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Hand Pain while playing

Hummingbird 10 Sep 99 - 08:56 PM
kendall morse (don't use) 10 Sep 99 - 09:47 PM
Don Meixner 10 Sep 99 - 10:58 PM
Jack (Who is called Jack) 10 Sep 99 - 11:06 PM
Val Sommerville 11 Sep 99 - 10:42 AM
joeler 11 Sep 99 - 11:17 AM
Hummingbird 11 Sep 99 - 02:18 PM
Bryant 12 Sep 99 - 01:29 AM
DonMeixner 12 Sep 99 - 06:05 PM
Bert 13 Sep 99 - 02:39 PM
kevin cloud 14 Sep 99 - 05:37 AM
alison 14 Sep 99 - 09:15 AM
Easy Rider 14 Sep 99 - 09:22 AM
GUEST 19 Nov 10 - 01:50 AM
The Sandman 19 Nov 10 - 08:04 AM
GUEST,leeneia 19 Nov 10 - 10:06 AM
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Subject: Hand Pain while playing......
From: Hummingbird
Date: 10 Sep 99 - 08:56 PM

Yet another post from me...... I"m a relatively new guitarist, just over a year. I'm having trouble with pain in my left hand while playing. It runs along the inner aspect of my thumb as it sits on the neck. Does anyone have any suggestions as to exercises I could do to strengthen this particular muscle or maybe I need to change my hand position slightly. Resting my entire palm on the back of the neck just isn't comfortable, and playing an F is just about impossible. I also have very small hands. I'm playing a Monteya, is this what you would call a wide necked guitar??? Any help would relieve my pain, cuz I just love playing!!!!!!


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Subject: RE: Hand Pain while playing......
From: kendall morse (don't use)
Date: 10 Sep 99 - 09:47 PM

I suggest you simply apply pressure with your left thumb instead of the whole palm. In other words, only your thumb and finger tips would be touching the neck. I'm not familiar with that particular guitar, but, maybe you could have the action lowered making it easier to play.


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Subject: RE: Hand Pain while playing......
From: Don Meixner
Date: 10 Sep 99 - 10:58 PM

Ho Humm! (sorry, couldn,t resist)

I could offer volumes about playing through hand pain. I'll try to put some order to your problem.

1. How are you holding your guitar? Are you sitting or standing? Do you use a strap?

Hand pain while playing can usually be related to the attitude of the hand and the neck of the guitar. If you are cradling the neck in your palm as if you were holding a rifle you will be putting the wrist in a possition that will promote Carpal tunnel syndrome. Balance the neck more on the crook of the thumb. This will put the palm of you hand at a more oblique , neutral, angle to the neck which will take the strain off your wrist.

I think many new musicians will find it easier to play a guitar while sitting than standing. The guitar can be held in a more stabile position. The more perpendicular the face of the guitar is to the floor the more neutral the wrist position will be. It will also be easier to maintain a neutral form. People like me who are short for their weight have the added concern of a belly pushing the guitar forward and creating more of an issue with neuitral wrists. Is the guitar a flat back or an Ovation style bowl back. Ovations are wrist killers because they force you to extend your wrist forward when playing, well beyond a neutral position.

A strap should be used even when sitting. This helps to keep the guitar balanced.

2. Is your guitar a steel string or nylon string instrument? How is the action?

Nylon string instruments are usually classical in nature and have a wide finger board whick can cause alot of hand pain. Especially for tiny hands. Steel strings can be harder to push down although the necks on steel string guitars are normally narrower. Can't make the neck thinner but consider playing a "D" chord at the fifth fret for an "F" chord, top strings only. Kendall suggests lowering the action if its a steel stringer which is great advice. If it is already low, maybe try silk and steel strings. You'll loose volume but they are easy on the fingers.

If you have trouble with "F" and every new player does I assume you are playing "C" and "G" ok. The "F " will come in time. Or capo up two and play the key of "C" with "A", "D", and "E" shapes. This will work fine till you need a minor then you are looking at some real pain in the ass chords.

Good luck

Don


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Subject: RE: Hand Pain while playing......
From: Jack (Who is called Jack)
Date: 10 Sep 99 - 11:06 PM

If your expriencing chronic discomfort be aware of the possibility of carpal tunnel syndrome, that comes from chronic hyperextension of the wrist.

Get a professional guitarist or classical instructor to show you the proper techniques for reducing stress on the wrist.

Seriously. A severe case of carpal tunnel can involve chronic pain, numbness, loss of strenght and loss of control, particularly in the distal (outer) fingers. I've had it (a combination of guitar and riding a bicycle an leaning on the handlbars without gloves).


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Subject: RE: Hand Pain while playing......
From: Val Sommerville
Date: 11 Sep 99 - 10:42 AM

A Physiotherapist can help a lot. I suggest you research them first and find one who can do low level laser treatment. This works better than exercising an area that is already under stress. Good luck.


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Subject: RE: Hand Pain while playing......
From: joeler
Date: 11 Sep 99 - 11:17 AM

Get hold of a twelve string guitar and play it for a week. Go back to your Montoya and the strings will will feel like a feather when you play a chord. I think a Montoya is a classic nylon string. If you play F, learn how to bridge the chord instead of trying to wrap your thumb around the neck. Unless you have hands as big as a gorilla, you'll never make it. I also agree with Don, learn to play in a different key, G or A, or D. F will come in time.


