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#1
Ive been playing guitar for 5 years and in that time I have learned a lot. Ive had a teacher for three of those years but the past two years I have barely been able to practice guitar due to something being wrong with my wrist.

Two years ago I went to the doctors, and they have tried everything. Nothing has worked, although my wrist is better, it hasnt fully recovered and I have been told it never will, and in short: I have to just deal with the discomfort and pain.

Now, the doctor and I assumed that my technique was what was causing this problem. I went to my teacher and said "Look, my wrist obviously damanged, now what can you reccomend I do?" His answer was that my technique was fine and that everything would be okay. I stopped going to him because he did not offer me any advice and was unwilling to go over my technique. He isnt a bad teacher, but it was obvious he was clueless about my technique. His philosophy was play in a way that makes you comfortable for rock and roll, but when I was learning classical he was a technique nazi and would correct even the smallest deviation. But he refused to do this for my electric guitar technique.

(When I mean technique I mean the way I hold the neck, fret and play in general regarding my left hand).

I dont know what to do to be honest. My left wrist is totally fucked and the doctors do not know whats wrong with it. They wont operate as they have deemed it a futile effort. Ive tried correcting my technique, but every movement on the guitar is highly uncomfortable now and I cannot sit down and practice for anything more than 15 minutes before fatigue and pain sets in even when I am 100% totally relaxed and playing at very low speeds.

Freepowers articles have served as an excellent tool for technique correction, even though I havent needed to go through all of them, I did anyway.

What advice can anyone give me? This whole situation is very disheartening because I either give up the guitar completelty because I cannot play it, or I can keep trying to correct technique that my teacher is unwilling to even look at.

Help :S
Sat in a lab, curing diseases. They actually LET me play with chemicals!
#2
Ah... A sad case indeed. Although it may sound strange, my dad uses a herbal remedy his knees that seems to work. He soaks rasins in whiskey, then eats a handfull for breakfast.

Other than that, I'm not experienced to correct your technique.
Rip Kylee Harris 4.13.93-11.28.08
Quote by Capt_Clarkson
tell him that he is the drummer and that his opinions are invalid

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#4
Quote by thementor
Ah... A sad case indeed. Although it may sound strange, my dad uses a herbal remedy his knees that seems to work. He soaks rasins in whiskey, then eats a handfull for breakfast.

Other than that, I'm not experienced to correct your technique.

haha thats great..
does it hurt when you take painkillers? I broke my left wrist and cant fully turn it over to the left, so i cant play a straight classical/jazz technique, since no matter what my wrist is angled
It also can get quite painful at some points but nothin like urs seems to be ( i can play a full 3 hr show, and just have soreness), try heating it before, stretching it..and dont blame your teacher cause you should adjust ur technique to make it comfortable for ur wrist even if it will hinder u from play like petrucci one day...dont try to copy other techniques, just do your own for ur situation
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#5
Quote by pablo_arg
Start playing drums.


Grow up?
Rip Kylee Harris 4.13.93-11.28.08
Quote by Capt_Clarkson
tell him that he is the drummer and that his opinions are invalid

Quote by Jim Harkins
I want to die peacefully in my sleep like my grandfather. Not screaming in terror like his passengers.

#6
Is it Mental or Physical?

I mean surely Doctors can find out if a muscle or nerve is getting spraint around a bone or something, or maybe you have to much bone?

It's kinda weird.

If you can, show us a vid of ur playing so we can see ur posture "in action".

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#7
I'm glad to hear my articles helped, and I could possibly offer a word of encouragement -

Shawn Lane had terrible problems with his hands and came pretty close to quitting guitar entirely. Although he was always in pain when he played, he found that a guitar with extremely light strings (.008s) and extremely low action (his signature model has an action of .7mm at the 12th fret high E) it was pretty bearable.

Another thing to avoid would be bends and vibrato - try using subtle whammy vibrato instead. Bending strings is probably the single toughest thing to do on guitar from a physical standpoint.

