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#1
Ok, so, I read this lesson on how to prevent RSI a long time ago - didn't pay much attention to it. Today, I saw Freepower's lesson on correct left & right hand posture.

01. Check Your Fretting Hand
Having a poor hand position can be a factor is having more tension in your fretting hand, this is usually because the placement of the thumb is too high and that the wrist has to bend to allow the fingers to do their job. Depending on the size of your hand and how comfortable you are with playing with your thumb quite high this should be seen as a problem that needs sorted -- look at your wrist and that should tell you everything.


Now, I have VERY small hands, but I don't have problems with wide stretches, or anything. The only kink in my fretting hand's posture is that, to reach the 3 low strings (E, A, and D), my wrist HAS to bend, no matter what. With the 3 high strings, this problem is almost non-existant. Help, please.
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#2
I have trouble with this as well (such as playing 3-5-7 along the low E), and I have big hands (being over 6 feet tall).

I don't think it has to do with the size of your hands (as you say you can manage wide stretches).
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#3
What I have learned is that bending your wrist downwards is not a problem (unless you have your guitar on your knees etc), it is the placing of your thumb when doing a so-called "rock grip" around the guitar, that is the bad thing...

The wrist should not be bent upwards as it is damaging for the tendons in your lower arm..

I think
#4
never had a plroblem with it.......on memory though.....when i do big stretches me thumb seems to be behind the b string or so...as opposed to the middle of the neck...is you hand in the middle of the neck? but you probably know all this....try putting it below the middle for the low strings
#5
How big are your hands?
From the tip of my middle finger to the line of my wrist it's 7 inches, and my hands seem pretty girly compared to most lads my age
#6
****.

I'm pretty sure I always bend my wrist when playing. Please link to lesson.
#7
Quote by sTx
Now, I have VERY small hands, but I don't have problems with wide stretches, or anything. The only kink in my fretting hand's posture is that, to reach the 3 low strings (E, A, and D), my wrist HAS to bend, no matter what. With the 3 high strings, this problem is almost non-existant. Help, please.


That's just because it's really hard. It's not a big deal unless you're spending a lot of time playing strenuous stuff on lower strings. Just be careful and stop if there's pain.
#8
Quote by sTx
Ok, so, I read this lesson on how to prevent RSI a long time ago - didn't pay much attention to it. Today, I saw Freepower's lesson on correct left & right hand posture.


Now, I have VERY small hands, but I don't have problems with wide stretches, or anything. The only kink in my fretting hand's posture is that, to reach the 3 low strings (E, A, and D), my wrist HAS to bend, no matter what. With the 3 high strings, this problem is almost non-existant. Help, please.


Hmm- maybe I'm not the best person to answer this, as I have fairly large hands (you know what they say about guys with big hands? we wear big mittens), but I think your problem is not the size of your hands, but the position of your guitar. Here's an experiment you can try- find a book with a good illustration of the position classical guitarists hold the guitar in- the guitar rests on the _left_ thigh, and the left foot is elevated so that the headstock of the guitar is around the level of the ear, though this depends on your height. The left arm _hangs_ at the side, and the left wrist is only slightly bent. I suspect that if you play with this position for a while you will find that you don't have to bend your wrist much.

Once you know how that feels you need to replicate that position using an electric. First, always practice with a strap- that's how you will likely play electric on stage, so it is how you should practice. Second, cinch your strap up- I know you look like a dork with the guitar up around your nipples, but it's a lot better for your tendons. You'll also find, once you get used to it, that your LH fingers have more mobility if there is less bend to the wrist. When I play with a strap my hand is at the same level as my mouth in second position, and the guitar is angled up at 45 degrees to make that possible.
#9
The left arm _hangs_ at the side, and the left wrist is only slightly bent. I suspect that if you play with this position for a while you will find that you don't have to bend your wrist much.

Yup, that's how I'm doing it now.

Second, cinch your strap up

Always did that.

Quote by Freepower
That's just because it's really hard. It's not a big deal unless you're spending a lot of time playing strenuous stuff on lower strings. Just be careful and stop if there's pain.


So, if I play something like,

it's ok if my wrist becomes something like,

it's ok?

@Freepower: You said it's really hard. What do I have to do to attain that level of wrist-related relaxation?
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#10
Quote by sTx

it's ok if my wrist becomes something like...

it's ok?


