“It’s all in the wrist champ!” How many parents and coaches have said those words when teaching sports? Music teachers should use this phrase too!
I’ve been playing bass for 14 years now and never paid much attention to the positioning of my wrists. Until I watched this video from Scott’s Bass Lessons. It got me thinking about my wrist positioning, and how it could be affecting my playing. Over the following week I eyeballed my wrists positions while practicing. I was horrified to see that both my wrists were bent at a 90 degree angle! And I’d been playing like this for 14 years!
This is bad because the tendons which control finger movements are constantly stretched over the wrist while playing. This puts pressure on the tendons, tiring them faster and possibly leading to strain and sprain. It can also lead to serious injury if playing repeatedly for long stretches of time.
I took it one wrist at a time and with the words of Janek Gwizdala humming in my ears, I spent much longer than I thought I needed on each wrist. I essentially had to break a habit and form a new one. So, the practice was extremely slow and methodical. 60bpm playing all 7 seven modes over 2 octaves while staring at my wrist, exciting stuff! Slowly speeding that up and correcting my wrist when it went back to 90 degrees.
I started this in January and had my first gig of the year two weeks ago. Two and a half hour straight set, no problem. No tiredness, straining or struggling to throw in some fast licks 😉 Straight wrists, or as close to straight as possible, really does make a difference.
Next time you’re playing take a glance down at your wrists and see what position they’re in! Could be something to work on to make your playing even more effortless 😉