#1
Well, I recently picked up guitar after years of considering it (I'm an experienced drummer). Got an Ibanez AS73, found a good instructor and thought I was off and running. But I am now getting left hand pain after a very short time, mostly within the thick/palm part of the pinky side of my fretting hand. Sometimes it also hurts further up my arm. I haven't practiced much over an hour a day since I got the guitar. I've only had one lesson but he said my technique was already pretty good so I am a little discouraged and thinking maybe I am predisposed to hand/wrist problems playing guitar.

My question is this: what can I do to make the guitar as easy as possible on my left hand and ease it into the necessary muscle development? Is the action on my guitar typically pretty good out of the factory? Is it worth having a tech work on it? What about strings? It has .010, .013, .017, .026, .036, .046 from the factory...would Super Light (9-42) strings make much of a difference in this regard (and if not, can I go lighter without major tradeoffs)? Finally, how about playing position? Most players seem to hold the guitar at a pretty shallow angle but to me it feels better to raise it up considerably. I realize everyone's physiology is different, just looking for generalizations. Or is a little pain simply normal as I am stressing muscles I haven't before? I plan to ask my instructor too but wanted to call on the collective wisdom of this forum.

I did search the forums for the answer but didn't find a satisfying response as most people having problems were experienced players who clearly/admittedly overworked themselves. I was actually feeling guilty for not practicing enough!

Thanks for any help!
#2
I have a friend with wrist problems in his left hand. He has the guitar headstock at a very high angle when he plays because he can't twist his wrist very much. Go with what's comfortable. If you can play like that, and it doesn't hurt, it's the right answer.
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#3
What sort of stuff are you trying to play currently? Just strumming open chords? Barre chords? From your description it sounds like you're currently straining yourself when playing. So it's either bad technique or trying to do too much too soon. You might be applying too much pressure when fretting notes. Try to use the least amount of force to get a note to sound. Any wrist pain when playing is bad. As soon as you feel any pain stop. The only pain you should feel is in your finger tips. Until they toughen up they'll hurt. A lot.
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#4
After looking at my playing position I think I am one of those that needs a more upright angle. It just feels so much better. I don't see how people play so darn low (and parallel to the ground). Different physiology I guess. Yes, the fingers did hurt for a week or two but now are toughening up. Now I am trying to keep them tough as I rest my hand. I've just been sitting with the guitar flat on my lap a bit each night, pressing on the strings. Anyway, I guess this is just too common a question to be asking. Thanks for your help nonetheless.