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I am a full time programmer, part time bass player and have recently started suffering from serious repetitive stress injury in my left wrist.

I've adjusted the ergonomics at my work place (and use Workrave for forced breaks every 35 minutes), make sure I move around and sit correctly.

During the last week, I've increased my bass playing times, as I'm getting ready for an audition tomorrow, and since earlier this week, I've had a seriously unbearably sore wrist.

Any suggestions or ideas welcome.

I do warm up for about 30 minutes before playing anything.

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  • I found that playing with my fretting hand over the top of the neck periodically was a welcome relief.
    – StingyJack
    Jun 20, 2016 at 19:44

3 Answers 3

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Have you tried adjusting the position of your bass while playing? I find that the higher the bass sits, the less stress on my wrist. I could never understand how bassists like Krist Novoselic could possibly be comfortable with the bass slung so low.

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  • I would go with that. Playing an instrument is really stressful for the body. Adjusting the position of my guitar made the pain I got in my left hand disappear.
    – Julien N
    Jan 21, 2011 at 12:42
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    I think the key is, look less cool! The cooler you look, the worse it is for your hand. You want to look like the bassist for a dinner band on a cruise ship. Then it won't hurt nearly as much.
    – yossarian
    Jan 21, 2011 at 14:54
  • I'm way up. Jazz bass style already. So it's not that. My fretting wrist.
    – Anonymous
    Jan 21, 2011 at 18:26
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    When's the last time you had a proper setup done? I have a bass that was never set up correctly, and I always had wrist issues after playing it. Once I had a great tech do a setup, my wrist issues went away.
    – Anonymous
    Jan 22, 2011 at 1:45
  • This happens every two months when gigging. Full setup by a 17 year practicing luthier.
    – Anonymous
    Jan 25, 2011 at 19:11
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It only started to hurt after you began playing longer, and more often. So, the solution is to slow down a bit and be more consistent in your practicing. Shorter, gentler, but more often, giving your body a chance to adjust.

You may be overloading your body, if after weeks or months of not playing much, you suddenly begin to play for hours. As you get older, you have to think about 'easing into things' more sad to say.

Let your body heal for a while after the gig, if you can handle playing, and then do the daily/every other day practice thing, once the pain goes away.

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  • Pain went away about 2 weeks back. I play shorter periods, but throughout the day. It seems consistency got me through and helped with endurance.
    – Anonymous
    Mar 20, 2011 at 20:21
  • That is so awesome!
    – Anonymous
    Mar 23, 2011 at 21:31
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Have a look at a Voodoo bass if you can find one. The "fanned" frets may help reduce the wrist strain a bit while still letting you play. They sound great (to me anyway) as well.

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