#1
Hope this is okay to post here. Newbie to Forums - playing non seriously for years. 3 years ago picked up the axe (acqoustic - cutaway) after being in the closet for 5 years. Slamming all scales - 30 minutes every other day - I am 46. My fret hand and fingers are aching and cramping. Other than age - is there anything I am doing wrong, or am I missing some exercises I should be doing? I know that I will not be able to play like Steve Howe . . . but is the pain normal?

Many thanks!

Mag
#2
yeah thats to be expected just do some simple stretches before and after you play it should do wanders
#3
depends on the pain really. not to knock your age or anything but does anyone in your family have any hereditary traits that might be passed such as arthritis? Check to make sure the height of the strings is good and adjust or have adjusted your truss rod. when i first got my acoustic it hurt my hands SO bad 'cuz the strings were way too high up. after 10 - 20 minutes my fingers were so sore. i had the truss rod adjusted and now i can easily play an hour straight. thats probably the cause of your problem there. i'd take it into a guitar shop and have'em look at it. IF thats not the case then i would try this if you're sure theres nothing else that could be doing it. start a litle slower and use a lighter gauge of strings. play 10 or 15 minutes, give your hands a break, play another 10 or 15 minutes give your hands a break. after a while you'll be playing like you never quit.
#5
Thanks for the quick R - no offense. No arthritis. Actually, it feels more like I am "taxing" my forearm and top of my hand. Is this normal? I have heard from friends that things like lifting weights are terrible for fast - nimble action. The other thought is that I am aching because I to not have the proper muscle structure yet developed.

Wondering?
#6
Quote by Magnum821
Thanks for the quick R - no offense. No arthritis. Actually, it feels more like I am "taxing" my forearm and top of my hand. Is this normal? I have heard from friends that things like lifting weights are terrible for fast - nimble action. The other thought is that I am aching because I to not have the proper muscle structure yet developed.

Wondering?


I am going to +1 on stretching and warm-ups. This happens to me if I don't warm-up.

Now if I play a long song with a lot of Barre chords I am f*cked beacuse no amount of stretching or warm-ups seems to help .

Running through scales...do some chromo warm ups starting at 80 bmp and go up to 120. Five minutes will make a world of differnce. AND you will play better! No lie. Limber fingers lends to better playing.

Rock on Bro!
E preciso amar as pessoas como se nao houvesse amanha- Renato Russo
#7
46 is generally still pretty young for arthritis, but it wouldn't be impossible. Welcome to the board, Mag! I'm a relative old-timer here on the board too. (almost 38)

You can never go wrong with a good warm-up routine. That's always good advice. What concerns me the most is the pain and that it is in the forearm and top of your hand. This suggests two things - could be one, could be the other, could be both - something with your holding/hand position, and/or general fatigue. Pain is your body's way of saying, "Something is wrong. Stop! You're hurting me!" Listen to your body. Stop. Take a rest and do something else. Tendonitis is treatable, but is NOT curable. It will always be with you if you get it - even after surgery.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#8
^ right

honestly it sounds like your strings might be set too high and you might have to have your truss rod adjusted. thats exactly where my hands/arm hurt before my neck was adjusted. i recommend having someone look at it. if you're positive thats not it then like the others suggested just make sure to warm up your hands. personally i spend around 30 minutes warming my hands up.
#9
Hey there Axeman, thanks for the welcome.
I spent one of the most memorable summers of my life fishing up in Westport, Ontario - hats off to you!

I should be more specific in the "pain" department. First off, I do not "warm up" - don't know how or what to do. Secondly, the "pain" is more a burn - like you get when you are lifting at the gym or something. There are no sharp pains associated with this. There IS dull aching for my pinky fingers after a heavy scales routine.

My Acoustic is pretty low action-wise; many thanks z4T - but it sounds like 1. I am not warming my fingers up, 2) I am not stretching (how do i do that)? and 3) I am not timing my scales correctly. should I maybe pay for a couple of lessons for technique and not theory?

Also, unrelated and I should probably post this. Anyone have experience with Epiphones? Looking at the ES-175.

Thanks Gents!

Mag
#10
Hmm, my old Fender acoustic, it's strings were hell to play. I never got it adjusted, instead I got an electric.

But, some strings, some guitars are easier to play than others (obviously acoustic vs. electric), and it depends on the action and sometimes the frets.

I have never stretched before playing, but I start out with scales and basic chords to get a feel for the board. One thing I do to release tension while warming up, is see how relaxed I can make my fretting hand, while still pressing down hard enough to create a clean tone. You might just be pressing down on the strings too hard. Press down lightly enough so it buzzes, then adjust until you can get a clean sound. It shouldn't require a lot of pressure. That's helped me a lot, because when I first switched to electric the thinner strings killed my fingers and I got out of tune from pressing down so hard.

Also, I imagine exercises such as squeezing tennis balls and lifting one finger off of a table at one time could help strengthen your finger muscles.

Hope this helps.