Right Shoulder Problems, anyone?



  • Colin PerryColin Perry Montreal, QCNew
    Posts: 115
    Isn't Wes Mongomery's L-5 bigger than a gypsy guitar?
  • dennisdennis Montreal, QuebecModerator
    Posts: 2,161
    titi, i don't know which gypsy guitar players you've been watching, but for the ones i know, the shoulders are all relaxed and at a very normal positiion, comfortably nested at the corner of the guitar's body

    the archtops i've played are also generally larger than gypsy guitars
  • TitiTiti New
    Posts: 9
    Hi Dennis,

    I've really appreciated your Stochelo videos and various transcriptions on the web......thanks!

    I actually cannot find a photo where a gypsy guitarist doesn't have his right arm an inch or 2 higher than his other shoulder.
    It's the nature of sitting down while playing the guitar.
    Look at the cover of Angelo's Gypsy Guitars + Romane's Impair and Valse, (these are the first 2 Cds I picked up, yes I know Romane isn't a gypsy etc)
    ........actually, almost every picture of anyone.
    Here's a photo of Stochelo: ... g=EN&Tri=0

    Those guys may not injure themselves because they are so relaxed, but the rest of us could and that's all I was pointing out.
    Watch the amount of tension in your shoulder and neck or you could spend a lot of time unlearning bad habits.

    Yes, of course, archtops are just as large to reach around, I was just pointing out that you never see a photo of Wes or Pass looking hunched over their instrument.
  • jfb3jfb3 Tucson, ArizonaNew
    Posts: 2
    I also had shoulder pain. I ended up seeing a physical therapist who prescribed exercises using a "theraband" to strengthen the rotator cuff. The pain went away over a short period of time. The therapist told me that rotator cuff problems, which affect musicians as well as others engaged in athletic activity involving repetitive motion, respond well to exercise.

    The exercises are easy to do. The main problem is being disciplined enough to do them, particularly once the problem starts going away. I would recommend physical therapy and discipline long before going to cortisone shots, surgery, and the like.

  • pallopennapallopenna Rhode IslandNew
    Posts: 245
    I would STRONGLY recommend that you see a physical therapist. It's fascinating to self-diagnose, but probably ineffective at best, and quite possibly harmful. In spite of all of the claims that this style is relaxed etc. and that therefore if you're hurting that you're doing something wrong, this might not be the case. You don't know without some sort of actual diagnosis what is cause and what is effect. If you have bursitis, arthritis, or a torn rotator cuff, it won't matter what you do when you're playing until you start addressing the root problem. I have all three of these conditions (sports induced, I'm pretty sure) and the best I can hope for (short of surgery for the rotator cuff) is to be dilligent with phsyical therapy exercises -- see jfb3's post before mine -- that I can mitigate the pain. And actually, it helps quite a bit.

    Reject the null hypothesis.
  • PhilPhil Portland, ORModerator Anastasio
    Posts: 772
    Looks like an MRI of the shoulder is in order here.
    Then depending on the impression, referral to an orthopedic surgeon might be medically necesessary for consideration of a rotator cuff repair with acriomioplasty, followed by 3 months of physical therapy and then a work hardening program geered specifically towards guitar playing so that you can then build up to speed , to meet the essential functions of your job as a gypsy-jazz guitar player.
    If at the end of all this you still can't play gypsy jazz guitar, then I will refer you for a vocational assessment and see if we can find you employable as a folk guitarist! :lol::lol::lol:
  • jfb3jfb3 Tucson, ArizonaNew
    Posts: 2
    I had considerable soreness in the right shoulder and frequently a "knot" inside the right shoulder blade.

    I saw an orthopedic surgeon, who diagnosed the problem as rotator cuff inflammation and related tendinitis. He referred me to a physical therapist, who recommended a program of rotator cuff exercises. I declined the orthopod's offer of a cortisone shot.

    The exercises used a "theraband" elastic, stretching and moving against light resistance in various positions, 3 sets each of 10 repetitions. I did the exercises religiously and the shoulder pain essentially went away. It occasionally comes back when I don't do the exercises 3-4 times per week, which I do along with my other workouts.
  • mitch251mitch251 marylandNew
    Posts: 70
    Hi! I been working with the Gypsy Picking book for about a month and last week I started feeling discomfort on my right shoulder too

    Uh oh!!!! Michael do you have malpractice insurance?

  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 6,154
    I guess I need to print a "use at your own risk" disclaimer on the book!

    When done correctly, Gypsy picking is actually much healthier then most other forms of picking. The loose wrist and reliance on gravity really keeps you from straining yourself too much.

  • aceace Buffalo, NY✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 78
    Hey Bribas,
    What was the result of your problem? Were you able to fix it with all of these suggestions? I have been playing this style for about two years, and suddenly last week started feeling pretty debilitating pain in the right shoulder, wrist, and arm. Not playing is not an option as I've got 20 dates on the calendar over the next 30 days, but I'm headed to get an MRI and start physical therapy today. Was everyone else successfull after their excersice, relaxation, and streching regiment? Any help or suggestions would be more than apperciated.
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