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wrist pain

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(@algebun)
Active Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 5
Topic starter  

First of all, new to guitar playing.

When I'm playing chords I've been getting some pain from my wrist up to my lower forearm. This is especially so when I play the G chord. My wrist is fairly arched and angled. I'm wodering is the pain normal and I just need to develop more muscles there or maybe I'm arching/angleling my hand to much. Any ideas. And if it's that I'm arching my hand too much, how far should one angle their wrist.


   
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(@alangreen)
Member
Joined: 22 years ago
Posts: 5342
 

You're overdoing it.

Either you're playing for too long or you're trying chord shapes that need some more development before you cover the full six strings. Cut the chord shapes down to three or four strings max for a while and see if it eases off - let us know

Wrist angle - what's your playing position like? It sounds like you have the neck too far down for comfort. Bring it up on your chest to "geek rock" position and get that wrist a little straighter. Again, let us know how it goes.

The alternative? RSI, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Tendonitis and other painful conditions you don't want to know about.

Incidentally - you had a duplicate post for this one. I deleted the other post.

A :-)

"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: http://www.rollmopmusic.co.uk


   
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(@corbind)
Noble Member
Joined: 22 years ago
Posts: 1735
 

You're overdoing it.

The alternative? RSI, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Tendonitis and other painful conditions you don't want to know about.
A :-)

Alan's right. After playing for 6 years, tendonitis got me because I was "overdoing it." Relax and use light-gauge strings!

"Nothing...can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts."


   
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(@katmetal)
Prominent Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 726
 

Wrist angle - what's your playing position like? It sounds like you have the neck too far down for comfort. Bring it up on your chest to "geek rock" position and get that wrist a little straighter. :shock:

I can relate - I have to have my guitar positioned up pretty far to get a comfortable wrist position. If I more the neck up to more vertical it feels even better. I believe it has something to do with each person individually. I see some of these guys with the guitar so low slung that I could never play like that. The bassist for Metallica has his bass down around his knees in "The day that never comes" video. :mrgreen:

It might look cool, but for me, uncomfortable as heck. Guess that means I am a "Geek Rocker" , according to Alan Green! :mrgreen:


   
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(@alangreen)
Member
Joined: 22 years ago
Posts: 5342
 

The bassist for Metallica has his bass down around his knees in "The day that never comes" video.

Yeah - but he's miming to a master soundtrack in the vid, not playing.

A :-)

"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: http://www.rollmopmusic.co.uk


   
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(@katmetal)
Prominent Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 726
 

Yeah - but he's miming to a master soundtrack in the vid, not playing. He must play like that the majority of the time. The video I am referring to is a live video in front of an audience. At any rate, there are plenty of guitarists out there that do wear their instruments extremely low slung while playing...I can't do it.


   
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(@alangreen)
Member
Joined: 22 years ago
Posts: 5342
 

I take it all back then.

A :-)

"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: http://www.rollmopmusic.co.uk


   
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(@katmetal)
Prominent Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 726
 

I take it all back then.

You did get the part right about me being a "Geek Rocker" :lol:


   
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(@wes-inman)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 5582
 

As others said, bring the guitar up higher. Yes, it looks very cool to have your guitar down around your knees, but it is very poor technique. It will greatly decrease your reach, and will cause your wrist to bend which is probably your problem.

Check out this photo, notice how the guitarist has the guitar up high (but not too high), how his wrist is very straight (which is the proper technique), and how he keeps his thumb behind the neck in the "hitchhiking thumb" position. This is excellent technique. Not only will your wrist straighten out, but you will also have far more reach. Also, notice the guitarist looks over the guitar, he does not tilt it up to look at it which will also cause your wrist to bend.

Compare that fellow's straight wrist with these photos of very poor technique.

There are times when your wrist has to bend a little, but it should never be excessive, it can lead to real and permanent injury.

If you know something better than Rock and Roll, I'd like to hear it - Jerry Lee Lewis


   
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(@xylembassguitar)
Trusted Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 66
 

I used to have the same wrist pain, and it was defintely because I was bending my wrist too much. Try to keep your wrist straight most of the time and don't bend it more than about 30 degrees when you have to. I didn't have to raise my instrument, just had to remember to keep the wrist form good. But remember, even if you do have to raise your instrument, it's better to look a little less cool than to develop carpal tunnel and have playing pains for the rest of your life.

