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Linus27

No Longer Comfortable to Play Jazz Basses

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2 hours ago, Davo-London said:

Everyone ends up with a Precision.  It may take decades.  But we all get there at some point. 

 

Not while my arrse still points downwards, it won't :lol:  I have silly stumpy little fingers, just can't deal with chunky necks.

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17 minutes ago, 4000 said:

Not a daft theory. A change of position will affect how it feels and how your body reacts.

Re the OP, it could be age-related, or injury-related, or something else entirely. Do you have any nerve or cervical disc issues? This can affect your hands, even if the hands themselves aren't a problem. Due to various spinal issues I started to have problems playing certain types of basses in my late 30s, having previously had no problems with anything. That's progressed so that now (55) there are very few basses I can play. In fact at the moment, I've limited it to my Rics, which are the only basses I can really play more-or-less pain-free. A jazz is one of the worst for me. The offset body causes me crippling pain in my right arm, no matter what I do or how I position it, and I can't float the arm due to my cervical disc problems. I sold a backup Squier P the other year because I was experiencing hand and arm pain every time I used it. I even had to sell an Ibanez SR because it left me in agony. With some basses it's the left hand, some the right, some both.

What I would say is that if it continues, it may be worth seeking professional help. It may also be worth biting the bullet and giving up using the Jazz altogether, or at least until you've identified the cause. 

 

Thanks Elfrasho and 4000 for your comments. Very interesting as I am not aware of any nerve or cervical disc issues. However, this has got me thinking, I have for the last 6 months been learning about 20 new songs and have been sitting on the sofa at an angle and did start to get lower back pain on one right (fingering arm side). I was rehearsing pretty much every night for about 2-3 hours. So being a typical male, ignored the signs and carried on until it hurt a bit too much so I made sure I sat a little less twisted. However, one afternoon, I did a little bit of rehearsal pre gig. Stood up and then I got the pain and couldn't get down again without lots of pain. Lots of stretching and help from the wife to get up and down eased the pain (not totally) and I was able to go and do the gig. The twinge lasted a day or two and thankfully hasn't returned as I kind of learnt my lesson and sit straighter or change positions. So might be related or maybe not. I have always suffered with stiff neck and shoulders all my life so maybe its old age related. Also this year, the knobly bits on the inside of my elbows sometimes hurt. Not all the time but if I press against them then I can feel a mild pain. Might be related or might just be old age again. Oh, and the inside of my left knee, sort of the top on the side hurts, pretty much all the time. Again, doesn't stop any movement, running, walking but it just hurts and if I press my finger against it, then I feel some pain. I think perhaps I'm falling apart.

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56 minutes ago, Linus27 said:

 Maybe its old age although I don't think 48 is old but you never know.

late 40s isn't old, not like it was when my parents were old! However it is older and it is quite disturbing when things cause issues. I was in my mid 40s when my knee collapsed, and while admittedly there were reasons that hastened that (earlier bike accidents in my early 20s), it came as a shock. Also I had a problem when I would miss easy notes when I was playing, which turned out to be trapped nerves in my neck (which was fixed by simply changing pillows!). All those years certainly add up and it is worth getting things checked if you can pin it on anything.

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Just in the 'we're all different' camp, the older I get (I'm 55 shortly) the more I gravitate towards thinner necks. I even had Jon Shuker slim down the neck on my main bass (it was already a 38mm nut, but I had some wood taken off the profile) last year.

The slimmer the better for me...

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36 minutes ago, Muzz said:

Just in the 'we're all different' camp, the older I get (I'm 55 shortly) the more I gravitate towards thinner necks.

Same here

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3 hours ago, NJE said:

Y

I would love a Jazz as they always appealed to me visually, but I would have to build a bitsa or a custom order with a precision neck to make it playable for me. I also keep my eyes peeled for the elusive 2001 Fender PJ Hotrod which I would love.

I have a 199 Fender Hot Rod Precision which  is my usual gigging bass and I love it. It's also left handed so it would probably be very hard (impossible?) to replace. I've had it ten years or so and I wouldn't part with it. I never leave it in the car (ever) or out of sight.  I hope you find one of your own to love!

1890637495_HotRodP.thumb.jpg.b6c94c38cac93b4d2aebeab74bbc72c8.jpg

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Guest subaudio
6 hours ago, Linus27 said:

I've been playing bass for 30 years now and have probably done something in the region of 600 gigs and I have predominantly played a Jazz bass because they have felt the most comfortable for me. Mostly because of the neck but also pick up placement, balance and tone. I would happily play a Precision but they have always felt a little more cumbersome with the necks not so comfortable and my playing would suffer. I would always come back to a Jazz which felt like putting my favourite trainers back on.