It's OK if it works for you, but I try to keep my wrist straighter than that- among other things, remember what I said about barreing- to get a good barre you need to get your knuckle in front of the fingerboard. You might find that your hand moves more freely if you angle the neck up a bit more, so your hand is higher and the arm really _hangs_. The problem is that a bend in the wrist compresses your tendons. Now, there's a time and a place for that- I play nylon string with a really arched right wrist- I get much better tone like that. But I find that for faster passages I have to use a bit less arch to get better mobility in the fingers. And I'm super careful about any pain, or numbness, or tingling that might indicate a problem there. Everyone's hands/tendons/nerves are different, so to some degree you need to find your own best angles.

As for relaxation, the key is to always be sensitive to tension while you're playing. You're going to tense up- that's just going to happen. Don't stop playing, unless it hurts, just concentrate on releasing the tension while you continue to play. And don't push the tempos until you're ready- a speed burst is fine, but continuously playing faster than you are ready to play is a bad idea. When I first started playing I pulled some muscles in my right shoulder doing that, and I can still feel it, many years later.

EDIT: mainly though, it's important that your elbow be well below your hand. That looks like the problem here, and it's what I mean by _hang_. In addition to other things you look like you have to squeeze the neck between your thumb and fingers to hold down the strings- you want the weight of your arm to do the work for you. That's one bad thing about electric- it lets you ignore things like that since the strings are so light and the action is so low.
Last edited by mezzopiano at Jul 10, 2008,
#11
^^
About the thumb pressure - I just looked at my technique. I don't reply on thumb pressure.

About the hanging, I don't understand
it's important that your elbow be well below your hand


EDIT: A small breakthrough, if I may be allowed to use such a word; if I tilt the guitar to 45, the wrist becomes neutral. BUT, i can ONLY play stuff spanning 4 frets,
such as,
on the low E,
7-8-10


Stretches require bending, no matter what.

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Last edited by sTx at Jul 10, 2008,
#12
Quote by sTx
^^
About the thumb pressure - I just looked at my technique. I don't reply on thumb pressure.

About the hanging, I don't understand


Can you play pretty easily without touching the neck with the thumb? Try playing a full barre at the first fret on a nylon string without the thumb on the neck- it's tricky at first, but it's worth learning to do as it forces you to use good technique.

About the hanging- in the picture above you can see that the forearm is angled down toward the floor, from the elbow. What I mean by hanging is that the elbow is at the bottom, and the forearm sticks almost straight up- if you let your arm hang at your side and then lift your hand and touch your cheek you'll see what I mean. The forearm is almost perpendicular to the floor. This gives you a nice neutral wrist, and it also makes gravity do a lot of the work of holding down the strings for you. But it does mean that the headstock of the guitar will be very high- up around your ears, or higher if you're short and your guitar is tall . Anyway, this position is hard to achieve while standing, but you want to try to get as close as you can to it, bearing in mind that everyone's biomechanics are a bit different.

Quote by sTx

EDIT: A small breakthrough, if I may be allowed to use such a word; if I tilt the guitar to 45, the wrist becomes neutral. BUT, i can ONLY play stuff spanning 4 frets,
such as,
on the low E,
7-8-10


Stretches require bending, no matter what.

FREEPOWER, MEZZOOOO, ANYONE! =P


Well, this is a lot harder to explain than to demonstrate. The wrist will have to bend some, you just don't want it to bend all that much. Try what I suggested before though- find a book that shows the standard classical position and try playing like that for a few days to get a feel for it. Practice and experimentation might be the answer here, or if you can find someone who plays well, preferably someone who has had some training, they might be able to help you out a lot more in person.

