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Pain and persistence


dalenichol
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Hey guys. Long time no speak!

I've been a member here since the very first day, coming over from the old place to here as soon as it was announced. For various reasons, I've been gone for the best part of two years, but I'd like to become more active again. 

 

 

Anyway, I'm here for some advice. I've been playing the guitar on and off for years now, never getting very far, putting it down for months, picking it back up and starting from scratch. The cycle continues. 

 

I'm now giving it one more, possibly final shot, at getting decent and I've encountered some trouble. When I play, my left hand, or more specifically the wrist, starts to hurt. It's a dull ache initially, before becoming a shooting pain. I thought it might be tendonitis, so I went to the doctors and got some injections, but it didn't help. 

I'm trying to think of various things that could be hindering me, or things that could help and I'm wondering if you guys and girls could possibly help me out?  I've thought about a couple of things, so I'll add them here in a list to get some feedback. 

 

1)I practice in front of the pc on a standard office style chair, could changing my seating help?

2) I'm overweight and have a bit of a beer gut, could that lead to my arm being in an awkward position?

3) I've never practiced standing up, could that be a more natural position?

4) I'm not very good, but never use dynamic difficulty. If i'm trying to play along to quick song, even poorly, is that putting too much pressure on my wrist?

5) I can play picking parts fine, but when it comes to chords, particularly powerchords, that's when the pain comes.

6) I've never had my guitar 'set up/serviced', could the action or anything like that be an issue?

 

 

Sorry for the long post, but this is becoming quite depressing in all honesty. The only hobby I've ever really wanted to pursue and it seems like something is holding me back, but I can't figure out what

 

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1) armrest tends to be problematic for a good playing positionning so maybe

2) hard to say just like that

3) maybe but it can have other side effect (weight of the guitar on the shoulder instead of the leg, standing up for a long time, etc...)

4) yeah, being overwhelmed usually stress the player which tends to grip too hard and contracts muscle a lot more than what is really needed which will bring pain way faster.

5) relax and take it slow, you might wanna grip too tight which will be a big issue in the long run

6) Hell yeah, the higher the action the more pressure you have to apply to fret the strings the harder it is on your muscle the faster the pain will come

 

But one very fucking important thing to remember : NEVER EVER play through pain! this will fuck you up faster than you can imagine and it will make any more training worthless. Take a quick break if you start to feel pain, 5/10 minutes and come back or just stop for the day. There's no need to push further than what your body can handle and health is way more important than being good at something.

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Thanks buddy, I appreciate you taking the time to answer. I think from now on, I'm going to play most things on 50% or so difficulty, try to take the pressure off a bit. That'll be my first change. 

 

I'll very possibly take my guitar(s) to get a setup done this month if I have the spare cash, see how that impacts things too.

 

Thanks again

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Hey I saw your post and you're dealing with wrist pain. I have recurring DeQuarvaine's (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Quervain_syndrome). I have to mind how much pressure I put on my wrist and thumb especially, ideally there should be none so it's a good technique to focus on. As long as you are not over-pressuring your joints in both your fingers thumb and wrist you will be ok. Do some wrist stretching after you play for 5 minutes.

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I was about to touch on the importance of stretching before playing too as that is a bit of an issue with myself too, not so much the pain but the over reaching chords with 40+ year old hands that until a couple of years ago had never picked up a guitar (a very amateur bass player)  

I get pain in my thumb muscle on my right hand too but that is just from pressing/planting my thumb on the pickup with too much pressure. i know i do it and its a bad habit i picked up. When i realize i am doing it i make myself relax and i am fine again.

 

 You will most likely like me are trying too hard and doing a bit of running before we are walking on some songs.

Guitars: ESP LTD F-54 Bass, Tanglewood Curbow4 Bass, Stagg BC300-N Bass, Yamaha BBN5bk (5String), ESP LTD AX-360, Plus a cheapo no name acoustic

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Hey I saw your post and you're dealing with wrist pain. I have recurring DeQuarvaine's (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Quervain_syndrome). I have to mind how much pressure I put on my wrist and thumb especially, ideally there should be none so it's a good technique to focus on. As long as you are not over-pressuring your joints in both your fingers thumb and wrist you will be ok. Do some wrist stretching after you play for 5 minutes.

Thanks for this reply.  It's DeQuervaine's that the doctor thought I might have when I described the pain and the issue to him and I have been given two separate courses of steroids to try and fix the issue, neither of which has worked. They wont give me another, the only other option is surgery, which is a route I'd rather not go down. So now, it's trying to rule out every other possibility of my playing that could be causing it. 

 

I was about to touch on the importance of stretching before playing too as that is a bit of an issue with myself too, not so much the pain but the over reaching chords with 40+ year old hands that until a couple of years ago had never picked up a guitar (a very amateur bass player)  

I get pain in my thumb muscle on my right hand too but that is just from pressing/planting my thumb on the pickup with too much pressure. i know i do it and its a bad habit i picked up. When i realize i am doing it i make myself relax and i am fine again.

 

 You will most likely like me are trying too hard and doing a bit of running before we are walking on some songs.

 

I think you're fairly accurate there, buddy.  I'm finding myself stuck in a hard place, because I listen to a lot of modern, fairly nice punk rock, which I can never find custom tracks of, and my other passion is metal, which is almost entirely out of the reaches of a newbie like myself.  I think because of that, I push myself to be able to play stuff that I can't actually play, and bugger my wrist up in the process.  Warm up stretching is definitely something I need to do more of too

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  • 2 weeks later...