I would certainly restring your guitar as light as possible and see if that helps.

Also, bear in mind I'm not a doctor and in some cases technique isn't actually the problem at all - I can only try to maximize what you can get out of what you have, and I don't know what you have.
#8
Quote by xxdarrenxx
Is it Mental or Physical?

I mean surely Doctors can find out if a muscle or nerve is getting spraint around a bone or something, or maybe you have to much bone?

It's kinda weird.

If you can, show us a vid of ur playing so we can see ur posture "in action".


Its a physical ailment. Nerve conduction studies showed nothing, x rays showed nothing, CT scam showed some ligament damage, and the cortisone injection didnt help much... So the doctor doesnt want to put me in for an op on the wrist because it seems to be something that cant be fixed... He likened it to a sports person having a back injury that cant be operated on because its not actually something that can be fixed.

Quote by Freepower
I'm glad to hear my articles helped, and I could possibly offer a word of encouragement -

Shawn Lane had terrible problems with his hands and came pretty close to quitting guitar entirely. Although he was always in pain when he played, he found that a guitar with extremely light strings (.008s) and extremely low action (his signature model has an action of .7mm at the 12th fret high E) it was pretty bearable.

Another thing to avoid would be bends and vibrato - try using subtle whammy vibrato instead. Bending strings is probably the single toughest thing to do on guitar from a physical standpoint.

I would certainly restring your guitar as light as possible and see if that helps.

Also, bear in mind I'm not a doctor and in some cases technique isn't actually the problem at all - I can only try to maximize what you can get out of what you have, and I don't know what you have.


Ah thank you for that post I shall try out what you have said
Sat in a lab, curing diseases. They actually LET me play with chemicals!
Last edited by Guitardude19 at Jan 5, 2009,
#9
thementor, I think your dad's "herbal remedy" is called "liquor."

I know you may not want to resort to it, but I'd start hitting up my friends for connections for painkillers, or just straight up ask my doctor. Meperidine, Percocet, Vicodin, and even weed will work, just stay away from morphine. Find a dose that's comfortable for you, and play away. The downside is the cost, which will depend mostly on how often you want to play, the possibility of addiction if you don't use them properly, and the very rare chance of getting caught buying them illegally. I really hope you get better, or at least find a happy, medicated medium.
#11
Have you tried going to a message therapist for a second opinion? Or another doctor for a second opinion for that matter? I wouldn't give up on finding out what is up just yet.
#12
Quote by maroon5mustdie
thementor, I think your dad's "herbal remedy" is called "liquor."

I know you may not want to resort to it, but I'd start hitting up my friends for connections for painkillers, or just straight up ask my doctor. Meperidine, Percocet, Vicodin, and even weed will work, just stay away from morphine. Find a dose that's comfortable for you, and play away. The downside is the cost, which will depend mostly on how often you want to play, the possibility of addiction if you don't use them properly, and the very rare chance of getting caught buying them illegally. I really hope you get better, or at least find a happy, medicated medium.


Meh. That's what i told him. However, I discovered that the liquer is relatively gone by the time you eat them.

e.g. I ate a bowlfull one day and it gave me this warm feeling, but no buzz or hangover.
Rip Kylee Harris 4.13.93-11.28.08
Quote by Capt_Clarkson
tell him that he is the drummer and that his opinions are invalid

Quote by Jim Harkins
I want to die peacefully in my sleep like my grandfather. Not screaming in terror like his passengers.

#13
Chinese herbs
They look awful , they taste horrible , but for you wrist ... it may work (worked for me )
I'm chinese and grandma has a full closet of that stuff
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#14
Watch this post for the video I am currently uploading it.

In it I have done some shreds a few chords and sweeping and tapping to show my hand and fore arm positions. Sweeps and tapping are to me the most hand tiring techniques on guitar.

I noticed watching it back how strained my wrist looks.

