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  • Chicago 8:51AM

Pain due to inadequate guitar or wrong technique?

Well, I've been playing for (more or less) 4 months already, I come from a Classical/BossaNova Background, therefore I had never used a pick before getting into this style, so I'm getting used to a whole new way of playing, I went through "Gypsy picking" by Michael Horowitz to improve my technique.

But lately, after I finish playing any piece, my right wrist hurts when move my hand out of the "Bent wrist" position used to play this style, and I wanted to address this issue before it gets into a bigger problem.

Is it normal? I mean, in classical guitar I was taught that if it hurts, then something is wrong, I assume this applies to every technique, so I guess I'm doing something wrong.

I was told by the only guy I know who plays gypsy jazz in the city I live that once I get one of those guitars I'll notice the relation between the gypsy picking technique and the bridge position with the strings.

But I don't own a gypsy jazz guitar yet, and they are not sold in my country, I asked a local Luthier to make one for me, so by now I'm playing with a Classical Nylon stringed guitar, really low action, so I'm deducting that I'm having to bend further my wrist unconsciously in order to reach the strings, and that causes unnecessary tension.

So would it be the guitar or is it technique? What can I do? Has someone experienced this? What should I focus on?
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Comments

  • dennisdennis Montreal, QuebecModerator
    Really can't give any advice without seeing you play! As far as the bent wrist is concerned, it doesn't necessarily have to be really bent. If you extend your arm straight forward, and let your wrist completely relax and fall, that should be a good starting point for wrist angle.

    Like I said, without seeing what you are actually doing, it's extremely difficult to give any kind of adequate advice
    Papablo_CP
  • dennis wrote: »
    Really can't give any advice without seeing you play! As far as the bent wrist is concerned, it doesn't necessarily have to be really bent.

    Thank you for your answer.
    So would you recommend me to record a video and post it here?
    Also, do you discard the possibility that this due the guitar?
  • edited October 15
    Are you even sure it's directly related to your guitar playing?
    I've been waking up with a slight discomfort in the right wrist recently and I've been at it for a while playing this style so I'm sure it's not guitar related.
    It could be that you're pushing your wrist too far. While this is just a layman's observation, I don't think a discomfort is an issue. If you start pushing any part of your body into a position it's not used to be in, it's going to resist. Pain is not good though so it's important thing is to know your body and back off when it's giving you signals to do so.
    It's like Dennis said.
    If you look at the best of the best in this genre, the degrees of how much they angle their wrists vary a lot. Some are really broken and some are nearly flat. It depends on the anatomy of your hand, where on the guitar you rest the arm, how close to the soundhole the hand is, things like that.
    There are some YouTube videos that describe this but basically, hold the guitar how you normally do, place the arm in the regular position, hold the pick as if you're about to strum the chord, let the wrist drop on it's own weight and relax the hand.
    Now, usually it's said that this wrist position should be your picking position.
    For me that would be too uncomfortable.
    I'd say, from that relaxed hand position start lifting the hand and decide where it's most comfortable.
    Definitely avoid doing what's causing pain, but it takes longer than 4 months to become comfortable picking in this style. Having never used the pick before is probably advantage though. It would take much longer to undo one habit and then start forming a new one. So you could say you're 50% further ahead than many others when starting to play this style.
    I highly doubt the guitar itself could be the cause.
    Papablo_CP
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • Buco wrote: »
    Are you even sure it's directly related to your guitar playing?

    Yes, as I said I only feel it when I stop playing for a while and stretch my wrist out of bent wrist position, like when you have been on your bed, and your neck is in a weird position, when you stand up, it hurts but then it does away, though sometimes you feel fatigue when doing some movements.
    Buco wrote: »
    There are some YouTube videos that describe this but basically, hold the guitar how you normally do, place the arm in the regular position, hold the pick as if you're about to strum the chord, let the wrist drop on it's own weight and relax the hand.
    Now, usually it's said that this wrist position should be your picking position.
    .

    That's exactly what I do, I feel.comfortable when playing, there's nothing wrong with the I seat, Straight back, shoulders relaxed, I place my right foot on the left kneel to raise up my right leg, so the guitar is leaning towards my chest and not me leaning over the guitar, though I'll start focusing on playing as relaxed as possible, I'll see if that helps, otherwise I might assume it's just fatigue on my wrist because of staying longs periods of time on the same position.

    Buco wrote: »
    usually it's said that this wrist position should be your picking position.
    For me that would be too uncomfortable.
    I'd say, from that relaxed hand position start lifting the hand and decide where it's most comfortable

    I honestly didn't understand that quite well, you mean opening up the angle of my wrist or raising my arm?

    Thanks for your anwaser mate ☺ And yeah, now I find it hard to play alternative picking, which I recently realize that was the most used technique, so I might just use a pick using Gypsy picking all the time, I feel it's just better and natural, but this thing is bogging me down u.u
  • BonesBones Moderator
    Can u post some pictures of your right arm position?
  • edited October 16
    I honestly didn't understand that quite well, you mean opening up the angle of my wrist or raising my arm?

    Opening the angle. In my own case too much of a break angle in the wrist is too uncomfortable and awkward.
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • NylonDaveNylonDave ✭✭✭
    It is a mistake to try and blame the guitar or hand position.

    Playing through tension is what causes pain.

    Some people grind their teeth and don't know till their dentist tells them.

    Most guitarist hold the plectrum too hard and stiffen their whole body with it. It is quite a voyage of discovery to learn to be once again sensitive to undue tension. Very few people make that voyage which is why there is so much misinformation around. The internet is democratic, the correct answer is not.

    Try and play in front of a mirror and you will notice how your whole body hunches as you play. If you can accept this that is a good start.

    I don't need to see a picture, the cause is the same IN EVERY CASE. It is the player and a practiced insensitivity to tension.

    Practice in front of a mirror. Warm up slowly and take frequent breaks to assess where you are stiffening in your body.

    Good luck.

    D.
  • dennisdennis Montreal, QuebecModerator
    NylonDave wrote: »

    I don't need to see a picture, the cause is the same IN EVERY CASE. It is the player and a practiced insensitivity to tension.


    not a picture but a video. You are correct that people should be able to see what the problem is but many people are simply unable to notice very subtle details that affect their entire playing. Since I have people coming to stay with me and learn with me for long periods of time and for 3 years, I've learned a lot about teaching and how differently every one learns.

    Sometimes I've pointed out very subtle things that the students themselves would have never noticed that completely changed the way they approached the instrument.
    Papablo_CP
  • Go here http://musicianshealth.com/ and learn about the stretches and warmups that will prevent RSI. Its a complex filed and differs somewhat for each person as we are all put together slightly differently. @NylonDave is right on about tension.

    I have had my bad habits corrected by @dennis and its well worth the time and money to have a lesson with him, even online if he is set up for that.

    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • klaatuklaatu Nova ScotiaProdigy Rodrigo Shopis D'Artagnan
    NylonDave wrote: »
    Most guitarist hold the plectrum too hard and stiffen their whole body with it.

    I don't know about most guitarists, but it is true that very little tension is required in holding the pick in GJ. It is surprising how one can play forcefully with a strong attack and yet hold the pick quite lightly. Try Denis's suggestion of extending the arm and letting the hand hang loosely from a relaxed wrist, then see if you can maintain that relaxed feel when you turn into picking position.

    Benny

    http://www.swingology.ca

    "It's a great feeling to be dealing with material which is better than yourself, that you know you can never live up to."
    -- Orson Welles
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