#1
I own a Martinez MFC-13, and I find that playing trains my left hand a lot. After running through the outro of Paranoid Android about 3-4 times, My arm aches left, right and center. My first impression was that it was the action, as it is fairly high from the fretboard. But them I remember I am playing with 13 gauge strings (13-56 size? idk) and it makes it hard to play. I also remembered recently that I got this guitar 4-5 years ago, when I was about 9 or 10. Given that I am 14 now I thought that maybe the dimensions of the guitar that once suited me when I was 10 may not suit me now.

So I wonder whether my cramped hands is because of the action, the strings, or the guitar itself

thanks
Last edited by 1nSingularity at Jun 28, 2009,
#2
Please tell me that you've changed strings since you got the guitar. If not, then you need to do so ASAP. And you're only 14, and still growing, give it time. You need to develop the specific muscle groups needed to play the guitar pain free.
#4
Did you start playing when you were 10 and stop for a while, and now you're starting up again? If so, then you might need to get used it again, although I'm not too sure. But if you're 14 and you have the same strings on the guitar since you were 10...you need to change them. 1st off, they probably sound rather bad (due to being old), they're more than likely rusted a bit, which is bad. Also, if so, they're more likely to break a lot easier...and no one likes breaking strings while in the middle of playing....especially a song like Paranoid Android.
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#5
it probably needs a set up.

you also need to make sure your body is completely relaxed when you play, if you're tense, things are going to hurt.
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#6
I agree with the above.

Also (and slight thread jack).

If I can play Street Spirit...could I play bits of Paranoid Android. Which bits are best for picking and what are the easiest to understand TAB's?

Video anywhere?

Cheers
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#7
I play on 12's and it doesn't hurt my actual hand...my fingertips sometimes from playing so much that the strings wear down my skin, but not the fingers or hand. If your fingers or hand hurt then either your strings action/gauge is WAY too high (most likely not the case, its gotta be pretty high to hurt your whole arm.) or your technique is wrong.

Realize that I have never been one, nor will i ever be, one to care about technique or playing style (self taught ftw :P), but if what you are doing causes pain then it is something you should do. When you play, is your wrist bent? How do you hold your fingers? do you press the strings with your fingers straight or curved?

While it could easily be the guitar, it is more important for now that you make sure it isn't your technique because doing something that causes pain now will lead to pain later, and most likely carpal tunnel.

EDIT: oh, and I agree with LeftyDave...if you haven't changed your strings at least once, then do so...please. I change mine once every 2 or 3 months, and sometimes I should change them sooner (but am too cheap and lazy :P)
Last edited by ReChord at Jun 26, 2009,
#8
Quote by 1nSingularity
I own a Martinez MFC-13, and I find that playing trains my left hand a lot. After running through the outro of Paranoid Android about 3-4 times, My arm aches left, right and center. My first impression was that it was the action, as it is fairly high from the fretboard. But them I remember I am playing with 11 gauge strings (11-56 size? idk) and it makes it hard to play. I also remembered recently that I got this guitar 4-5 years ago, when I was about 9 or 10. Given that I am 14 now I thought that maybe the dimensions of the guitar that once suited me when I was 10 may not suit me now.

So I wonder whether my cramped hands is because of the action, the strings, or the guitar itself

thanks


A little more useful input from me.

With regards to action; many cheaper and even expensive guitars, come with high action, so that they can hang in a shop for months and still play when they are picked up.

Fret each string at the third fret, individually.

Now look at the string height above the first fret.

If there is anything more than an almost imperceptible gap, between the string and the fret, then the action is high.

You shouldn't be able to "see" the gap, only feel it or hear a ping when you tap the string onto the first fret.

Action should be slightly higher on the Low E, seeing as it is the largest, loosest string; to prevent buzzing.

The below is from http://www.collopyguitars.com/aga.htm



The correct action for a steel string guitar when in a standard tuning should be 3/32", measured from the top edge of the 12th fret to the bottom edge of the string. The height at the bridge should be 3/8" to 1/2", measured from the top of the face to the bottom edge of the strings, with the saddle extending approximately 1/8" to 3/16" above the top surface of the bridge. Neck relief is adjusted by the neck rod. Place a capo on the first fret, hold the low E string down at the 14th fret and measure the space between the 7th fret and the string with a feeler gauge. It should be about .008". Nut height on guitars is about .020" between the top of the first fret and the bottom of the string. You can check these dimensions with a 6" machinist ruler and an automotive feeler gauge.
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#9
@leftyDave: The guitar is over 5 years old. I've changed the strings a bit. I got new, lighter strings just a few days ago (I realised my current strings were actually 13s, so I got that mixed up)

@clayonfire: I started playing electric 2 1/2 years ago. I only picked up my acoustic about 6 months ago.

@everyone else: I am currently having private lessons, and my teacher hasn't said anything about my technique. I could be wrong, but I don't think it's my technique

I have recently gotted D'Addario "Custom Light" strings, which is a downgrade from the "Medium" ones. If that's still hard, I can get the action lowered for about $15
#10
Quote by 1nSingularity
@leftyDave: The guitar is over 5 years old. I've changed the strings a bit. I got new, lighter strings just a few days ago (I realised my current strings were actually 13s, so I got that mixed up)

@clayonfire: I started playing electric 2 1/2 years ago. I only picked up my acoustic about 6 months ago.

@everyone else: I am currently having private lessons, and my teacher hasn't said anything about my technique. I could be wrong, but I don't think it's my technique

I have recently gotted D'Addario "Custom Light" strings, which is a downgrade from the "Medium" ones. If that's still hard, I can get the action lowered for about $15


So nothing to say about my useful "Action related" post then?
Have you checked the action yet?

Who will lower your action for $15?

May I suggest Elixir Nanoweb strings. More expensive but last 3 times as long, see how you get on with them.
Quote by Cal UK

...that's what Skeet always says anyway and he's a sex god.


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I can supply WD Music, ABM and AllParts products to UK builders at DISCOUNTED prices!
#11
Quote by Skeet UK
So nothing to say about my useful "Action related" post then?
Have you checked the action yet?

Who will lower your action for $15?

May I suggest Elixir Nanoweb strings. More expensive but last 3 times as long, see how you get on with them.
I can't check the action, because I can't replace the strings, because it kills to get the 'bridge pegs' (or whatever) out.

There is a local music store which can lower my action for $15

I have been considering Elixir strings. I'll check them out.
#12
Quote by 1nSingularity
I can't check the action, because I can't replace the strings, because it kills to get the 'bridge pegs' (or whatever) out.

There is a local music store which can lower my action for $15

I have been considering Elixir strings. I'll check them out.


You can use a spoon to help get the bridge pins out. It is worth doing because otherwise you will be paying someone to change your strings for the rest of your life.

Does the music store know that it is an acoustic? Only that seems a little cheap, for potential nut and saddle adjustment.
Quote by Cal UK

...that's what Skeet always says anyway and he's a sex god.


Member of the official GB&C "Who to Listen to" list


I support Shay van Fani
I can supply WD Music, ABM and AllParts products to UK builders at DISCOUNTED prices!
#14
heavy strings, high action and challenging songs can all make your hands ache.

btw, when i first started playing nirvana's "breed" on the bass, my hand and forearm would cramp something fierce if we played it 3 times in a row. eventually my muscles strengthened enough to play it without a problem. on the other hand, there are some songs i can't play on an acoustic guitar without nice low action.