Watch this post for the video I shall link it soon

Edit:

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=fq1w9lUtTf0


Sorry for the poor quality. xD I wasnt playing fast because... Well... I cant atm because of my wrist.
Sat in a lab, curing diseases. They actually LET me play with chemicals!
Last edited by Guitardude19 at Jan 5, 2009,
#15
Probably not much use, but have you tried moving your thumb down onto the back of the neck as opposed to stretching it over all the time?
#16
Quote by Silence@FullVol
Probably not much use, but have you tried moving your thumb down onto the back of the neck as opposed to stretching it over all the time?


Ive been working on that. It seems that I can keep it down at the top of the fret board but the lower I play the more the thumb creeps over. Ive been trying to prevent it but sometimes my hand hits where the guitar is cut away forcing me to adopt that annoying position.

Thanks for noticing that because I hadnt until recently.
Sat in a lab, curing diseases. They actually LET me play with chemicals!
#17
Quote by Guitardude19
Ive been working on that. It seems that I can keep it down at the top of the fret board but the lower I play the more the thumb creeps over. Ive been trying to prevent it but sometimes my hand hits where the guitar is cut away forcing me to adopt that annoying position.

Thanks for noticing that because I hadnt until recently.


Yeah, I used to do something similar when I started out, just took some getting used to to bring it back down. It may be more difficult for you however.

Saying that, some people can get away with doing it, so it was really more of an observation than anything constructive. Hope you can get this sorted out dude
#18
Quote by Silence@FullVol
Yeah, I used to do something similar when I started out, just took some getting used to to bring it back down. It may be more difficult for you however.

Saying that, some people can get away with doing it, so it was really more of an observation than anything constructive. Hope you can get this sorted out dude



Nah its cool dude I need people to point things out so I can see potential problems and such .
Sat in a lab, curing diseases. They actually LET me play with chemicals!
#19
I can give you a few pointers - first of all, get that guitar higher. Because your guitar is so low, and because you seem to have either huge hands (lucky bastard) or a tiny guitar, your finger tips can't reach the frets properly.

What's happening is that you have to curl your fingers farrrr too much for them to be fretting properly, and as such, they're constantly tense and lack flexibility. Because of this, when you need to sweep the shape is forcing you to actually rotate your whole wrist, which is not healthy! No wonder you get tired when you sweep.

Try looking at this - http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=57q5zdvMw58

Do you see how little his fingers are actually bent or curled? Notice how high his guitar is and the angle the neck is at.

What you want to do is channel the strength from the very first joint of the finger (the one connecting the finger to the palm) through to the string through your fingertip. This means a gentle curl along the finger, not a claw (which is pretty close to what you have).

Try lifting the guitar and getting your wrist nearly directly underneath the neck, with your thumb near the middle of the neck and your fingers a relaxed curl. Try that for a short while and then get back to me.
#20
Quote by Freepower
I can give you a few pointers - first of all, get that guitar higher. Because your guitar is so low, and because you seem to have either huge hands (lucky bastard) or a tiny guitar, your finger tips can't reach the frets properly.

What's happening is that you have to curl your fingers farrrr too much for them to be fretting properly, and as such, they're constantly tense and lack flexibility. Because of this, when you need to sweep the shape is forcing you to actually rotate your whole wrist, which is not healthy! No wonder you get tired when you sweep.

Try looking at this - http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=57q5zdvMw58

Do you see how little his fingers are actually bent or curled? Notice how high his guitar is and the angle the neck is at.

What you want to do is channel the strength from the very first joint of the finger (the one connecting the finger to the palm) through to the string through your fingertip. This means a gentle curl along the finger, not a claw (which is pretty close to what you have).

Try lifting the guitar and getting your wrist nearly directly underneath the neck, with your thumb near the middle of the neck and your fingers a relaxed curl. Try that for a short while and then get back to me.


