#1
Whenever I play barre chords (even say one song live), I have this pain that is in the area between my thumb and first (pointer) finger... It's awful, and I don't know how to work on this or what could be casing it... I have tried making sure my thumb is always right behind my hand (someone told me this would help), but that did nothing really... Any suggestions? Thanks in advance for your time and help!
#2
Hey bro - that's your muscles...and they're apparently not in very good shape.

It's kinda like if your arms are weak, pick up a 45lb weight and just hold it up. Feel that burning? Same as the burning in the thumb huh.

Recommendation: Play more bar chords SLOWLY. When finger hurts REALLY bad, hold for another couple seconds then release. Stretch...get a soda... wash, rinse, repeat.

For when you dont have a guitar nearby: Keep stretching (it helps). You can always pick up one of those single handheld exercise grips...they'll help the thumb build up quickly.
#3
Quote by Slapknot

For when you dont have a guitar nearby: Keep stretching (it helps). You can always pick up one of those single handheld exercise grips...they'll help the thumb build up quickly.

ya ur hand is just weak and not in condition. dont worry...mine is the same lol. one of those hand exercisers will get your hand stronger, for sure, but i dont know how much it would help stamina.

I would do what Slapknot said. its the same as lifting weights man. you can just start benching 300 pounds. you gotta work your way up. so the same goes with your hand. when your hand is burning like hell, dont give up. fight through the burn a few more reps (or chrods) and take a rest, stretch of course, and get back to it. after a while (depending on how hard you work on it) you should be able to notice a significant difference in your hand strength and stamina

#4
Loosen your grip, the goal is not to strangle the guitar. It doesn't take a lot of force to depress guitar strings against the frets. For example, don't even touch the neck with your thumb and you can hold a chord perfectly fine. Now try not pressing your thumb into the neck so hard.

Personally, I play a lot of things with my thumb over the fret board to play the sixth string, especially with most chords so you could practice doing that.

It could also be indicative that your guitar is set up poorly, and maybe your strings are raised too high off the neck if you are required to hold them so tight. If you can poke your fingers underneath your strings, they probably need to be lowered.

Otherwise, you may just need to exercise your hands more. Some songs make for great practice to build hand strength, I used to play the riff to Dave Matthews Band - Satellite to strain my hand. It went something like this:

D-----8---6---5---3---6---
A---6---4---3-------4---3-
E-4-------------6---------


Play moderately fast and repeat many times.
#5
Quote by XahXhaX
Loosen your grip, the goal is not to strangle the guitar. It doesn't take a lot of force to depress guitar strings against the frets. For example, don't even touch the neck with your thumb and you can hold a chord perfectly fine. Now try not pressing your thumb into the neck so hard.

Personally, I play a lot of things with my thumb over the fret board to play the sixth string, especially with most chords so you could practice doing that.

It could also be indicative that your guitar is set up poorly, and maybe your strings are raised too high off the neck if you are required to hold them so tight. If you can poke your fingers underneath your strings, they probably need to be lowered.

Otherwise, you may just need to exercise your hands more. Some songs make for great practice to build hand strength, I used to play the riff to Dave Matthews Band - Satellite to strain my hand. It went something like this:

D-----8---6---5---3---6---
A---6---4---3-------4---3-
E-4-------------6---------


Play moderately fast and repeat many times.

I play with my thumb hanging over the neck as well, but it's not something I'd recommend. I only do it because I have giant hands. I never do it when playing barre chords, however. IMO, when playing those, you always wanna have your thumb there providing some pressure. Also, I imagine not using the thumb would put lots of stress on other parts of your arm/shoulder.

But yeah, when you first start playing those, you're going to experience some discomfort while you try to build muscles you've never used before... it shouldn't be painful, though. If it hurts, you're doing it wrong. Maybe you're trying to squeeze too hard (like the guy above me said)? You don't have to squeeze with a thousand pounds of pressure to make them work. It's more about making sure your hands are in the correct position.
Banging on a trash can
Drumming on a street light
Last edited by BigFatSandwich at Jan 7, 2009,
#6
Depends on the type of bar chord. I'm assuming he meant more like power chord progressions than actually holding the full chord and having all six notes ringing. If he's having a hard time with those, then the only solution is just to practice a lot. I used to hold my full bar chords followed by picking the first two strings, because those are the most difficult to depress and require the most pressure from your first finger. That's how you'll build up some tolerance to it.

I suppose the other alternatives are detuning, and playing a different gauge of strings. When I started, I preferred light gauge because somewhere between my metabolism and whatever I've never been able to really develop calouses and anything in heavy or acoustic strings would be painful. I play extra heavy now days for the type of music I do, but after years of gradually getting stronger at it they don't bother me any more.
#7
Quote by XahXhaX
Depends on the type of bar chord. I'm assuming he meant more like power chord progressions than actually holding the full chord and having all six notes ringing. If he's having a hard time with those, then the only solution is just to practice a lot. I used to hold my full bar chords followed by picking the first two strings, because those are the most difficult to depress and require the most pressure from your first finger. That's how you'll build up some tolerance to it.

I suppose the other alternatives are detuning, and playing a different gauge of strings. When I started, I preferred light gauge because somewhere between my metabolism and whatever I've never been able to really develop calouses and anything in heavy or acoustic strings would be painful. I play extra heavy now days for the type of music I do, but after years of gradually getting stronger at it they don't bother me any more.

I didn't even consider that.
Banging on a trash can
Drumming on a street light
#8
There'll be pain in the start. As you progress , and get better the pain will go away. Don't worry, I felt the same thing in the start. Also, make sure you anchor your thumb correctly.
Current gear ::

Ibanez BTB205 // 5 string bass, active pickups
Epiphone LP Special II // Lower end Epiphone Les Paul
Warwick Blue Cab 15 // My bass amp, which I use for my guitar :P
Yamaha C40 // My mediocre classic acoustic