However, over the last year, I'm beginning to find Jazz necks too thin and a little uncomfortable to play. My hand feels cramped when fretting as the neck feels too thin and narrow. I have always used all four fingers when fretting and play a lot of walking bass lines but I have noticed that using my little finger to fret is harder on a Jazz bass as my hand feels more squashed. I feel like its now harder to have my fingers flat across the board covering the frets as my hand is closed more because of the thinner neck. My fretless jazz I now find really uncomfortable to play. So I have been playing my 70's Precision a lot more and I am having no such trouble. It feels comfortable and no issues with fretting. I also have a Mike Dirnt Precision which is famous for having a very chunky neck and it feels very comfortable to play if not the most comfortable.

I don't think anything has changed in my technique, I'm still playing walking bass line and the same stuff as I always have. I don't think anything has happened to my hands as playing the same stuff on a Precision is no problem, its just that Jazz necks are now feeling too thin and narrow and a little uncomfortable. I don't really know what else it could be.

Has anyone else had something similar?

Have you tried playing in front of a full length mirror?

Look for a nice symmetrical, balanced  stance and check your shoulders are relaxed and dropped, also see that there are no sharp angles with your wrists and elbows, nice gentle curves and a straight wrist, flatish or gently curved fretting fingers, straight wrist at the bridge end.

I've learned a lot about creating good ergonomic technique from practicing in front of a mirror, check front on and both sides, looking for anything that's a sharp angle or unbalanced. Strap length also plays a part, I go for the bass hanging very slightly higher than it sits when seated unstrapped, so it stays in the same place seated or standing and the angle your bass hangs makes a difference too.

I look at John Patitucci and see really good ergonomics though he sometimes has a bit too much of an angle in his left elbow on some photos and he hunches a bit when he's in the zone, but I aim at his ergonomics when playing, he's kind of coming from a double bassist position where all this stuff is extremely important.

If you can find a good teacher that properly understands ergonomics and avoiding injury, a lesson or two with them will be helpful too, if your playing walking lines technique can really help, as your a long time player, little things that you could do through strength rather than ergonomic technique start to catch you out over time.

I've played for a similar amount of time as you and I have to be very conscious of technique and ergonomics now.

I used to dig very hard but now I play very lightly and a whole world of tone has opened up.

Weight of the bass also comes in, get a good, wide padded strap.

Good luck, hope you get sorted, it's good that you've heard your body trying to tell you something, or it may be nothing, just a change of what you like.

Edited by subaudio

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6 hours ago, Linus27 said:

I don't think anything has changed in my technique, I'm still playing walking bass line and the same stuff as I always have. I don't think anything has happened to my hands as playing the same stuff on a Precision is no problem, its just that Jazz necks are now feeling too thin and narrow and a little uncomfortable. I don't really know what else it could be.

Has anyone else had something similar?

This is where i am now. I used to hate playing P necks, and if possible i would put a Jazz neck on them. I even have a Lakland JO4 neck that is/was my standard replacement neck for Fender type P basses. When i was using my Squeir CVP it had my CV Jazz neck on it.

A few years ago i got my Fender Sandblasted P bass and just kept at it as i liked the neck. it felt a lot more comfortable to play then any P neck i had tried before. Now i feel more comfortable on this than i do the same jazz neck i once lived to bits. When i got my Jack Casady bass i was worried about the neck but again, no issues.

My thinking is this. Although i could play a P neck i chose not to as it was easier for me to play the jazz neck. I guess i was so used to the jazz neck that anything other than that seemed strange and i just didn't bother. Being forced to stick with the current P neck has made me used to that now and i get on a lot better with wider nut width necks. i got the CV Jazz out a few weeks ago and although it felt like i could play faster on it, it also felt awkward. i guess its just not what im used to any more.

 

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On 31/01/2019 at 10:08, Linus27 said:

I've been playing bass for 30 years now and have probably done something in the region of 600 gigs and I have predominantly played a Jazz bass because they have felt the most comfortable for me. Mostly because of the neck but also pick up placement, balance and tone. I would happily play a Precision but they have always felt a little more cumbersome with the necks not so comfortable and my playing would suffer. I would always come back to a Jazz which felt like putting my favourite trainers back on.

However, over the last year, I'm beginning to find Jazz necks too thin and a little uncomfortable to play. My hand feels cramped when fretting as the neck feels too thin and narrow. I have always used all four fingers when fretting and play a lot of walking bass lines but I have noticed that using my little finger to fret is harder on a Jazz bass as my hand feels more squashed. I feel like its now harder to have my fingers flat across the board covering the frets as my hand is closed more because of the thinner neck. My fretless jazz I now find really uncomfortable to play. So I have been playing my 70's Precision a lot more and I am having no such trouble. It feels comfortable and no issues with fretting. I also have a Mike Dirnt Precision which is famous for having a very chunky neck and it feels very comfortable to play if not the most comfortable.

