Pain in wrist. Maybe lighter strings?

Discussion in 'Beginners/FAQ' started by Mvotre, Sep 17, 2018.

  1. Mvotre

    Mvotre SS.org Regular

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    SO, here's the deal. Love guitar, but stopped playing for some time. In that time, played a lot of classical guitar. Started to sound really nice, and the fat neck is pretty comfy.

    Bought a new guitar, tuned it to P4ths with 0.10s, and started studying some noob jazz. I actually can't play the guitar! I can actually isolate the problem. It's chord playing with the narrow string spacing and smaller neck. I can play leads all day long, but in MINUTES playing chords my hand is messed up, and if i pick in my classical I can play again, without pain. And I'm not playing some wide voiced chords or something like that (mainly block chords with 4 notes) It's so bad that said guitar is actually for sale, after maybe 2 weeks :(

    The playing position is not a problem (I guess), since I play the electric in exactly the same position as the classical. I got similar problem when I tried to play ukulele (with that stupid small neck). My wrist is not perfect. Messed it up a few times as a child, so it used to hurt sometimes. After some gym workouts (still go everyday) everything is fine, except small neck instrument playing. And I got fairly small hands also :p

    Anyone got the same problem? I'm not built for electric playing at all? Or maybe if I play with some 0.08s with a fairly low action might help a bit? I can always try that, but if I will always be in pain (even if lower ammount), I prefer to just play classical.

    Sorry for the long text, and I don't even know if the best place for posting is here. Feel free to move if needed.
     
  2. Bearitone

    Bearitone SS.org Regular

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    Do you wrap your thumb around the neck? Or press it on the back of the neck with “proper” form?
     
  3. Mvotre

    Mvotre SS.org Regular

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    thumb in the middle of the neck. Proper form. I guess :p

    I bought some Ernie Ball 0.08s wich I will put on tonight. I will then use the ridiculous low tension plus extra awareness of my playing, and try to play with only the minimal tension necessary. I was pretty sad in the morning, but now I think I can make it work.

    Make it's a nice excuse to just use the necessary force for both hands B-)
     
  4. somniumaeternum

    somniumaeternum SS.org Regular

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    If you've been playing classical guitar, then muscle wise your hand should be fine. It sounds like you need to look at your wrist angle as you play - different necks and different ways of holding them will lead to different wrist angles while you play, which can cause issues if they're too severe.
     
  5. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    So, I had some major RSI issues in college, researched the shit out of this stuff while I wasn't playing, and was able to address them in my own playing. Couple thoughts.

    1) A "classical" thumb position is optimized for a seated position, guitar resting on one leg, and probably mid-chest height. There, it gives a very natural wrist angle. In a more typical "rock" position, with the guitar closer to waist-high than chest, high, that translates into a fairly pronounced wrist angle. That can cause wrist tendon/nerve problems. The thumb-over-neck or "blues" wrist position, however, is pretty relaxed in normal playing position. The tradeoff is you give up a bit of reach on the guitar for three-note-per-string stuff, for example, but in practice if you favor a "blues" position but then shift into a "classical" one for stretchier stuff, you can minimize the stress on your wrist. tl;dr - the "proper form" you refer to is probably optimized for a different playing position than you're using.

    2) Another major contributing factor is neck thickness - thinner necks tend to exaggerate RSI issues and add to stress on the neck, whereas thicker ones tend to stress the wrist a little less. Anecdotally, even at the worst wrist pain I was having, I couldn't play my RG's Wizard neck, but I was still basically fine on my Strat. I don't know what sort of guitar you're playing, but if you're used to a thicker classical neck, a guitar with a fairly thin neck is going to cause you problems. Something with a thicker neck will probably help.
     
  6. Mvotre

    Mvotre SS.org Regular

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    well, I'm just playing at home, seated in the same chair and with the same elevation as in my classical. But since the size of the instrument is fairly different, I will pay attention to wrist angles :D

    the guitar? A strat with a fairly chunck neck (22mm at 1st fret, 24mm at 12, with what I imagine is a U shape - really round), so I believe I would only find a beefier neck on some jazz boxes.

    I searched a lot on the net also, and this kind of problem seens fairly common, always related to playing position/excess tension. Will try to reset my position and technique as needed, and let's see what happens.
     
  7. Mvotre

    Mvotre SS.org Regular

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    ok, so I changed strings, tried a lot, and still nothing seens to work :( Regardless of position, in the guitar neck it seens that I force my hands in painfull positions (even if I'm using super light touch). I grab the classical, and everything just works....

    maybe it's something in my hands. I'm right handed, but if I tried to write by hand (it's a different motion, but the squeezing of the hand also occurs), I can write for maybe one minute, before my hand starts to hurt (it was really painfull to wrote an essay by hand, for example). I can play lead all day, but my heart loves some jazz harmony :(
     
  8. myrtorp

    myrtorp Jiggywiggy

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    Never play through pain man!
    If you cant seem to find a solution then try resting for a few weeks, I know what it is like wanting to play but im pretty scared of injuring myself. Earlier this year I had to take almost 2 months off because the pain was always there when playing.. its good now tho.

    Hope it goes well
     
  9. duffbeer33

    duffbeer33 Contributor

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    I play a baritone and have some pain occasionally. Best advice would be to rest it until it feels good again. Stretches may work too. Guys like Stevie Ray Vaughn who played ridiculously chunky string gauges for years weren't that different from you and I... he probably dealt with the same issues but just figured out a technique and rest schedule that worked for him.
     

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