#1
Hey, UG! I feel somewhat pathetic right now because I am typing this post with only my right hand. I am typing this post with only my right hand because I have an aching soreness in my left thumb that has made me put my left hand out of commission for the past 20 some hours. This post is long, but only because it is thorough and well-explained, so please read it all and help a fellow UGer out, if you can offer some good advice and tips!

I have played guitar for about 6 years now, but never had the focus to do lengthy metronome practice in order to develop proper technique. About a month ago I was diagnosed with ADD - inattentive type. Last Wednesday I was prescribed something help me focus, and I've finally been able to do some good practice.

I am not a push over when it comes to playing. I can solo well, write well, and understand the fretboard fairly well. I won't lie, I'm no music major or theory junkie, but I have a good ear and a sometimes unfilterable imagination (thanks to my ADD), and this has kept me occupied for the past few years. What I've always lacked is flawless accuracy and sustained groove, and I've always wanted to be a very precise and fluid player. I've had a good run with it, but I can no longer play with not-necessarily-terrible, but also not-at-all proper or disciplined technique. I'm sloppy at times, and hit ruts where my playing isn't as fluid one day as the last. I'm done with it.

My routine since being prescribed...

On the first day, for half an hour I practiced alternate picking on 60 BPM, chromatic 1-2-3-4 up and back down all 6 strings (index finger on 7th or 9th fret), with just pure concentration on picking hand thumb placement, while also concentrating on applying as little pressure with my thumb as humanly possible. Then I did half an hour of string-skipping at 60 BPM with a chromatic 1-2-3-4 fretting pattern, in a string pattern of 1-3-2-5-4-6, without any pause between the prior practice sequence,but my focus this time around was the accuracy of my picking.

Since then I've done the first 1-2-3-4, 6-string alternate picking sequence every other day for half an hour. I skip a day in between practices to allow the muscles in my fingers and wrists to rest so that they properly grow without a high risk of injury due to lack of rest (like weight-lifters do).

Yesterday I didn't play at all, but at around 8:00 p.m. I started typing and surfing the web on my laptop, felt some soreness in my wrist and thumb after about 20 minutes, and just decided to rest my left hand for the night.

I think I know what mistake I've made, so please confirm it if you can, and offer advice.

I think my mistake has been my own foolishness for trying to noodle hours after practice on my practice days without doing a good, solid warm-up, other than hand/wrist/shoulder streches (a la John Petrucci). I've also tried writing new material that my picking hand is foreign to on my days of "rest" or hours after practice. Also, recently I've picked up playing keys, but have no technique, and have tried writing keyboard accompaniments.

I think what my problem has been is that I've been pushing my hands too hard. I almost feel like I'm doing the guitar equivalent of going from flawed work-out machines to disciplining myself in structured, proper free-weight lifting... while also doing intense, undisciplined punching bag boxing when I should be resting or just doing more disciplined lifting.

So am I right? Should I just chill out and strictly do metronome technique practice for few months until my technique develops? Should I stop being foolish and thinking that I can get away with disciplined hand strengthening while also straining my hands with pseudo-masturbatory fretboard wankery during rest time?

I think that's what I need to do, in fact I am practically %100 sure of it to the point of almost feeling like an idiot for starting this post... but I would just appreciate some confirmation.

The big things I'm really wondering are: how should I rehabilitate my left hand? Should I try massages, or cooling then heating? Also, should I also stay away from typing with my left hand during rest periods? Should I just stay away from typing completely for 2 or 3 weeks?

Thanks, UG! Hope to get some helpful, wise responses!
#2
You are worrying too much over nothing man. You have gone from regular practice to a fairly harsh routine, which will have consequences. The only thing you need to worry about is to stop playing if you are in pain and give yourself some time to recover.

The practising itself isn't harmful, you just need time for your hands to adjust to the new regimen - like weight lifting. No pain, no gain.
#3
Quote by syzeh
You are worrying too much over nothing man. You have gone from regular practice to a fairly harsh routine, which will have consequences. The only thing you need to worry about is to stop playing if you are in pain and give yourself some time to recover.

The practising itself isn't harmful, you just need time for your hands to adjust to the new regimen - like weight lifting. No pain, no gain.


I really appreciate your comment, syzeh! I've been telling myself to not freak out about this soreness but it's always more comforting to hear someone else reinforce some optimism and reassurance that everything will be fine. Yeah, I've been worrying about it a bit too much, but it's just something that I want to be as cautious about as possible. I love guitar too much to not be a little paranoid! Know what I mean?

Thank you so much for the feedback!
#4
Hey, i have this right now too. Nothing to worry about, just let it rest for a day and it will be fine.