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painful index finger and other misc concerns


(@naphelge)
New Member
Joined: 7 years ago
Posts: 3
Topic starter  

I just started back playing guitar, after an, oh, ummm, 25 year lay off :)

Got me a Walden small body accoustic to help make handling the guitar and fretting easier on my smaller frame and hands. I am happy with my guitar, and after going at thing kinda hard for a week I noticed a progressively sull aching stiff pain setting in on my index finger.

I was experiencing some mild discomfort playing G7 chords with the F in the traditional first fret position and have helped alleviate the pain by fretting the G7 chord with its F on the D string 3rd fret. Much nicer on my index finger. Now I am also having problems with my index finger fretting the traditional C chord, for which there seems to be no viable open position substitute. The discomfort is most noticable when I first start playing, and I have to go at fretting the C chord real gingerly, but then after a few minutes the discomfort disappears, and when I stop playing it returns. Playing all other chords, so far, have proved no problem whatsoever.

I have been working on fretting with the least amount of finger pressure possible to still make the notes sound as good as I can. I am also kind of fighting my thumb position. I can't seem to keep it in a consistent position, and the further into a song I play the more the thumb wants to and does creep up over the neck of the guitar, which for my small hands then means strings get muted that shouldn't be muted.

I know I should go see a doc, but I am outside of my home country, staying in a third world county atm, and unfortunately I do not have the greatest degree of faith in the doctors here, so I thought I would at least arm myself with some knowledge of experience if anyone has experienced anything similar to what I described regarding my index finger pain. I am hoping it is just starting-to-play dsicomfort pains that will eventually dissipate like the pain of building calluses on the finger tips. I did take a few days off, and although my finger felt somewhat better, as soon as I picked up the guitar again the discomfort was immediately felt again, but disappears after a couple minutes of gingerly fretting the C chord in some easy chord progressions to get things going.

I am of course a lot older now than I was when I was playing non-stop power chord favourites by Black Sabbath, Metallica and AC/DC, and so accept the fact my body will not respond as well as it did when I was a teenager. But I am also playing much more laid back tunes now, but I do find open chord progressions fairly challenging atm compared with simpler power chords, even if the tempo is slower.

I am also hoping for some advice on how I might get better control of my fretting hand thumb that seems to want to move all over the place. C to F chord progressions seem particularly difficult to maintain a consitent thumb position, and I cannot find much in the way of thumb position advice online. It is also on my mind that perhaps when I get better command of a more consistent fretting hand my index problem might well alleviate itself?


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(@dogbite)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 6353
 

the ageing process is sometimes cruel. fighting tendinitis and playing in a band is counter productive. by the end of the first set, my hands are limber. the next morning I feel I have three pairs of gloves on.
stretching is vital no matter what age. simple hand stretching before and after can help considerably.
thumb position. my thumb travels all the time. it depends on what chord and style I play. barre chords, I have my thumb firmly behind the neck. open chords I usually have my thumb over the top; as most do.
F chords are no problem. even with my fat fingers I am able to play cleanly. practice I guess.
if you have constant pain then examine your fretting hand and finger pressure. pressing behind the fret wire is essential. it does not take much pressure.
beginners typical press too hard.
hope this helps.

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 Cat
(@cat)
Noble Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 1225
 

the ageing process is sometimes cruel. fighting tendinitis and playing in a band is counter productive. by the end of the first set, my hands are limber. the next morning I feel I have three pairs of gloves on.
stretching is vital no matter what age. simple hand stretching before and after can help considerably.
thumb position. my thumb travels all the time. it depends on what chord and style I play. barre chords, I have my thumb firmly behind the neck. open chords I usually have my thumb over the top; as most do.
F chords are no problem. even with my fat fingers I am able to play cleanly. practice I guess.
if you have constant pain then examine your fretting hand and finger pressure. pressing behind the fret wire is essential. it does not take much pressure.
beginners typical press too hard.
hope this helps.

I thought I'd see a new pic of you, Randy...after so long of a time!

Yep...playing with arthritis is tough...but what else can ya do???

"Feel what you play...play what you feel!"


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 Nuno
(@nuno)
Famed Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 3998
 

I agree, perhaps you are applying too much pressure in your fretting hand. Try to detect when the string doesn't sound while you reduce the pressure and you can get an idea of how many pressure is needed.

Also, try to rest some minutes every 10-15 minutes when you are playing. How many time does your sessions take? At this stage, your muscles need to get used to the exercise.

Do you practice any warming exercise? I always start my sessions with some scales and arpeggios played at low tempi, after 5-10 minutes my hands are ready for the stretching required for the most difficult chords.

Welcome to GN.


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(@hobson)
Prominent Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 794
 

You already have some good advice here. Don't overdo the playing, take breaks, don't apply too much pressure.

It might help you to get more advice if you describe where the pain is on the index finger.

Renee


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