#1
About 6 weeks ago I started playing the guitar for my church. We usually practice twice a week. Before I started, I never really played standing up. After every practice (which are about 1 1/2 hours) and Sunday, my left shoulder and neck really hurt. I have been using a leather strap, but I changed to nylon to see if it would help. It didn't improve. I play acoustic, so I know weight isn't the problem. Is there any way that I can prevent this from happening?

I know this is probably a stupid question, but any help is appreciated.

Thanks!
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#3
I've tried adjusting the strap, but it didn't help any. Maybe it is my posture.
"Being honest may not get you a lot of friends, but it'll always get you the right ones."
#4
Try a wider strap with padding in the neck shoulder area.

Not to do a TMI thing here but...
I've got arthritis in my shoulders and back (As well as a few other fucked up things in my back).
Standing up and using a thin strap becomes very painful for me after a very short time.
A nice wide padded strap makes a huge difference for me.

I prefer a strap about 3.5 inches (8-9 cm) wide.
#5
Get a wide padded strap. Nylon straps are the worst because they just fold in half and dig into your shoulder.
#6
Guys, it's an acoustic guitar. Extra width helps on heavy guitars and can't hurt - but for an acoustic? It's gotta be a posture issue or similar. It's either disability or operator error.
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#7
I tend to agree with Cathbard that "wider" might not necessarily be better, but I might suggest that a strap made from a different material could help the discomfort.

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/accessories/levys-3-padded-neoprene-strap/h68720

I have four of these, and they helped solve similar issues I was having.

Edit: the neoprene ones can be pricey, but can be found cheaper than this link if you check EBay or Amazon.
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Last edited by breadfan82 at Jan 25, 2015,
#8
I have the same issue and like others have said, you should get a wider strap. It will distribute the weight over a larger area of your shoulder. Doesn't take away all the pain but definitely helps.
#9
I'll definitely try a wider strap. I'll also work on my posture.

Thanks for the suggestions, guys!
"Being honest may not get you a lot of friends, but it'll always get you the right ones."
#10
It could be the size of the guitar, not the weight. I hate dreadnaught acoustics or bigger, they're too bulky and very awkward to strum while standing compared to most other guitars, for me personally. You may be stressing muscles and joints just strumming. I'm about average size and I've seen tiny women play on a dreadnaught no problem, but some find the size comfortable, some find the size awkward and prefer something else. Like a Taylor GS Mini Mahogany.
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#11
you could be putting weight on the guitar from your posture, arm pushing down, tension etc. I doubt if you just stood with it on for an hr not playing it would hurt.
#12
^^ I do have a dreadnaught, but the only part of me that gets sore is the shoulder my strap rests on.
"Being honest may not get you a lot of friends, but it'll always get you the right ones."
#13
^what that guy said. I had similar problems (altough with an electric guitar), when i first started playing in a band. You are probably stressing muscles that are not used to it. The solution? Get stronger. With enough practice, you will probably naturaly get some more endurance for standing and playing, but you can also lift some weights and such, to streghten the back and shoulder muscles. That, and good posture, and you will be fine. Nowdays i can play standing up so long, that my legs get tired before my upper body.
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#14
Quote by songbird64
^^ I do have a dreadnaught, but the only part of me that gets sore is the shoulder my strap rests on.


See if you can get to try one of the very expensive Gibson straps (Austin Comfort, Fatboy, Modern something or other) that combine really good leather with width and memory foam. I have a couple of seriously heavy LPs and LP-alikes, and this did the do for me. But they're silly expensive ($150 range). If it works for you, then at least you'll know what does, and you can look around for something similar, or have TV Voodoo over on the AGF forum (he's in East BF or Saskachoo Canada somewhere) build you one of his "Well Hung" straps (check Reverb for "Well Hung Guitar Accessories"; I think he might also be there). There are other folks who build custom straps as well; a bit of poking around should find lots).

Don't discount the shape of the guitar. I have a dread (a '67 D35 Martin) and it's a great sitting down guitar. Standing up, the Taylor 814ce works much better because it's got a narrower waist. And that included putting pressure on the strap shoulder. Ultimately, I gave up and hunted down a Line 6 Variax Acoustic 700. It looks like a smallish thinline acoustic, but it's actually a solid mahogany guitar with a bunch of acoustic models in the modeling firmware inside the guitar.
#15
Quote by gorkyporky
^what that guy said. I had similar problems (altough with an electric guitar), when i first started playing in a band. You are probably stressing muscles that are not used to it. The solution? Get stronger. With enough practice, you will probably naturaly get some more endurance for standing and playing, but you can also lift some weights and such, to streghten the back and shoulder muscles. That, and good posture, and you will be fine. Nowdays i can play standing up so long, that my legs get tired before my upper body.


I've been working out regularly since I was in high school. My shoulders are pretty strong and so are my traps (muscles around your neck), and I still have this problem. I don't even make it an hour, I can't even play 30 mins without my shoulder bothering me. So I don't really think it's a muscle problem