Getting Ready to play and Good Posture

While playing the bass is not a difficult thing to start doing, it can spell trouble for you later on if you don't learn to play correctly from the beginning.

Before you even touch the bass, it's a good idea to stretch out your fingers a bit. This gets the blood flowing and warms up your hand to get ready to play. This can help you to avoid cramps in the future and will make it easier to play and move along the fretboard.

For the first 10 or so minutes, just go over some simple things.

Play through a few warm up exercises or play a few scales. Anything to get your fingers moving is good.

Remember to keep a relaxed posture. It's very easy to tense up while you're playing and that can lead to muscle issues eventually. The groove also happens a bit more easily and fluidly if you're relaxed, so keep those shoulders and wrists loose!

That just takes care of your body posture. What about the hands and wrists themselves?

The fretting Hand.

I know this sounds redundant, but it's important to keep an eye on how you play the bass with your fretting hand.

Especially around the first few frets, your wrist may naturally bend sharply. This is not a good thing since it may cause pain and problems later.

I'm personally just getting over the problems associated with bad technique.

For the first 6 or so years that I played bass, I would bend my wrist sharply around the first few frets. While a slight bend is ok, my wrist would sit at a solid right angle.

About a year ago, I started to notice sharp pains in my wrist. I found out that i was causing them with my bad technique. I have been working at it ever sense and I am just now getting over most of the problems that I gave myself.

To work on this, first of all, go slowly.

Like anything that takes work, trying to go too quickly in the beginning will only lead to problems. From the first fret and up, work with a metronome, making sure to keep your wrist relaxed and straight. Go up a few scales and work on keeping a good angle on your wrist.

It really can save your arm later on!

The plucking hand.

While there is a lot of technique material for the fretting hand, there isn't nearly as much about the plucking hand.

The main problem that people run into with the plucking hand is identical to the fretting hand: Wrist bends.

The most common injuries to the bass player come from bad posture and wrist position.

If you bend your wrist too much, you might run into pain later on.

If you keep your wrist and arm as straight as possible, you will have much more power behind each note. Because the hand is straight, the tendons won't have to pull as hard, and will be able to pull harder with less effort.

The same kind of advice to fixing this as applies to the fretting hand: Work with a metronome and go slow.

I promise that working on this now will save you in the long run!

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