I have a 27 cm hand span so my hands are rather large. I shall try what you have said Thank you dude
Sat in a lab, curing diseases. They actually LET me play with chemicals!
#21
Does it hurt to pick with your left hand? If not, switch hands. Otherwise, maybe try learning lap guitar or slide. I saw this blind guy play guitar on his lap. Maybe that position will hurt you less. Good luck.
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#22
Just a little update. I was talking to my dad about my wrist pain, and he said he suffers from the same problem, and he doesnt use his hands for anything like guitar or manual labour, so its probably something genetic that wont go away.

Adopting the new technique that Freepower explained aleviates the pain but it doesnt reduce it. Freepower, thanks for the advice, you have been a great help I am eternally greatful.
Sat in a lab, curing diseases. They actually LET me play with chemicals!
#23
I don't know if what I'm noticing is anything bad (I'm not a professional or anything). But it looks to me like your wrist is moving around too much, you twist it an awful lot and that probably doesn't help your situation.
Try and lie your lower arm on a table (palm up and elbow on the table) and make sure your wrist is straight, i.e. not bending your hand upward or anything. Seems to me for someone in your position you should be striving toward getting that kind of position when you're playing the guitar.
Good luck.

P.S. If it doesn't hurt to pick with your leftie you could always get a left handed guitar?
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#24
IKnowItsWrong suggested Chinese medicine, you might also want to try acupuncture. Or if you go for Chinese medicine you should ask for advice from a local TCM shop for the right herbs. I'm Chinese too .

Also what kind of pain is it? Muscle pain, bone pain, tingling, or a pain you can't describe where it's emitted form?
#25
Quote by Guitardude19
Just a little update. I was talking to my dad about my wrist pain, and he said he suffers from the same problem, and he doesnt use his hands for anything like guitar or manual labour, so its probably something genetic that wont go away.

Adopting the new technique that Freepower explained aleviates the pain but it doesnt reduce it. Freepower, thanks for the advice, you have been a great help I am eternally greatful.


Just glad to be able to keep someone playing.

Be careful on the "genetic" front - whether it is or not there may still be a medical solution and if it gets worse talk to your doctors again.
#26
Quote by Freepower
Just glad to be able to keep someone playing.

Be careful on the "genetic" front - whether it is or not there may still be a medical solution and if it gets worse talk to your doctors again.


Will do dude. Youve been a great help.
Sat in a lab, curing diseases. They actually LET me play with chemicals!
#27
i was getting pain in my wrist from a bad tech. a year or so ago. i corrected my posture and started keeping my left hand wrist straight as possible. it seems like if your wrist doesnt hurt when ur playing guitar..maybe theres some way u can play that it doesnt hurt like just keeping your wrist straight..it might be easyer for you to play your guitar with it standing straight up.

prolly wouldnt wana make any chords. just focus on what doesnt make your wrist hurt
#28
Quote by woodenbandman
Does it hurt to pick with your left hand? If not, switch hands. Otherwise, maybe try learning lap guitar or slide. I saw this blind guy play guitar on his lap. Maybe that position will hurt you less. Good luck.



That's what I was thinking.

Try playing left-handed, or put it in your lap like Jeff Healey.

You'll pretty much have to learn everything again, but at least you'll be able to play.
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#29
Well I dont know what their is to fix your wrist, But You can always grab a bottle of Aleve, Pop 2-3 of those bad boys and hope for the best?
#30
Yeah, try playing left handed. Then, if you get famous and awesome, people will be like "z0mg, that's the guy who had to teach himself all over again left handed!"

Or, if you don't get famous, you'll still be able to play without further possible damage to your body. Win-win situation!
#32
Quote by Life Is Brutal
What arpeggio is that at 28 to 38 in the Vid, along with the one at 1:09? And what was that tapping bit?