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Subject: RE: Hand Pain while playing......
From: Hummingbird
Date: 11 Sep 99 - 02:18 PM

Dear Don, Thank you for all the insight. The action is not too bad, much better than the old epiphone I started playing on. That was just horrible. It's a steel string, Monteya. I will use your suggestions. I don't think it's carpal tunnel, it only hurts when I play. I work for a physical therapist, so he is keeping an eye on it too. Thank you again for your helpful advice.


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Subject: RE: Hand Pain while playing......
From: Bryant
Date: 12 Sep 99 - 01:29 AM

Hi Hummingbird,

Something I've found that helps a lot is to run your hand under hot water (as hot as you can stand it) for a minute or two when your hand starts getting tight and cramped. It loosens up the muscles and gets rid of the pain.

I guess the other thing to keep in mind is that the first few years of playing guitar are kinda painful no matter what. Keep playing and the callouses and muscle strength will come.

Bryant


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Subject: RE: Hand Pain while playing......
From: DonMeixner
Date: 12 Sep 99 - 06:05 PM

Hummingbird,

There is an article in this current edition of Prevention Magazine on playing piano with hand pain. Some info may be of use to you.

Don


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Subject: RE: Hand Pain while playing......
From: Bert
Date: 13 Sep 99 - 02:39 PM

STOP.

I'll say it again STOP.

Whenever you are doing something and it causes you pain (other than sore muscles) STOP IMMEDIATELY.

Take Jack's advice and find a good instructor who can teach you how to hold and play without hurting yourself.

Bert. (Who doesn't practice enough to get those problems)


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Subject: RE: Hand Pain while playing......
From: kevin cloud
Date: 14 Sep 99 - 05:37 AM

hi...two points in addition to those already discussed: 1) quoting from memory Segovias' introduction to his book of guitar studies, "The greatest and most common problem for the beginning guitarist is UNNECESSARY MUSCULAR TENSION". This cannot be emphasized too strongly. Using only the exact amount of force necessary allows us to play more fluidly and with greater agility, preserving our bodies while freeing us to be more musically expressive. If you can look at video of segovia or rory block, do so. With Rory, in spite of the truly crushing power of some of her playing, at every moment (down to the 1/4 second) that her hands and arms aren't actually punishing the strings, they appear to be utterly limp. With Segovia it's truly amazing. His hands appear to be completely motionless as torrents of crisply articulated notes pour forth. Pay attention to your shoulders, your spine, your hips, legs, feet. Get your whole body into a comfortable, well-supported position, breathe naturally, and remind yourself over and over, at every opportunity, to relax and enjoy. 2) with a nod to bert, two things to do or not when your hands begin to hurt. DON"T FLICK THEM! The goal is to increase blood flow without inflicting additional stress. Let your arms hang limp at your sides for 5-15 seconds. Raise your hands to slightly above your breast for 5 seconds. repeat. research suggests that restriction of blood flow and consequent stress of tendons,etc occurs within 20-30 minutes of "tense" playing, and that normal blood flow and muscular relaxation can be recaptured with as little as 30 seconds of the above exercise. so: play for 20 minutes. Exercise relaxation for one minute. Do that acouple more times, and then watch that Rory Block video again. Finally, here's help for emergencies, ie you've hurt yourself but you have to play more. Aspercreme. Topical analgesic. Rub it on the pain and the pain goes away, without having to swallow half a bottle of aspirin and get indigestion and kidney damage. Not only that, but it is genuinely therapeutic, as it doesn't just mask pain but actually improves blood flow. I hope this helps. Whether your music is driven by heart, soul, brain, libido, anger, love, pride, or joy, it needs your body to be smooth, calm, confident, relaxed, comfortable, and well-taken-care-of in order to reach its' true power. good luck... yrs, kc


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Subject: RE: Hand Pain while playing......
From: alison
Date: 14 Sep 99 - 09:15 AM

Hi,

I'm not a guitarist.... but I get hand pain playing the uilleann pipes, through holding the chanter too tightly, eased almost instantly by relaxing my grip... maybe as the above post suggested you're holding it too tightly and need to release the pressure.

slainte

alison


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Subject: RE: Hand Pain while playing......
From: Easy Rider
Date: 14 Sep 99 - 09:22 AM

In addition to all of the above, I have one word of advice, from my chiropracter:

ICE

Keep your practice sessions short, so you don't increase the injury, and ICE your wrist, for 20 minutes, after practicing. This will reduce the inflammation and swelling, which causes the pain. I keep a gelpack in the freezer at all times, but a better ice pack than that is a bag of frozen peas. No kidding! My orthopedist recommended this, after my knee surgery, and it works.

EZR


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Subject: RE: Hand Pain while playing......
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Nov 10 - 01:50 AM

my daughter is having wrist pain , slowly spreading to fingers and hands, could not even play veena for five minutes, an indian string instrument . could not find the reason. she does not get pain if she is not playing the instrument


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Subject: RE: Hand Pain while playing......
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Nov 10 - 08:04 AM

OPEN TUNINGS?


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Subject: RE: Hand Pain while playing......
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 19 Nov 10 - 10:06 AM

Guest, I once took an exercise class with an RN who was also an orthopedic nurse. As we danced she would shout, "If it hurts, quit!"

That is my advice to you, to your daughter, and to anybody who is feeling pain. If it hurts, quit.

Then consult an expert and find out why it hurts.

How old is your daughter? If she's young, her muscles may not be strong enough, and her connective tissue firm enough, to play an instrument designed for an adult. Remember that a person is not completely mature until age 25.


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