#1
Sorry if this is in the wrong category, I wasn't very sure where to ask this...

So, I'm a bass player (I play mainly with a pick ) and I have played it for a couple of months now, and before that I played guitar for almost a year. This is my problem:

When I'm playing a long song with lots of fast picking (triplets or just "normal" rhythm)
I start to feel very strong pain below my thumb, close to the point that I would palm-mute with. It is very annoying and I have to let go of my pick and stop playing for a while until it goes away. Then when I play for a short time, it starts again.

What do you think the problem might be? Do I hold my pick with a wrong technique, or is my thumb too weak to strum the bass strings? I never had problems like this when playing my old guitar, but the pain appeared during the past months.
(I have been learning stuff like Slayer, Iron Maiden and Overkill).

I have a little feeling that it might be my picking technique (that's why i posted in this category) but how could I improve it?

So, please point me out something, this pain is pretty much preventing me from practicing...
#2
have you ever considered playing with your fingers? it might relieve the pain and possibly give you better technique in the long run. if you're worried that you can't play fast with fingers, it can be done. see Dan Briggs of BTBAM or Geddy Lee of Rush
#4
I think the pain is muscular, since it feels in that soft part below the thumb (i don't know how to call it better) and it goes away almost instantly after letting go of the pick. And yes, i was thinking of learning to play finger style, but I ended up with the pick, because I was already familiar with it and I didn't want to "start all over again". I might consider about it, if it can actually help

and sorry for possible typos i'm on a mobile right now!
#5
Hi, ShockHazard!

While playing observe if there's unnecessary tension in your wrist/hand/arm?
I think you should learn to relax your arm while playing. Of course, you have to slow down a bit and develop proper muscle memory while keeping your hand as relaxed as possible.

Another question, do you use wrist or arm while picking?
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Neal Wakefield
#6
Yes, I have thought of the chance that I might be squeezing the pick too hard with my thumb, but when I tried to relax my thumb a bit, the pick started to slip into wrong positions.

Maybe this all is just because I don't actually know how to hold a pick correctly...?

And I guess I pick more with my wrist. Do you think moving my arm more could help?
#7
Quote by billytalent77
have you ever considered playing with your fingers? it might relieve the pain and possibly give you better technique in the long run. if you're worried that you can't play fast with fingers, it can be done. see Dan Briggs of BTBAM or Geddy Lee of Rush


steve harris
#8
Quote by ShockHazard
Yes, I have thought of the chance that I might be squeezing the pick too hard with my thumb, but when I tried to relax my thumb a bit, the pick started to slip into wrong positions.

Maybe this all is just because I don't actually know how to hold a pick correctly...?

And I guess I pick more with my wrist. Do you think moving my arm more could help?


I consider picking with wrist more effective - it's easier to control your movements.

Is there a chance for you to post a photo of how do you hold a pick?

I suggest finding a balance between sqeezing the pick tight and light touch that lets it to change position within your fingers. Experiment - increase tension (but really slowly) until the pick doesn't change position and your hand isn't tense at the same time.
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Neal Wakefield
#9
I might post one later tomorrow, but now I have to go to sleep (22 pm here and I have a test at school tomorrow) : P
#12
1. Wow. You are learning iron maiden on bass with a pick ?

2. Make sure your picking motion is coming from the wrist and not the thumb and fingers. That could be the problem
#13
Alright, I tried to take a couple of pics with my android and they are very grainy... Hope you can see how my fingers are positioned:

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/38/20111214144429.jpg/
http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/207/20111214144523.jpg/
http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/191/20111214144930.jpg/
So go ahead and analyze them!

And I checked out the video, looks like I hold the pick pretty much the same way as you do (at least I think so).

1. Wow. You are learning iron maiden on bass with a pick ?

Yes, I am indeed. I know It's kind of disrespectful towards Steve Harris... :/
#14
And I checked out the video, looks like I hold the pick pretty much the same way as you do (at least I think so)


Looks almost the same - looking at the second pic, I have to ask, are you holding it with the side or the index or the pad? It looks like it's closer to the pad, which means you have to grip a lot harder than if you hold it with just the side.

It doesn't look like a horrible way to hold it though, so either way you're probably gripping the pick too tightly.
#15
Yes, I also suggest to hold the pick with the side of your index finger - try it this way. And work on the strength you put into holding a pick - you want it to be as low as possible but don't let the pick move at the same time.

Good luck, keep us informed about your progress!
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Neal Wakefield
#16
You're holding the pick kinda on the pad of your index finger. This position naturally has slightly less stability than the side of your finger, meaning that it is more likely to dislodge if you hold it loosely, which is probably why you're gripping hard and also why when you try to grip lightly it moves.

You can get away with this generally on the guitar because the thinner strings don't displace the pick so much when held with a relaxed grip, but on the bass it's going to rock the pick around a lot. Try holding it on the side of your index finger as that grip has more natural stability without you having to reinforce it by gripping hard.

I think the reason the side of your finger has more stability is that it does a better job of covering the whole of the pick, whereas if it's on the flat of your finger the pressure is more focused on one spot.

tl;dr - use the side of your finger and grip lightly.
ESP Horizon FR II (EMG) / Ibanez Prestige RG1570 (DiMarzio Crunch Lab & LiquiFire pickups)
#17
I use a pick for bass, but I tend to sweeptrempick alot as a guitarist, so its only natural. Picking is funny, theres a few things you can do to help your posture, make sure your pick is thick and sharp obviously, and play with it in more of a upright position, I find this puts your picking hand into the correct angle more often, and forces your pick to hit the strings correctly (angled) to maintain flow through other strings or staying on one while trempicking. For thumb pain from picking, hold the pick lighter, and find stability in other areas when playing, especially tremming, you cant flutter with seized muscles.
#18
Ok, I'd like to say thank you to everybody who commented! You have been super helpful and friendly. Special thanks to Neal Wakefield and Freepower (gotta check out your music theory lessons aswell, btw!)

So I'll start practicing with my picking again and keep your advices in mind!
Last edited by ShockHazard at Dec 15, 2011,