DjangoBooks.com

Arm pain on ... my Tele?

I bought a Mexican Telecaster a couple months ago so I could shut the door, plug in headphones and play late night/early morning without waking up my wife. And I've come to enjoy it. But!
I've only been playing guitar for a couple years, and almost all of it on an oval hole. I'm not a good picker by any stretch but, on my GJ guitar I'm relaxing my wrist and finally fitting in to a posture that has me picking behind the oval hole and well, wrist or arm pain is pretty rare.
Yet on the Tele, I'm getting regular elbow pain.
I am picking more lightly on the Tele, and trying to pick more lightly still. And I'm trying to rest my wrist/palm on the guitar more, since I can't slab my arm on the body like I can on the gyspy guitar.
I assume most folks on this forum have already played electric for a long time, but this is my first electric, so in that respect I'm sort of coming at the problem backwards. Anyway, if anyone has experience with this problem, any thoughts or suggestions would be much appreciated.
«1

Comments

  • nomadgtrnomadgtr Colorado Bumgarner Corazon
    Posts: 67
    I'm guessing based upon how you describe your wrist position that rather than have your hand curved in as it does when floating in the GJ style, you are somewhat the inverse of that and pulling your hand away from the strings to provide enough clearance to pick in an articulate manner. This locked down position can often force you into a completely different style that makes you use your fingers more and your wrist less. You can get a mild version of tennis elbow as a result. Close your eyes when you play and focus on where you feel the most muscle exertion. Once you can feel the exertion vs where the pain eminates from you can focus on a solution. My guess is you're locking your wrist down too hard when you've been accustomed to floating up until now so it's a strain. Watch some videos of Jimi Hendrix and see how natural and fluid he was. Very relaxed yet fierce, articulate and flowery when required. You'll notice he doesn't lock down his wrist.
    Buco
  • jonpowljonpowl Santa Cruz, CA✭✭✭ Dupont MD-100, Cigano GJ-10
    Posts: 540
    An old tennis veteran trick is to soak your elbow in ice water for 10-15 minutes a couple of times a day, avoiding frostbite. I usually like to have a couple of Coronas or other suitable beers immersed in the ice water, as well. Of course, this only helps after the injury.
    nomadgtr
  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 2,704
    Which part of the elbow exactly?
  • Posts: 14
    nomadgtr wrote: »
    I'm guessing based upon how you describe your wrist position that rather than have your hand curved in as it does when floating in the GJ style, you are somewhat the inverse of that and pulling your hand away from the strings to provide enough clearance to pick in an articulate manner. This locked down position can often force you into a completely different style that makes you use your fingers more and your wrist less. You can get a mild version of tennis elbow as a result. Close your eyes when you play and focus on where you feel the most muscle exertion. Once you can feel the exertion vs where the pain eminates from you can focus on a solution. My guess is you're locking your wrist down too hard when you've been accustomed to floating up until now so it's a strain. Watch some videos of Jimi Hendrix and see how natural and fluid he was. Very relaxed yet fierce, articulate and flowery when required. You'll notice he doesn't lock down his wrist.

    After comparing wrist position and feel on both guitars, the "locked down/using fingers more" diagnosis is looking mighty plausible. I also closed my eyes and played the Tele as I have been, and could feel both the exertion and strain near my elbow. Then I tried letting my wrist relax more, and I think I can notice less tension. Thanks, good stuff to work on. And I'll watch some Hendrix.
    Bones wrote: »
    Which part of the elbow exactly?

    Egad. This has got to be the most convoluted way to explain this ...
    Extend right arm palm up, reach under with left thumb and index finger just a bit on the shoulder side of the elbow, thumb even touching the bone a bit, and sqeeze - that'd hit the spot.

    Buco
  • AppelAppel ✭✭✭
    edited January 2016 Posts: 78
    @Double Scotch : I feel your pain.

    (hmm ... I wonder why I can't make the "@" catch your whole user name?)

    Wrist position is important, and you've got some great advice on that already. Another consideration is the support for the upper arm that a Maccaferri-style guitar gives us. Which is great, just one more thing to love about these wonderful guitars. With a Tele, or any small, flat solid-body guitar, that upper-arm support is gone gone gone. And then, to keep your hand in any kind of picking position, your forearm becomes the anchor. This presses on the muscles in the forearm, even if only a little bit, and that's not a very good thing. Though the Hendrix advice is interesting, and worth looking at.

    ... I wonder how many of the readers and members of this forum are familiar with playing electric solid-body guitars? Everyone who has posted in here so far obviously does, and I certainly do ... but I just wonder! More and more I wonder, have the majority of players in here primarily experienced with acoustics and have side-stepped the electric? It is an interesting and kind of exciting question. I kind of envy those players who've dedicated themselves to playing acoustic guitars from early on ...

