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Old 11-16-2012, 12:36 PM   #1
Zerath
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How to get rid of the tension when playing?

Hi, I've been playing guitars for some 6 years now, completely selftaught, and I have a problem. When I play songs with my band that has a lot of dark power chords on the neck I get really tired in my wrist and in the palm of my hand.

How do I get rid of this tension?
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Old 11-16-2012, 12:50 PM   #2
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There may be a couple of things going on here, to really know what's going on I need to know where exactly in the palm you're getting tired quickly.

Just as a preliminary assessment though, you're probably using way too much force to fret with and you may have problems with your posture, affecting the angle of your wrist. It's also quite possible that you're using your thumb to generate too much of the power for fretting; you should be aiming to use your fingers to push against the fretboard rather than pushing your thumb in to the back of the neck.
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Old 11-16-2012, 12:59 PM   #3
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another thing that may come into play is wrist angle, maybe adjust the angle you hold the guitar at
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Old 11-16-2012, 01:09 PM   #4
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Don't have my electric by me atm so I'll post a pic with the acoustic.
show
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Old 11-16-2012, 01:34 PM   #5
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Your wrist angle looks alright but you definitely need to adjust your thumb, it should be pointing upwards, more parallel to the frets. Imagine you're picking something up with your thumb and middle finger, that should be the kind of position your fingers are in... only with a guitar neck in the middle

This may mean you need to adjust your posture a little so your wrist is still at a good angle. This should only really change when bending and playing certain very specific chords.
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Old 11-16-2012, 01:36 PM   #6
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Standing can often be different from sitting, try to analyze if anything is different, relax your hands consciously, soon it will be second nature.
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Old 11-16-2012, 01:38 PM   #7
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by changing your technique. simple as that. the reason you have tension in the first place is because your technique, for some reason or another, is poor.

take zaphod's suggestions to start, and see how that works for you.
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Old 11-16-2012, 01:40 PM   #8
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Also obviously make sure your guitar is setup well, lighter gauge strings, lower action, less relief can all help.
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Old 11-16-2012, 01:58 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Your wrist angle looks alright but you definitely need to adjust your thumb, it should be pointing upwards, more parallel to the frets. Imagine you're picking something up with your thumb and middle finger, that should be the kind of position your fingers are in... only with a guitar neck in the middle

This may mean you need to adjust your posture a little so your wrist is still at a good angle. This should only really change when bending and playing certain very specific chords.


The thing you said about the thumb sounds logical. I just hope you don't mean like this:

show


This way I hope is more correct:
show
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Old 11-16-2012, 02:01 PM   #10
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Definitely the second pic is close to correct.
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Old 11-16-2012, 02:24 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by J_W
Definitely the second pic is close to correct.


Agreed, it's definitely better although I would say you should probably have your thumb pad against the neck and your index finger a little lower against the fretboard, it shouldn't really be hanging over the top like that.

Better, still needs improvement though, and remember: you don't need to use that much force to fret with and you shouldn't use any more than absolutely necessary.
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Old 11-16-2012, 02:25 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zaphod_Beeblebr
you definitely need to adjust your thumb, it should be pointing upwards, more parallel to the frets. Imagine you're picking something up with your thumb and middle finger, that should be the kind of position your fingers are in...

i play with my thumb pointing up the neck towards the head of the guitar and NEVER have wrist/palm pains, and much like TS i too am 'self taught'

edit: though much like the dude over there <- (John Mayer) i often use my thumb on the A and E strings but when not doing that, i'm doing as above, pointing it towards the head of the guitar

Last edited by Dempsey68 : 11-16-2012 at 02:27 PM.
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Old 11-16-2012, 02:29 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dempsey68
i play with my thumb pointing up the neck towards the head of the guitar and NEVER have wrist/palm pains, and much like TS i too am 'self taught'


1 - Just because it hasn't caused issues doesn't mean it's fine.
2 - I'm also self-taught, the amount of free information out there right now that's no excuse.
3 - You should change your technique as well.
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Old 11-16-2012, 02:37 PM   #14
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Like your thumb gets sore, or actually your wrist? I've never had wrist trouble from power chord, but my thumb will get tired sometimes if I'm either moving around a lot or picking individual strings. If its your wrist its probably a posture thing. I trouble with that last year. Slouching and hanging your head down can give you a lot of trouble with your hands actually.

Does it just hurt sometimes during a song, like you could shake it out and keep going, or does it continue to be a problem for an extended period of time?
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Old 11-16-2012, 08:05 PM   #15
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Just don't play the 9s, 11s and 13s.
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Old 11-18-2012, 03:04 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danjo's Guitar
Like your thumb gets sore, or actually your wrist? I've never had wrist trouble from power chord, but my thumb will get tired sometimes if I'm either moving around a lot or picking individual strings. If its your wrist its probably a posture thing. I trouble with that last year. Slouching and hanging your head down can give you a lot of trouble with your hands actually.

Does it just hurt sometimes during a song, like you could shake it out and keep going, or does it continue to be a problem for an extended period of time?


I get fatigued when playing some songs, not in the thumb though. The tiredness is mostly occuring in the area near the thumb's palm, so pretty centered in the hand.
It doesn't help too well when I shake it loose.
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Old 11-18-2012, 03:40 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zerath
I get fatigued when playing some songs, not in the thumb though. The tiredness is mostly occuring in the area near the thumb's palm, so pretty centered in the hand.
It doesn't help too well when I shake it loose.

That's from using too much pressure and using your thumb to apply said pressure. The force needed to fret the strings should come from your fingers. The thumb is only there to support the neck.
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