of the bass so that your index finger (I) in on low G (the 3rd fret on the E string).
- Spread your fingers so that each one covers one fret.
- Press the notes that are under your fingers, one finger (fret) at a time, in order: 1 2 3 4 (the right hand strikes the string to sound each note)
- Repeat the process on the A string (the next string), the D string, and the G string
- When you complete this finger combination on every string, go back to the E string and do the next combination.

The combinations:

index finger
1 2 3 4
1 2 4 3
1 3 2 4
1 3 4 2
1 4 2 3
1 4 3 2

middle finger
2 1 3 4
2 1 4 3
2 3 1 4
2 3 4 1
2 4 1 3
2 4 3 1

ring finger
3 1 2 4
3 1 4 2
3 2 1 4
3 2 4 1
3 4 1 2
3 4 2 1

4 1 2 3
4 1 3 2
4 2 1 3
4 2 3 1
4 3 1 2
4 3 2 1

Practice one column at a time, and repeat the process until you do all the combinations.


2. I think I learned this one from someone who was on this forum. I'll put it in a tab:


Always use your index finger on the E sting, your middle finger on the A string, your ring finger on the D string, and your pinkie on the G string.

If I do get a bit of pain or a cramp, I stop for three seconds and relax my hand. Because this usually happens because I'm trying too hard.
I stretch out my left arm in front of me and let my hand hang loose. When I pull in my elbow, I turn my hand so the fingers lay on the fretboard. This is usually the most relaxed position.

Good luck!!
Quote by FatalGear41
One four-month bout of tendonitis will convince you of this, and I hope you don't need to go through that kind of pain before you come to your senses. A lot of players do.

Yeah. I knew this guy who used this hand-trainer excessively. I think it was something like this: http://accessories.musiciansfriend.com/product/Planet-Waves-Varigrip-Hand-Exerciser?sku=580112&rec=product_A
For a whole week, he couldn't even hold something in his hands.
These things can be very tricky, because you can't always tell if you're going too far with it, I think.
Best thing to do is practice on you bass itself. It's more fun too, isn't is?

What I do use sometimes, are these chinese balls: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baoding_Balls
Just makes your hand a bit more flexible, and helps you coordinate your hands.
The trick is not to let them crash into each other while you swirl them around in your hands.
And they make a nice sound, too! :-)
Last edited by Cranky Bass at Aug 1, 2010,
Thanks everyone, I actually have those chinese balls but never knew what they were for lol, thanks
I quite honestly don't warm up. It's a terrible habit but doesn't seem to affect me.

At band practise, we tend to play one song and not care what it sounds like just to warm up and stuff, get in the mood. But that's mainly for our ears as we play Post-Rock and it has to be very ambient, emotional and entering the Prog-Rock stage.

But at live performances, there is no warm up for us, we jsut seem to rock up and play, and I mean we haven't failed at all, we've gone very far, very quickly. So for me... I don't think it affects me, but if you play very melodic bass lines or metal/-core bass lines, then just simply play some scales progressively using all your fingers.
^This will come back to haunt you in later years if you continue to play. Sorry to be the voice of doom, but its the truth.

Everyone's given great pointers here. I will add a few more and state as on of the older players on the forum, that as you get older, doing warm ups are essential for your hands.

1. Make sure your hands are warm as in temperature. As anyone whose busked in 60 degree weather, coldness can wreak havoc on your fingers. I usually wash mine under warm water or wrap them around a mug of tea before playing.

2. Stretch your fingers, roll your shoulders etc Get those joints loose and warm.

3. Instead of those hand grip exercisers, go even cheaper and get every orthopedic surgeons favourite child's toy: Silly Putty. Scrunching this in your hands is good therapy and fun.

For books, get du Pres' Bass Fitness book. Its full of great exercises to build up strength and agility.

Yeah, I've heard this before. I can get chronic muscle injuries and stuff.
I just never really do, I would... but I don't? I'm just lazy. :/

Well.... Not any more!
I tried those chinese ball things and they seem to be doing well for flexibility , all this stuff is helpful , ill try warming them with a cup of tea :L in ireland tea is drank by everyone so it wont be hard to get a cup
Before shows I usually pay a bunch of midgets to all wrestle me at once. I'm 6'5", so I'll take on 7 of them for about 5 minutes before I go on stage. By then I'm stretched out, have a good sweat and the adrenaline is pumpin!