Xylem Handmade Basses and Guitars


   
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(@corbind)
Noble Member
Joined: 22 years ago
Posts: 1735
 

I...it's better to look a little less cool than to develop carpal tunnel and have playing pains for the rest of your life.

+10

"Nothing...can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts."


   
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(@bjourne)
Trusted Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 37
 

I am confused. That guy has his thumb parallell to the neck while this guy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_ATggw3ucg (fast forward to 2:27) recommends holding it perpendicular to the neck. For me it is much more comfortable to hold the guitar like your guy because the wrist doesn't bend as much but then I can't reach as far as I can when holding it like the guy in the clip. For example, pointing the thumb towards the neck and not bending my wrist while trying to play a blues shuffle is totally impossible to me.


   
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(@wes-inman)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 5582
 

bjourne

All I can speak is from personal experience. I used to hold my thumb pointed toward the ceiling like the video (I didn't actually watch it). Now, I never had trouble with my wrist whatsoever, but I did develop a serious problem with my thumb. I was in tremendous pain all the time, even when I wasn't playing. I never stopped playing, but boy, did it hurt.

Bring your thumb in front of your palm. It is uncomfortable, it is not a natural position. Now let your thumb extend outward. See how much better that feels?? That is the thumb's natural position and this is how you should play.

It took awhile, but I had to teach myself to play like the photo I showed, with the thumb pointing up the neck toward the headstock. Once in awhile I still go back to the old habit. But I tell ya, it did a lot for me. First, my thumb does not hurt at all any more. I have more reach than ever, and my wrist stays very straight most of the time. Now, there are times when your wrist must bend, especially if you are playing on the bass strings down near the nut. But with the proper thumb position my wrist only bends a little, and is not uncomfortable at all.

Now, everybody is different. Some people have small hands, some people have large hands. Some folks can wrap their thumb over the top and fret the E, A, and D strings. I can do that, but it is a stretch for me, my hands are probably medium or a little on the small size.

But I think you will find you have far more reach no matter what size hands or length fingers you have if you keep your thumb in the "hitchhiking position".

And I do think you should angle the guitar up some, and I think I can show why. Try this:

Put your fretting hand in front of you palm up. For me, that is the left hand, and my thumb points to the left. Now, straight in front of me it is comfortable. But now move your hand away from you to the left while keeping your palm up. Notice as you get away from your body a bit that it starts to get uncomfortable? It does for me anyway, because this is a very unnatural position for our hands.

Now, with your hand palm up to the left of your body, rotate your thumb up. Not pointing toward the ceiling, but about 45 degrees. Now, if you are like me it feels far more comfortable and natural. And this is how you want your hand when playing, the "hitchhiking thumb" is a perfect description. I forget who it was on this board that came up with this name, but I like it, because everybody knows how to hitchhike. :D

Now, if you hold your guitar super low, it forces your thumb to point straight left again. But if you point it to the ceiling, now you have no reach.

So, bring the guitar up a little. I know it looks geeky to have it super high and I don't do that myself. But bring it up to where it is comfortable and you have lots of reach. And use the hitchhiking thumb.

If you know something better than Rock and Roll, I'd like to hear it - Jerry Lee Lewis


   
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(@theredd)
Trusted Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 44
 

As others said, bring the guitar up higher. Yes, it looks very cool to have your guitar down around your knees, but it is very poor technique. It will greatly decrease your reach, and will cause your wrist to bend which is probably your problem.

Check out this photo, notice how the guitarist has the guitar up high (but not too high), how his wrist is very straight (which is the proper technique), and how he keeps his thumb behind the neck in the "hitchhiking thumb" position. This is excellent technique. Not only will your wrist straighten out, but you will also have far more reach. Also, notice the guitarist looks over the guitar, he does not tilt it up to look at it which will also cause your wrist to bend.

Compare that fellow's straight wrist with these photos of very poor technique.

There are times when your wrist has to bend a little, but it should never be excessive, it can lead to real and permanent injury.

Wow, those two "bad" pictures looked exactly like my hands!

When I started, I was led to think that I was supposed to keep my thumb perpendicular to the neck, no wonder I have been in pain most the time! :shock:


   
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