    But anyway, on to your practicing. A Tele is a great choice for all kinds of reasons but I worry that it might be a rotten practice guitar if you are working on stuff rooted in Django and you are exploring Gypsy picking. I am no expert by any stretch but it sure seems to me, as I transition my own technique away from electrics and very happily onto acoustic Selmacs that that picking forearm needs to be free and loose. Which can be done on an electric, but ... it's different. The movements are small, and can even be concentrated down into movements within the index finger and thumb (lots of great videos of Roy Buchanan show this kind of picking - some call it "circle picking", a terribly misleading name.) But for acoustics, the strokes seem to me to be broader, and the upper arm and even the shoulder has to be flexible and a little bit loose but well grounded, and set up so that when a little more tension is established through the muscles for more difficult passages, the bones are all well-supported so nothing gets abraded or torn. It's just really different. I wonder, as your elbow is getting sore, are you getting bad knots in your shoulders as well?

    If you need to keep the Tele, you could try putting a cushion between the guitar and your torso, to hold it out a bit, and maybe put a cushion or a folded towel or blanket between your lap and the guitar, to get it closer to the playing position you'll be in when you are playing your acoustic.
  • AppelAppel ✭✭✭
    Posts: 78
    Here's another thought. I used to play a Les Paul a lot - this was some years before I got my first Selmac, but was searching for ways to improve - was tired of standing to practice, didn't like the sitting position ... so I cut and glued together a bunch of pieces of wood into a block (roughly about 18" high, about 6" thick and about 10" wide) that was Les Paul-shaped in the front, to hold the back and lower bout of the guitar - glued some leather scraps to that side to protect the finish - and carved out the bottom and back of the block to fit my lap and to hold the guitar out from my body. I balanced it so no strap was necessary ... it was great!

    For me, the Les Paul is long gone, and I've skimped and saved and managed to order one of AJL's quiet and portable guitars. The scale is right, the size (and therefore the body position) is right - no one else is making a suitable practice instrument for us, not yet. I don't know why it isn't an incredibly common thing - I deeply resent the absence of good practice and travel guitars, what's wrong with all you builders out there??? - maybe all the other guitar builders don't have relationships with other human beings that require proper respect, and therefore don't understand the player's need for practice that is both quiet and proper - but AJL's design is definitely sensitive to that need and is absolutely ahead of the curve. It is a commitment, no question.

    Think about maybe trying the cushions with the Tele in the meantime, maybe making a "practice block" ... and good luck, man, I hope you sort it out.
  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 2,704
    Not sure from your description of the location. If it is tendonitis of the elbow it could be Tennis Elbow (outside of elbow) or Golfers Elbow (inside of elbow). I have some golfers elbow and tennis elbow but nothing to do with playing guitar (yard work) and doesn't matter too much when playing guitar so not sure what your issue is. I'd probably see your doctor about it if it is chronic especially if you are in any of the rest of the industrialized world that has paid for health care. If ur in the US you'll have to decide if it is worth the money it will cost you to get it looked at. I'm in the US and believe it or not I've had pretty good luck self diagnosing (and sometimes self treating) tendonitis issues just looking around on the Youtubes and the Interwebs but I am NOT advocating that approach (we also have lawyers here in the US). good luck and let us know if you figure it out.
  • Posts: 14
    Bones wrote: »
    If ur in the US you'll have to decide if it is worth the money it will cost you to get it looked at.

    Ha. It would have to be orders of magnitude more severe for me to even remotely consider seeking a medical-industrial solution.

  • musicians health .com has some great stuff about tendinitis and ways to alleviate or eliminate it
    pickitjohnDaveyc
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 2,704
    Hey DS, yeah but I only threw out the doctor option if it is chronic and a real problem. I'm not advocating self-diagnosis either though (or remote diagnosis over the internet forum). I understand health care is expensive and hard to get here in the US (read: lame) but you also don't want to do any real damage. Good luck and let us know if you figure it out.
Sign In or Register to comment.
Home  |  Forum  |  Blog  |  Contact  |  206-528-9873
Follow Us
The Premier Gypsy Jazz Marketplace
DjangoBooks.com
Search
Banner Adverts
Sell Your Guitar
Follow Us
© 2019 DjangoBooks.com, all rights reserved worldwide.
Software: Kryptronic eCommerce, Copyright 1999-2019 Kryptronic, Inc. Exec Time: 0.044214 Seconds Memory Usage: 3.446114 Megabytes
Kryptronic