I can tell you that I've know some people with very small hands who played really well. There are some stretches I can play that they'll never be able to, just like I can play 10ths on a piano easily, while a lot of people who play a lot better than I do can't. But those are pretty extreme stretches- if you can only play over 4 frets something is off in your mechanics. Also, big hands are not an unalloyed good- I actually think it would be easier for me to play if my hands were a bit smaller, particularly on electric- there sometimes just isn't enough room for them.
#13
^^ I understand the hanging. I can do it standing, and sitting.

if you can only play over 4 frets something is off in your mechanics


4 frets on the low E, with the neutral wrist. With bending, I can go from the 5th to 10th fret easily. I guess I can rely on string skipping to play wider intervals, no?
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#14
Well look, your wrist is _of course_ going to bend a bit. The positions I'm suggesting are ideals. You do need to be able to play from, say, the 7th to the 12th fret. That's a very small stretch, so if you can't play that, something is wrong, and it's not that your hands are too small, unless they are freakishly tiny.
#15
Well look, your wrist is _of course_ going to bend a bit. The positions I'm suggesting are ideals. You do need to be able to play from, say, the 7th to the 12th fret. That's a very small stretch, so if you can't play that, something is wrong, and it's not that your hands are too small, unless they are freakishly tiny.


I CAN play that stretch, but with bending. That's the whole point!
With a BENT wrist, I can play freakishly large stretches!
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#16


it's ok?


Well, it's not ideal, but it can happen depending on a huge number of factors.

@Freepower: You said it's really hard. What do I have to do to attain that level of wrist-related relaxation?


Experiment, experiment, experiment.
#17
Well, it's not ideal, but it can happen depending on a huge number of factors.


Care to outline some, so I have a rough idea?
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#18
Guitar shape, personal build and size, fret position, arm position, right/left leg position, guitar height, left hand slant and thumb position, bizarre fingerings...

File under "everything".
#19
How wide is the neck of your guitar?
My hands are very tiny too. But that just means I have to always focus on proper technique.

Remember to stay loose but initial discomfort is always acceptable. Periodically, check your technique (stop yourself before you get obsessed, though); and practicing scales is a must. Chromatic scales are a good way to strengthen all your fingers and gain fluidity in alternate picking.

Anyway, I hope this helped.
#21
I agree with 'ouchies.'
You probably want to prevent injuring yourself.

Personally, if I wear my guitar too low, I've found it more uncomfortable to crank out certain stuff. If you do a lot of rythm work, however, you're probably fine. Maybe straighten up that wrist a bit and try not to tense up.

Good luck and thanks for bringing up this important topic.
Last edited by akikobleu at Jul 12, 2008,
#22
I just checked. The length of my hand (measured from the palm to tip of middle finger) is 6.4 inches.

MY middle finger is around 2.4-2.5 inches. =P

EDIT: I've been playing in front of a mirror since the start of this topic. If I concentrate a bit, and angle my guitar right, I can play with a neutral wrist, BUT NOT ON THE 2 LOW STRINGS (E & A). That just requires bending.

If I place the guitar at a distance from my body, then the wrist becomes neutral, BUT, as Freepower stated a factor, bizzare fingerings, or wide stretches, require bending. I'll try to post a video ASAP, till then keep helping. Thanks. =D

EDIT:

Look at LadyHellraiser's wrist in this video. Lotsa bending, lotsa shredding. =P
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=olp799S9mng
I can assume that my hands are about her size.
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Last edited by sTx at Jul 12, 2008,
#23
lol dude and you think you've got it bad.

my hands are actually about the same as yours (around six inches), only my fingers are ultra skinny (my middle finger is 1 CM long from side to side, pinky is a little under a CM)

I have the same problem. It hurts like hell when I try to stand up and play, I can barely play power chords, I can barely sweep, and then my wrist just hurts a ton.
Last edited by GuitaristTrue at Jul 12, 2008,
#25
Quote by Freepower
Yeah, and lookit her economy of motion and third finger. Higher guitar, left leg, neutral wrist= the win.


You really need to elaborate on that one. =P

I have the same problem. It hurts like hell when I try to stand up and play, I can barely play power chords, I can barely sweep, and then my wrist just hurts a ton.


I have neither of those problems. I just don't sweep.

I can play power chords, and Opeth-weird chords. =P Didn't mean to boast.

I just saw FP's video, and it kinda freaked me out,

EDIT:

@FP: I do have the high guitar, and left leg to add leverage; just no neutral wrist (although, since I do play more lead-stuff, I play the higher strings more, leading to majority of the time myself having a neutral wrist, than not)
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Last edited by sTx at Jul 12, 2008,
#26
I've been noticing the same thing since watching FP's video, especially when playing Necrophagist stuff (the riffs).