Bass is what I enjoy at the moment , it is more of a stretch for the fingers . But I find I feel the music more if you know what I mean.

 

Sent from my Nexus 6P using Tapatalk

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Guitars: ESP LTD F-54 Bass, Tanglewood Curbow4 Bass, Stagg BC300-N Bass, Yamaha BBN5bk (5String), ESP LTD AX-360, Plus a cheapo no name acoustic

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I can definitely understand that, yeah. 

 

I think the problem for me was that I had it in my head that I needed to learn guitar, that somehow I'd be more creative and then I'd suddenly be this great guitarist, doing all this really cool stuff, and then I'd join a band and the rest would be history...

 

 

And then I realised that I actually preferred both learning and practicing Bass and got really annoyed with myself because I'd completely neglected it for about 8 years.  If I'd spent those 8 years playing and learning bass like I should've, who knows how good I could be now.

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Rocksmith was the reason i picked up a guitar, I had never played an instrument before in my life ; to be honest i never thought i would be able to as i broke my wedding ring finger years ago and it has never set properly, as a result i cant close it fully so stretching it actually hurts at times so i don't push it.
I know i will never be anywhere near as good as i would like to be as i started too late and i have a shockingly bad short term memory ha ha.

But you know what?

I enjoy it when i nail a song (even if its an easy one to any one else) I am 43 years young lol (did you see what i did there?) so i know i left it late to start. 

I know i have improved last year , this year not so much with the stress of my wife's cancer ops she has had to endure.

but now that the last lot is done and she is on the mend again i can put some more time back into it again :)  

 

One of the greatest things i find about rocksmith is the community right here! with all the new artist's i am discovering that i have never heard off and the totally awesome guys and gals here willing to help out.

Do yourself a favor and record some videos to help yourself reflect on how far you have come , that is what i do. When i doubt i pull up the oldest one and cringe then realize i am not that bad after all :) 

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Guitars: ESP LTD F-54 Bass, Tanglewood Curbow4 Bass, Stagg BC300-N Bass, Yamaha BBN5bk (5String), ESP LTD AX-360, Plus a cheapo no name acoustic

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At the end of the day, if we get enjoyment out of it, then who cares, eh? 

 

For me, with the issues of wrist pain and a general lack of progress, I simply wasn't getting that enjoyment out of the guitar, then, thankfully, last Saturday night one of my strings snapped. Dismayed, knowing that the shops weren't open yesterday, I decided to use Rocksmith and my guitar to emulate bass, and everything that I'd been missing from the enjoyment came flooding back to me.  

 

I've spent at least 2 hours every day since playing bass on the guitar and then today I went to the local pawn shop and picked up a cheap, £40 bass. And it's just great. 

My next thing, as you mentioned, will be to get myself a webcam and see if I can record myself, hopefully improve my technique

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I'm no guitar teacher and did the same - playing guitar on and off, had a break for years.

To avoid wrist pain, maybe you put too much pressure on the strings, which is not necessary and as said in the postings before get yourself into a relaxing position.

 

The most important thing is that you've fun while playing your instrument - doesn't matter if it's guitar, bass or anything else. Try to play regularly and pick songs you like (this will keep you playing it, because you won't get annoyed when listening to it more than 20 times ;)) - if the song is more complicated it's not necessary to use DD if you don't like it; use RR, select all sections and play it at a slower speed or pick a section or riff you want to learn and level it up - starting with a speed where you can follow the notes (doesn't matter if it's 50% speed or less) - with some practice you'll build up speed. It's not necessary to practice every day for hours - if you've only time for 20 minutes it's fine and it is ok to have a break, but don't put your instrument away for weeks or months. You may combine it with some physical exercise - for example going out for (nordic) walking and the other day playing guitar or a both on some days. If you do this for a month, then 2 months it will become a routine and then you will miss something if you've no time left at one day for it - and don't set too ambitious targets. Ofc we all want to play like <enter your favourite musician> and if you reach a few % of it will be a success and keep you motivated to continue.

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Thanks, Papillon, I appreciate you taking the time to respond. 

 

I'm taking all of the advice I'm getting on board, that's for sure.  I think the one thing I've learned is that I simply enjoy bass more than I enjoy guitar. Just annoyed that it took me years of trying to play something else to realise that!

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  • 5 months later...

Hi!

 

I'm overweight too. I found out that having the guitar or bass neck pointing slightly upwards.....Here you will have to find an angle that suits you. Will make playing sitting down ( I have a moderate, right leg handicap since beeing hit by a car in -95 ) a bit more comfortable than having the neck horizontal.

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I suffer from a chronic muscle problem that occasionally locks up my joints, including my wrists. It's called myofascial trigger points. I've been to doctors seeking relief but frankly, most doctors are ignorant of the condition or the solution. Also, most people don't have this as a chronic problem but only occasional problems in one area.

 

Many people may suffer from trigger points, which feels like a charlie horse or a muscle cramp and while it may be painful, it may subside with time. Others need to treat the problem to feel relief. The treatment is a rather painful massage of the offending trigger point. You may identify the trigger point as a knot or a sore spot in a muscle. The tricky thing is, you may feel pain in your wrist but the offending muscle may be in your forearm. Since you have been examined by a doctor and treated unsuccessfully, I would certainly look at trigger points as a possible cause.

 

Here is a web site that can help you identify the problem area and also provides information on treatment. http://myofascialtherapy.org/

Use the symptom checker to locate where the offending muscle might be. If you think this may be the problem, there are massage therapists trained in trigger point therapy and can help you release them. Once located, you can learn to massage them yourself.

 

Hope this helps, pain sucks.

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