#1
Hey guys I've got a couple questions about this that I've been experiencing lately. I haven't been playing very long, year to year and a half or so and I've always stuck with small thin necks.
Recently I've began taking lessons and my teacher is really putting a lot of emphasis on my hand and finger positions as well as note quality (which I very much appreciate), however..I've noticed during my scale practice that my hand really starts to hurt after playing through a few repetitions.

Practicing scales is new to me as well as extended playing with the thumb on the back of the neck so I don't know if it's just that my hand/muscles haven't developed yet, or if small thin necks are just too small for my hands. Have any of you guys experienced something like this that could give advice?
#2
First of all, make sure you keep your wrist as straight as possible and use the bare minimum amount of force necessary to fret a note (depending on string gauge it could be the weight of your fingers alone). Beyond that, make sure you stretch and warm up and take frequent breaks. Is it actual pain or just fatigue? Fatigue is normal, pain is not. You should also bring this to the attention of your instructor and have him take another look at your form.
#3
Quote by cujohnston
First of all, make sure you keep your wrist as straight as possible and use the bare minimum amount of force necessary to fret a note (depending on string gauge it could be the weight of your fingers alone). Beyond that, make sure you stretch and warm up and take frequent breaks. Is it actual pain or just fatigue? Fatigue is normal, pain is not. You should also bring this to the attention of your instructor and have him take another look at your form.


I do plan to bring it up with my teacher at our next session. It seems more of a fatigue thing since it takes a bit of playing and repetition for it to start occurring. Also, it's always around the base of my thumb, that area that extends from the thumb down into the palm. So maybe I'm pushing too hard with my thumb against eh back of the neck or ? That's why I'm wondering if maybe because the neck is thin, that's causing me to push my thumb in more to get that leverage? I don't know if that makes sense or if that's a thing but that's why I'm asking.
#4
Is it a kind of sore, burning feeling like working out? That's what I meant by fatigue. That's normal, especially if you're not used to stretching your fingers out in that way. You said playing scales and generally having your thumb behind the neck is new to you, so that is to be expected. Something to look out for, though... the thumb really shouldn't be "pushing" into the neck at all. It's there to provide balance and support for your hand. Try loosening up a bit and see if that doesn't help. If your hand gets tired, take a few minutes to message your palm and stretch your thumb by gently pulling it back towards your forearm.

You've only been playing a year, so your hands are still getting acclimated to the instrument. You may want to try a guitar with a fatter neck the next time you're at a shop and see how you like it, but I wouldn't immediately assume that will fix the problem. I don't exactly have small hands, but I play on thin necks no problem. Let us know how it goes.
#5
Quote by cujohnston
Is it a kind of sore, burning feeling like working out?

You've only been playing a year, so your hands are still getting acclimated to the instrument. You may want to try a guitar with a fatter neck the next time you're at a shop and see how you like it, but I wouldn't immediately assume that will fix the problem. I don't exactly have small hands, but I play on thin necks no problem. Let us know how it goes.


Yeah it feels like muscle pain / fatigue. It's not joint pain or anything like that.
I'll keep ya posted! Hopefully I can get out to a shop tomorrow and try a few different necks to see if the problem pops up.
Thanks for the advice!
#6
After trying a bunch of different strats today, I think the problem is with the slim necks. I mainly played a strat with a modern C that felt exactly like mine, against a Kenny Wayne Shepherd strat.
Playing through scales on the KWS strat felt easy and effortless and I noticed my thumb pressure was much more relaxed..I only felt slight fatigue after playing through a handful of different scales nonstop for about 5 mins.
Then I picked up the small modern C strat. It felt like a toothpick but also felt like I could really move around the neck extremely fast. I started playing the same scales in the same sequence and within less than a minute the pain was happening.

So I A/B'd back and forth a bit to make sure my hand wasn't just tired from playing the previous guitar. Soon as I went back to the KWS, I had no pain and trouble playing. Picked up the modern C and it was back pretty quickly. It seems that the slimmer neck profile has my thumb pushing inward to compensate for the lack of neck and my thumb and hand look a little contorted on the back side because of this. My thumb is definitely very tensed up playing like this. With the KWS it siting on the back of the neck in more of a natural position and not having to push inward to sit up against the neck.

So while the slimmer neck feels much faster to play on, the chunkier neck was much more comfortable and relaxing to play on. I'm hoping that's ultimately what the problem is and I'm going to try again in a few days or so to see if I have the same experience.
#7
sudzinsky

If you think that will help, then go for it man. I just didn't want you to think spending money on a new guitar was the answer to your problem. To be honest, if I cut off my thumb completely it wouldn't change my playing much except for bending strings.
#8
I exclusively play Gibsons with a 50s profile neck for this reason. I don't get on with slimmer necks

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#9
Quote by cujohnston
sudzinsky

If you think that will help, then go for it man. I just didn't want you to think spending money on a new guitar was the answer to your problem. To be honest, if I cut off my thumb completely it wouldn't change my playing much except for bending strings.


Yeah that's why I'm going to try this experiment a couple times before I do anything just to make sure my jedi powers aren't getting in the way and it's not a mind over matter kinda thing! Maybe in a couple weeks it won't matter if my hand strength is more developed.
#10
I have a thin necked guitar and I have "regular" profile guitar necks and I am less effective with thin. Thin feels comfortable enough but I find when I'm advancing up the strings I hit a wall and have to reset my thumb somewhat and it can cause an unwanted pause if I'm not being conscious of it. With a regular neck my thumb is in an all encompassing position and it is not an issue.
#11
Sometimes when it comes to fretting hand fatigue, it can run within the same line as picking hand fatigue. Do you ever feel like you are straining your pick hand when playing, usually it causes you to tense up your fretting hand. Best thing to do is claw your fingers when fretting strings

Learn proper economical movements for fretting when doing runs across strings. I have a video documenting my progress through a dream theater riff the first time I ever did it and a little after i was still getting the ropes of alternative picking. While alt picking is a completely different line of technique, it applies greatly to economics



Notice how my index finger jumps when I run across strings and move to a different patterns and notice my thumb placement, always on the upper half of the neck, regardness of which string I am on. My hand cramped up when having to do the runs on the lower half of the neck as well, which barely happens now thanks to improvements over time



My thumb moves much more accordingly to where I am on the neck, and my index jumps around much less