Sweeping was Am sweep pattern:


|-------------------------12--17--12------------------------------|
|-------------------13------------------13-------------------------|
|--------------14----------------------------14--------------------|
|----------14-------------------------------------14---------------|
|-12--15----------------------------------------------15---12----|
|---------------------------------------------------------------------|


The sweep at 1:09 was an Am sweep tapped at fret 20 with right hand as such:

 
                                    T
|---------------12---17---20---17---12--|
|----------13--------------------------------|
|-----14-------------------------------------|
|----------------------------------------------|
|----------------------------------------------|
|----------------------------------------------|


The tapping part was the chords Am E Am D F Am E Am E tapped thus:


|-----------------|
|--t17p13p10-|
|-----------------|
|-----------------|
|-----------------|
|-----------------|   8 times




|-----------------|
|--t17p12p9--|
|-----------------|
|-----------------|
|-----------------|
|-----------------|   8 times




|-----------------|
|--t17p12p10-|
|-----------------|
|-----------------|
|-----------------|
|-----------------|   8 times




|--t17p13p10-|
|-----------------|
|-----------------|
|-----------------|
|-----------------|
|-----------------|   8 times



|--t17p13p8--|
|-----------------|
|-----------------|
|-----------------|
|-----------------|
|-----------------|   8 times



|-----------------|
|--t17p13p10-|
|-----------------|
|-----------------|
|-----------------|
|-----------------|   8 times




|-----------------|
|--t17p12p9--|
|-----------------|
|-----------------|
|-----------------|
|-----------------|   8 times
Sat in a lab, curing diseases. They actually LET me play with chemicals!
#34
Find a new doctor. No one deserves to be in pain and i highly doubt that there is nothing that can be done.
Trust me there is a solution. Find a new doctor, or see a physiotherapist (they will know whats wrong).
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#35
You can always get more than one second opinion, trust me. What i would do in this situation:

First of all, it may not be ANYTHING to do with your technique at all. If you're guitar teacher knew anything, he knew technique. What i'm thinking you're problem is, is that either through playing you have developed severe carpal tunnel, or that you are not sitting/standing up straight as you play.
1. I would seek out a doctor specializing in orthopedics.
2. Double check your posture, start out in good posture play for awhile, and then randomly stop in a mirror to check how you are sitting/standing because your wrist pain could very well be coming from your back.
3. Try taking naproxen a.k.a Aleve.
4. This one sounds lousy but i'm about to begin studying medicine and i play guitar... lol. If you are playing for a long period of time and then it begins to hurt, try getting a stress ball or something to squeeze throughout the day in order to strengthen your wrist. If the pain gets bad and your doctor hasn't already told you this, remember: PRICE- Protect(splint/ace bandage) Rest(maybe a sling) Isolate(again splint or ace bandage) Compress and Elevate.
#36
- Also, after reading the comment about your father, i wanted to add that Carpal Tunnel can run in a family, as you can adopt similar physical traits of your parents.
I'm almost certain that even if your first doctor said it isn't carpal tunnel, it is lol.
#37
If it was me I would try to get a guitar with a way heavier body or add some weight to it so the neck goes up and you can easily play straight as the others said.
#39
Quote by slayerfrk
haha loser, this is gods way of saying drop the guitar, take up bass. cause bass is for losers like j00


Wtf Man...


Anyway, OP. Have you tried going to a physiotherapist?

They know a hell of a lot more about muscles and nerves and stuff than Doctors do, and they might be able to give you a hand with it? Also, some of that crazy stuff like acupuncture actually does work, somehow

Hope you can solve it, wrist pain is a pain in the ass, pun not intended.
#40
Quote by slayerfrk
haha loser, this is gods way of saying drop the guitar, take up bass. cause bass is for losers like j00


Reported

edit: ts I think you should try picking up classical guitar again for a bit and try to transfer your technique over to electric. I've had rsi problems due to the same technique you're using for your left hand. I went to a phisiotherapist and that helped me quite a bit. Also pain in your hand is something that can be helped by improving the flow of blood through the arm.

Start lifting weights, they will not only help you avoid rsi like problems(wich could very well be the case) due to changing from small movements(your fingers) to big movements(your arms). But it will also improve the flow of blood due to the improvement of musclemass in your arm. I'll post more when I think of it.
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Last edited by FretboardToAsh at Jan 21, 2009,
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