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Big Beginner Proble...
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Big Beginner Problems

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Active Member
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 5
Topic starter  

I am about four months into my career as a musician, and I have not yet been able to become addicted to any major narcotic, much less go through rehab, nor have I had an affair with even one model (not even a hand model). I feel I am substantially behind my goals at this point.

I'm sorry for that and now I'll be serious.

I have read a fair amount of stuff here & elsewhere and I know this is *not* easy, yet I do have some issues I'm not sure are common. I seek comfort from the Internets.

- First thing, recurring fretting arm tightness/pain - probably tendonitis, maybe just sore muscles. Yes, I've seen a doctor: She told me to stop playing guitar. I'm not kidding. I then saw an ortho who said I didn't have CTS or any nerve issue.

I've now had two major bouts of this. I had to take several days off each time. I'm just on the back of the second, and played for two hours yesterday. The first time, my teacher & I concluded it was due to me pressing way too hard, and squeezing the neck - bad technique. The second time, I had fallen back into that habit, slowly, plus was slinging too low.

I am hoping this may be licked now. I only practice ~an hour a day normally, so it's not like I'm killing my body with overuse.

My question for the group is: How common is this?? How many beginners have such issues?

- Second thing: Certain techniques that don't "seem" they should be so hard that I just can't do. Example: Running With The D?vil intro, you play a D7G7B7 chord (simple barre), then hammer on B8D9. You're hammering with two fingers at once. I just cannot do this without accidentally muting G. I just can't. Should I expect it to be nigh impossible at my stage?

- Keeping wrist straight/curling fingers instead. This is related to my tendonitis issues also. For some stuff I can do it, for others, just can't. Another example: Chord arpeggios in Limelight chorus. The first one is similar to the example above, where you have to fret on the D & B without muting G. I have to bend my wrist a good deal to do that. A bit of this is Ok, but a lot starts to hurt (then I stop).

So, again, I know that a lot of stuff (that looks easy) simply isn't, for any beginner. I guess I'm looking for 1) tips and 2) info about how common having to deal with pain in one form or another as a beginner is.

Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 5342

Welcome to the party. Eventually, the guitar will pay some bills or get you life-partners - maybe both

You are experiencing a fairly standard set of issues. Do make sure you're properly warmed up before you play big songs - play some open shapes and simple scales.

You are trying to run before you can walk. Get back to some simpler songs - Breakdown (Jack Johnson), Rhinestone Cowboy, Redemption song (Bob Marley) and build it from there. Songs by REM make good study material - start with Losing My Religion, then Everybody Hurts, Man On the Moon and finally The One I Love.

We all want to play Closer To The Heart/ Red Barchetta/ Working Man/ Limelight soon as - you'll get there.

"Be good at what you can do" - Fingerbanger"
I have always felt that it is better to do what is beautiful than what is 'right'" - Eliot Fisk
Wedding music and guitar lessons in Essex. Listen at:

Active Member
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 5
Topic starter  

Thanks. Yes, patience is not a virtue of mine. Yet, it's one required for this endeavor, I think.

Heck, though, Working Man is dirt simple except for the solo! :)

Eminent Member
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 25

I have tennis elbow, a form of tendonitis, that I got when I was lifting wights.

There are some exercises you can do outside of playing the guitar.

Squeeze a foam ball.
loop 1 or more rubber bands around your fingers and expand them out.

I have an exercise kit that I use daily:

I don't intend to shill, but I will promote something I find useful. If you can afford it, then buy it. Else, go with foam balls and rubber bands.

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Active Member
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 5
Topic starter  

OT gave me a litany of stretches and exercises with bands. None are quite like what that device you ref'd fosters, though. I may get one.

Good news for me now is that typing & other activity screws up my arm more than guitar.

Bad news is I still may need to take 2-3 months off (everything). It just doesn't heal otherwise.