I don't think anything has changed in my technique, I'm still playing walking bass line and the same stuff as I always have. I don't think anything has happened to my hands as playing the same stuff on a Precision is no problem, its just that Jazz necks are now feeling too thin and narrow and a little uncomfortable. I don't really know what else it could be.

Has anyone else had something similar?

 

I started out on Jazz basses and thin neck Ibanez... over the years I find them less comfortable and I've developed a taste for wider necks (not necessarily chunkier, although I prefer chunky to slim). I don't know why. I have no issues with my hands. The bass with the slimmest neck I own is a Jazz copy by Vintage, and my hands dont exactly hurt, but don't feel good if I have to play a long session with it. On a wider neck? No problems.

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Posted (edited)

I always avoided Jazz style necks as they never felt comfortable. Then last year I tried a MM Sterling 4HH and it felt great so bought it on the spot. Liked it so much in fact that I bought another 4H shortly after.

Fast forward to this year and I only have to play it for a short time and I get cramping pains across the palm of my hand. My other basses have wider P width necks, from my Aria which is wide and chunky to the Status which is wide but a shallow D profile.

Edited by Deedee

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I have had,54,56,58,59,64 p basses etc but thankfully always kept my jazz basses,so it’s not like I have not given p basses a go,also not all jazz bass necks are the same.Back in about 68 I bought a new jazz,the first was a 67 and the neck stuffed up,so before I took it out of the  shop I pulled the neck off a 64 p bass that was there and put it on,played that for 20 years,love C shaped old p necks,been waiting for that bass to resurface

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Posted (edited)
On 31/01/2019 at 10:08, Linus27 said:

I'm beginning to find Jazz necks too thin and a little uncomfortable to play

Well done - it needed saying. The Jazz neck is not Leo's finest moment. P width at top then tapers a LOT to what feels live a Vee shape at the nut. So left hand form and position has to change significantly as you move around the neck. It's one Fender design you don't see many emulating - though my Sire V7 seems to have nailed the Jazz neck rather well :)

I have a hunch that some day soon I may end up trying a P/J Hot Rod type P with P neck, back pup etc. I went from nappies to a Precision so it should feel homely to me. (I was a late developer, OK?)

Edited by Soledad

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Due to small hands with short fingers I have never got on with a full 44mm Precision size neck however despite that I soldiered on for years with a Stingray 5 without too much difficulty. 

About 5 years ago I finally gave up on the 5-string as it was becoming too much and went back to a 4 string.  Initially I invested in a '73P,  41mm nut, and a '71J, 38mm nut but deep neck, neither of which have ever felt right.  Eventually I bought a used Sadowsky Metro UV70 Jazz and a used Sadowsky Metro PJ, both of which have 38mm nuts and are incredibly easy and comfortable to play.  A couple of years ago I thought I'd try a Fender Nate Mendel Precision, 40mm nut, as it was supposed to have a smaller neck but found that even that felt too wide. More recently I've added an original Musicman Sterling, 38mm nut, to the stable and that also feels great although the neck is slightly deeper than the Sads.  I think it's been a combination of age and slight arthritis in the fingers that have been the cause of my change.  Looks like the fenders are going to have to go soon as they never get played.

 

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2 hours ago, Soledad said:

Well done - it needed saying. The Jazz neck is not Leo's finest moment.

Really? That was the best neck he did at fender.

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3 hours ago, Woodinblack said:

Really? That {Jazz} was the best neck he did at fender.

This, absolutely.

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Wish fender made necks like ibanez. My sire v7 feels like a tree trunk compared to my SR

 

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Spoiler

 

Some people play with their thumb on the middle of the neck, some play with their thumb on the top and holding the whole back of the neck. From what I have observed, the latter seem to favour a P neck.

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7 hours ago, Woodinblack said:

Really? That was the best neck he did at fender.

It's Marmite then. 

 

3 hours ago, YouMa said:

My sire v7 feels like a tree trunk

see... :)

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I got arthritis in the balls of my thumbs - the most common place, apparently.

Diagnosed after a bad virus which made it flare up for several months really bad.

Ibuprofen gel helps, or taking a good dose of ibuprofen pills every four hours for a day knocks it right back.

This age-related arthritis often hurts but the pain goes with movement. I've actually found playing, especially acuostic guitar, helps.

I also had the beginnings of carpal tunnel syndrome, went as far as seeing a specialist, eventually sorted out by a mouse mat with a gel lump under my wrist.

So... worth having a discussion with your GP, they may be able to help or advise exercises.

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3 hours ago, missis sumner said:

I reckon this is just a GAS excuse. ;)

Sshhhhhhhh ! 👀

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6 hours ago, Soledad said:

It's Marmite then. 

Like any bass. I never found a P bass with a decent neck, but people seem to like them.

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