NWB - Community Blog


CRAMP.....do you suffer???

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Posted By : LAST GANG IN TOWN | Comments : 24

Seriously, anyone get cramp in their habd when playing.

Lets have all the 'Wankers' Cramp jokes out of the way first eh.....

I used to suffer from Cramp in my 'plec' hand and once had to stop playing as it was too painful and I lost all feeling in my hand.
I am a bass player in a Punk band that plays hard, and fast with loads of energy so it could have been fatigue.....
Our sets are an hour each so again it could be fatigue.
We play under hot lights and sweat a bit so it could be de-hydration.....
Also, a few pints adds to the de-hydration SO...... I started drinking a couple of pints of water during gigs instead of beer and this helped.
Then a friend told be to drink Tonic water to help with the cramp.....this has totally cured my Cramp.
The other night I didn't drink my usual 2 pints of water early doors because the Landlord forced free John Smiths on me and I didn't have a tonic water either.....5 songs into our 1st set the Cramp kicked in and I was in agony until the break.....2 pints of water and a small tonic water during the break and the 2nd set was a painless breeze.
So now my routine is to drink 2 pints of water during the set-up/sound check period, a small bottle of tonic water before I start the first set and then I'm OK for a couple of pints later on in the evening.
After the show it's fair game to get a few down my neck before a kebab on the way home.....
So, joking aside, has anyone else had a problem with cramp and how did you beat it...
OR if you are suffering with it, try my routine and see if it helps.....
Or is it just ME.....


# Posted by 5th Element - 01/12/2009, 10:11 (GMT)

Hi Gary.Yeh get it all the time now in both hands.I just assume it is due to my age. lol. Just try to flex my fingers between songs but it is very uncomfortable when it happens eh mate.

# Posted by Bass-tard - 01/12/2009, 10:24 (GMT)

I get it a lot in both hands and my fingers lock up completely some times

# Posted by Off The Rails - 01/12/2009, 10:33 (GMT)

Hi Gary I know exactly what you mean, I get severe pain mainly the back of my hands and wrists mostly in my left hand, especially when playing bar chords in tracks like basket case and another brick in the wall, my little finger on my left hand when playing chasing cars hurts, in my case its probably arthiritis or so my doc says, I just grin and bear it as theres not much you can do about it.

cheers tony

# Posted by Idle Promise - 01/12/2009, 10:42 (GMT)

I get it alot. I cannot use a plectrum with the bass so my fingers cramp up badly in my right hand every so often. When it happens I have to stop playing because my fingers actually curl round and i cannot straighten them if I do they just curl back round and the pain is incredible. I hate tonic water but Ill try it its better then the cramp


# Posted by shabs - 01/12/2009, 10:51 (GMT)

dont play mate but tonic does help me in me leg!

# Posted by Bass-tard - 01/12/2009, 11:57 (GMT)

I get it really bad if I play long sets, I find the best thing I can do is warm my fingers up before I play, either sit quietly with the guitar and run some scales or even just wiggling them about and stretching them, also make an effort not to play quite so aggresivley now

# Posted by Absolute Heroes - 01/12/2009, 12:08 (GMT)

I had cramp while playing the other week - the misses thought I was just pulling a mean guitar face.....

# Posted by LAST GANG IN TOWN - 01/12/2009, 12:22 (GMT)

Good comments guys.....Someone also said it could be spending too much time on a computer holding the mouse...??!!!
I try to avoid computers too on gig days.

# Posted by Mick (ex Bad Horsie) - 01/12/2009, 12:32 (GMT)

Hand cramping on guitar or bass can lead to really serious issues. Carpal Tunnel syndrome being one of them.

It's 99% down to technique. I hesitate to use the word "bad" here, because playing style is subjective, but I've found that since I studied my playing technique (I have nerve damage in my left side) and adjusted to a way more lightweight approach I have a lot less trouble than I used to have.

www.cyberfret.com has a good article on playing position, approach and awareness.

# Posted by Guilty Pleasures - 01/12/2009, 12:50 (GMT)

I'd highly recommend doing stretches designed to avoid carpal tunnel syndrome. I do them and don't get any hand cramps playing bass anymore. There's a guy on basschat called Dmanlamius who has Youtube videos where he shows you the stretches. Well worth the effort IMO.
Cheers, Jon

# Posted by LAST GANG IN TOWN - 01/12/2009, 13:10 (GMT)

Jon / Mick
Good advice mate, I'll look it up asap.

# Posted by Off The Rails - 01/12/2009, 13:15 (GMT)

try out john petrucci rock discipline dvd it has a finger and hand exercise book with it, mind you if you get through all the excercises theres not much wrong with your hands, I couldnt get past page 5 if you can your not doing so bad, if you get through them all you should be classed as a rock god, it tires you out just reading it never mind doing it lol

# Posted by Drum Bloke™ - that bloke that... - 01/12/2009, 13:20 (GMT)

Yeah definite must do a 10 min warm up before hand. Or just take it easy on the first few numbers.

I do suffer from this espcially gigs where the volume is high. There are some simple warm up arm / hand stretching exercises for drummers.

# Posted by mr.nwb - 01/12/2009, 14:40 (GMT)

I used to always get cramp in my hands when I was playing. Especially on Les Pauls, as the frets are soo tiny.

The best cure was to use a more "classical guitar" type of position with the left hand, an even spread of each finger over 1 fret. It does hamper your blues lick playing, but it ensures your fingers are well stretched and less likely to lock up.

# Posted by Mr Cottonhouse - 01/12/2009, 14:49 (GMT)

ahh curly fingers...agony. I can only remember getting this two or three times but I once jumped up in the air (you know what it's like - there's always a point in a particular song) and pulled my calf muscles in both of my legs! I froze on the spot (upon landing of course) but did manage to finish the song - and the gig.

# Posted by Daz (scopyons) - 01/12/2009, 17:43 (GMT)

gaterade or other types of drinks its a loss of electrolytes that causes cramp , not just sweating its whats in your sweat yuk

# Posted by Ian (bass) from Bolton - 01/12/2009, 23:37 (GMT)

My fretting hand can get really sore when playing rhythm guitar.
Fortunately, I normally play bass.


# Posted by viking - 02/12/2009, 20:15 (GMT)

@ chester-i found fingerless "bike gloves", coupled with a decent set of leather wristbands helped cushion the shock? :-)

# Posted by viking - 02/12/2009, 20:30 (GMT)

@ chester-lol!! or wrist-support straps-most drummers in the bands who play the harder edged rock wear them (and with good reason, as you will know?)-the gloves need to be quality leather-cushioned on the palms-takes the shock? halfords sell a good type of mountain bike glove,or you could search on line for some- (try "zippysisters.com"-they have a good selection, reasonably priced? ;-))
talk to gareth (metalleeka) or "drum bloke" (both on here)-they'll probably, help you out some more-is a real "percussionist problem", ain't it? ;-)

# Posted by Pig - 02/12/2009, 20:35 (GMT)

Zippy's sisters, you'll be telling me Bungle has a line in Furry Underpants and George has a range of clothing in a supermarket LOL

# Posted by viking - 02/12/2009, 20:40 (GMT)

@ pig-ermmm-what? - you-you-mean-they DON'T???? noooo-don't say such things,pig-you'll be telling me there's no tooth fairy next!! ;-/

# Posted by viking - 02/12/2009, 20:45 (GMT)

@ chester-oh-and "chris lea drummer"-one of the "wrecked" crew-iffen anyone knows, he knows!! :-)

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