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Alright... dumb question


Murakawa

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I've been doing a lot of recording lately, with my acoustic Tanglewood guitar.

 

For some reason, however, after recording, my left hand is absolutely KILLING me - especially after playing a lot of bar chords.

 

I've been playing the guitar for about 10 years now and this has never really happened before. Towards the end of the song I barely have any grip which makes things terribly frustrating.

 

Can anyone suggest something? Would changing the string gauge make any difference? Or raising the bridge slightly?

 

Many thanks

 

Murakawa

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Just a guess: If you are in practice and you play regularly: You are freaking yourself out about the recording... the process means a lot to you and you are tense, so you are gripping too hard, and paying the price after the fact.

 

Record more. Try to relax. Think about it, and realise when you are gripping too hard, and make yourself stop. Get more comfortable with the process, and you should not have the pain anymore.

 

The other option is that you are just not used to playing that much, and you are sore from using muscles that you don't normally use so much.

 

Bill

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

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Not a dumb question at all. Are you finding yourself playing for a lot longer during recording sessions than you typically do when practicing? That could do it, especially with a lot of barre chords.

 

As far as guitar set-up, impossible to know without looking at the guitar. What gauge strings do you use? Has the guitar ever been set up by a professional? You might take it to a good repair person, sit down with it, and talk about all this. The repair person might have some suggestions.

 

 

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Originally posted by Bluesape:

The way you hold the guitar can cause cramps after a while. Are you sitting, standing, using a strap, etc.? http://www.websmileys.com/sm/fingers/fing03.gif

Yeah, especially if you're using a different playing position for this recording than you normally use....

"And so I definitely, when I have a daughter, I have a lot of good advice for her."

~Paris Hilton

 

BWAAAHAAAHAAHAAA!!!

 

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When you say "killing you", is it painful during/after you play, or does your hand just feel weak and tired? And if it hurts, does it hurt in your fingers, hand, wrist, or forearm?

Always remember that you�re unique. Just like everyone else.

 

 

 

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Cheers for the replies, guys - all helpful points.

 

I think the main thing for me could well be the pressure to get it right, as Bill says. I'm always thinking "right... this has to be perfect" and perhaps by thinking that I'm putting myself under unnecessary strain.

 

As for the playing position - I usually play standing up, but when I record I sit down. Maybe this is a mistake. I'll try recording whilst standing up and see how that goes.

 

Thanks again

 

Mura

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Originally posted by Murakawa:

Picker: it's really just a weak/tired sensation I guess, but I feel a sort of strain on the outer palm of my hand. My forearm and wrist are okay - it's all in the hands.

That's either going to be from using too much pressure or from a bad playing position causing stress. I'd make sure that my playing position was relaxed and free and try to use as light a touch as possible...stay relaxed.

"And so I definitely, when I have a daughter, I have a lot of good advice for her."

~Paris Hilton

 

BWAAAHAAAHAAHAAA!!!

 

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And sometimes taking a break once in a while makes a difference! And warming up your hands before and after.

 

Re: barre chords - sure we play them, but there are other ways to get there! If you are playing in a band with other instruments also playing the same chord, why not experiments with fingerings and voicings other than barres? You might find it sounds just as good (or better) and doesn't tire the hands so much!

 

And not just playing guitar. I work at a computer keyboard 40+ hours a week, and make sure I don't overstress my hands there, either! I'm being paid to translate documents, not to ruin my hands!

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PS One good voicing is the one derived from the open position C chord, with the G note on top, muting the G string if it clashes, and the low E string (or you could also play the low E and mute the top one). It sounds good in the right contexts and is a lot easier on the hands than barre chords!

 

Standard A and E derived chords are fine, but they get boring. Why not also learn your standard major chords based off the G and D chords?

 

And sometimes all you need is one note, or one note in octaves.... holding that note while chords around you change... makes it more colorful!

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Hi, i just joined this forum so i hope this does not sound like i'm a know all but i had this problem as well and speaking to a friend who is a superb guitarist he made two points, 1 Always run you hands through a series of warm ups before you start i.e. bends stretches and massage. 2 Always remember to breath. i found that the more i concentrated on getting a part right the less i was breathing this in turn led to cramps and pain etc. just my 2 cents but it worked for me.
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Thanks Eric, that was helpful.

 

I do often use the C position with the E/G string muted... but maybe not often enough!

 

I think taking breaks is something I should do more often, to be quite honest. Sometimes I really will be sitting there all night recording. Maybe it's no wonder I ache afterwards!

 

Cheers again guys

 

Mura

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You may be developing carpal tunnel/repetative stress syndrome. Or, you could be dealing with tendonitis, especially if you are playing for longer periods of time than you are used to at a setting. Play less for a while, to give your musicles and tendons a chance to heal a bit. Ice is good right after you finish, to keep swelling down. But after 10-12 hours, soaking the hand in hot water (hot as you can stand) or a hot whirlpool bath will help a lot, if it's tendonitis.

DO NOT play through pain. If it starts hurting, stop playing. You can damge your hands badly if you ignore the symptoms.

Always remember that you�re unique. Just like everyone else.

 

 

 

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I have heard of some guitarists seriously damaging their hands, and remember Robben Ford used magnets for a while, dealing with carpal tunnel.

 

It leads me to wonder how guys like Paco, John and Al who obviously put in many hours to play at that speed did so without damaging themselves. I assume they learned when to warm up, take breaks, etc. but there may be more to it than that. Any input?

 

I am working on getting my mandolin playing up to tempo, so it's relevant to me. But I'm not putting in ten hours a day on technically demanding music or anything - or trying to be the Al Di Meola of the mando!

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Look at it this way-you wouldn`t play a sports game, or run in a marathon, or have a wrestling match, without a thorough warmup, ya? do your hands the same favor and I would even say, a thorough full body warmup before playing is even better-you hands are connected to the rest of you. Emphasize your hands but stretch everything. You`ll be more relaxed and play better.

Same old surprises, brand new cliches-

 

Skipsounds on Soundclick:

www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandid=602491

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