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This is my first post and will seem overly long, but hopefully you'll see the relevance of the biographical details by the end.

I played sax from 7th to 12th grade. I liked it well enough but never really practiced enough to be all that good. A few months ago (around when I turned 40), I got the itch to start playing a musical instrument again. I've had a recurring dream over the years in which I played a bass guitar on stage at a concert (who knows why!) and decided to give that a try. It was a close call between that and a saxophone. The tiebreaker was that I knew I'd practice at night, when my kids are asleep, and that it's really easy to make an electric bass quiet (i.e., headphone amp).

About 7 months later, I'm really enjoying the bass, but it is really starting to hurt my left hand and shoulder. Check your form, I can hear you all thinking. My teacher doesn't see anything wrong. Maybe I could go see a doc, find someone else, etc.

I've noticed, in the past year or two, that I get tendonitis really easily. One day I ran with the wrong shoes, and I had it in my achilles heel for months. Similar with some pullups. Making matters worse, I spent my late 20s and early 30s hunched over computer with a bad desk at a law firm. My hands and wrists were a wreck when I left but more or less healed up over time. (The money was pretty good.) My left hand and shoulder now have a similar pain to what I had back then but not nearly as intense. (Actually, they went numb for a while back then.) Adding insult to injury, I have short stubby fingers.

I hope this doesn't sound like a whine fest. I've really enjoyed rediscovering music, but it's just a hobby. I'm starting to think that I should have just picked up a sax and worked around the practice issue. (Wife's closet is plenty big enough to play in, full of clothes, and on the other side of the house from our girls' bedroom.)

What do you guys think? Options are (i) pick up a sax or (ii) rest, try a short-scale bass, work with a doctor, etc., to stay with the bass. (I could put this on talkbass, but I know what they'd say.) I understand it's all just speculation, but I am curious about your thoughts. Thanks.
 

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Sax was designed to be ergonomic, and is the most hand-friendly instrument of which I am aware. (Sometimes not so friendly for the mouth or neck, though, with the neck at times being an issue with a neck strap.)

Your hand pain from the bass might be due to the pressure on your shoulder, though. If possible, you might try a wider strap for your bass to spread the pressure; padding is also good.
 

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I had a similar problem many years ago in my shoulder blade and my neck. I was lucky to find a good chiropractor. He worked on my upper and lower spine once or twice a week for a couple of months, but I felt better after only a couple of treatments. This was 20 years ago. The pain returned after a few years. I went to another chiropractor and after a few spinal adjustments I felt better. This was about 18 years ago and it has not recurred. I had seen several doctors but all they could do for me was prescribe pain killers and recommend surgery. Not all chiropractors are competent, but you can tell if what he's doing is working after only a couple of treatments. If no improvement, find someone else.
 

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Many saxophonists, clarinetists and oboists suffer from tendonitis as well. You won't get any relief switching instruments.

But if you like the saxophone, go for it as a second instrument to play.

I know you've heard the same advice over and over again, but you do need to continue the search for why everything hurts. I have had many pains due to playing sax and clarinet. The only things that help are rest and weight training. Weight training is usually overlooked but it can be quite beneficial for wrist pain. Find a good physical therapist.

Keep playing the bass. You can't turn down a saxophone as easily as you can turn down an amp.
 
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