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Wrist pains during solo play stretches (low strings, E and A)

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Joined: 7 years ago
Posts: 1
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I have been playing a lot of rhythm over the years and have been getting quite good at it, but lately I started playing more lead. On the higher strings I have no problems keeping my wrist straight in classical position, but on the lower strings I am unable to do so and keep the stretch I need (for example 8-10-12) without bending my wrist.
After some playing this starts to hurt my wrist and no matter how much I try to shift my guitar, hand, shoulder and arm, I cant seem to fix it.

So I thought I would try the most sensible thing and ask people who know a lot more about this as I do myself :3. In included some pictures so hopefully somebody can help me here. Like I said, on the higher strings I have no problem keeping my wrist straight but on the lower strings I cant do it without losing the stretch I need for certain parts. Perhaps it is a thing I have to get used to, perhaps its an easy fix I'm overlooking so any input would be very much appreciated.

Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 5342

If it hurts, you're either doing it for too long, or doing it wrong.

Having looked at the photos, I don't see anything particularly wrong with your hand shapes/ positions (except that I would fret the 10th fret with my ring finger, not my middle finger), except in the 4th picture ( ) where it's clear you're wearing your guitar ridiculously low and part of your pain problem is that you're having to reach a heck of a long way round the neck - and then, with the hand already overstretched, you've got work to do.

Shorten your strap and bring the guitar up about six inches. Your rhythm barre chords will thank you for it too.

Secondly, in the second picture ( ) your wrist is bent laterally to achieve fret access. Your elbow needs to move away from your body when you're in upper position like that so that the arm is straighter as you look down on it. It should happen instinctively; if it's not, then focus on making it happen for a while and it'll start to become more automatic.

There is a real problem when you want to play a solo standing up - the guitar is in front of your body, which is completely the wrong place for unhindered access to the top frets, even with a cutaway. This is why you see players moving the guitar around, pushing it forward, or (like Slash) playing with the neck pointing towards the ceiling. Try a few variations on the idea and see what works best.

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