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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Don Meixner Hand Pain while playing (16) RE: Hand Pain while playing...... 10 Sep 99

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


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