Look at this video, and Muhammad's wrist seems to be doing the same sort of angle: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFLJT6wjyv0

So I'm assuming it's ok as long as there's no pain. I just watched that video and am quite relieved now. I've been getting a bit of pain/discomfort if I play this stuff for too long recently, but I take a break when that happens.
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#27
I think what he means by 'economy' is that wearing your guitar higher is simply a more efficient way of playing more lead-oriented, in general.

In a general statement, I would say it is simply easier on your body, especially the wrist. So maybe try practicing while standing up and experiment. As I mentioned before, the ryhthm and strumming thing might become (a bit) more challenging).

My hands are the same size and pretty skinny too! Haha, maybe we should all start a 'small hands' group or something. Anyway, hopefully this cleared things up at least a little.
#28
My hands are not the biggest either and i have a lot of similar issues. This is a very helpful thread though, let's keep it alive!
#29
Look at this video, and Muhammad's wrist seems to be doing the same sort of angle:


That's the same with me. Complex riffs, and wide stretches make my wrist go non-neutral. Damn these tendons!

EDIT: So, after some experimentation, as FP suggested, I've come maintain an almost neutral wrist by tilting the guitar 45 degress (towards my face). However my greatest issue still remains.

No matterwhat I've tried [so far, I won't give up!] nothing seems to accomodate wide stretches with a neutral wrist.

I shall post a video of the different positions I;ve tried for you to judge. Peace.
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Last edited by sTx at Jul 13, 2008,
#31
You know what they say about small hands.
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#32
haha i LAUGH at the people that tell you how to posture n such, it all comes down to how it feels COMFORTABLE for u.

having ur thumb ova the neck isn't a problem if its comfortable for YOU.

don't listen to anyone but yourself, cause only you know how comfortable you are, not the people replying to you telling you this and that.
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#33
^ yeah, but Nezzers are too slippery for me. I sit down, start playing and then i'm all over the neck in a blaze of notes - and it's just no fun because it's so easy to play fast on them and too easy to fall into the trap of doing it. And i find the schecter sounds a lot chunkier and more bitching.

Have fun at music college, i just turned down my place to make money.
#34
^ i turned down my place at BIMM because the end goal for me was to set up my own teaching business and I can better serve that by growing some balls and doing it. Which is what i've been getting down to. My calling is as much to teach and spread the joy of music as to play, and i've known it for a while.
#35
Quote by LadyHellraiser


Yeah, our hands are about the same size.


On your 6 stringer, did you have a neutral wrist while playing complex riffs, Necrophagist-style (basically, wide intervallic stretches), or when just playing on the low strings?

Like,

E-3-5-7-9

OR

E-3-6-9-6
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Last edited by sTx at Jul 26, 2008,
#36
Btw, check out 1:30 into lesson 7 in my sig. That's pretty much how i'd sit to get a neutral position no matter the string or fret. Perhaps with some big stretches it'd get a bit twisty, but that's how I'd handle your situation. Course, different proportioned arms or guitar and it might not work so mwell for you, but i thought it could help.
#37
Freepower! Dude! I just did it! Neutral wrist on low strings!

Proper left leg height + proper angle of guitar + proper position of forearm (mine's not perpendicular to the neck; my forearm 'hangs' from the neck, if you understand =P).

EDIT: New problem.

Playing while standing up [if no support for leg present].
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Last edited by sTx at Jul 26, 2008,
#38
Quote by sTx
Freepower! Dude! I just did it! Neutral wrist on low strings!

Proper left leg height + proper angle of guitar + proper position of forearm (mine's not perpendicular to the neck; my forearm 'hangs' from the neck, if you understand =P).

EDIT: New problem.

Playing while standing up [if no support for leg present].


sTx, congratulations on the breakthrough. Regardingly doing it standing up, I wouldn't worry about that for a while. Now that you have it sitting down, just keep doing that. You need time for the correct wrist angle to become "normal" to you..i.e. to reinforce it before you try something new.
#39
It really feels good! It feels amaaaaaazing!

I'll write a detailed walk-thru for all those with small hands, when I have the time. =D
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#40
i've noticed that many different guitarists have their guitars at many different heights (obviously while they are playing standing up with a strap). for example, Slash has his guitar well below his waist, almost below his "happy area", yet angus and malcolm young have theirs covering up their stomach area. Slash's guitar neck is at a very high angle usually, like around 60 or 70 degrees maybe, and angus's is maybe around 30 or 40 degrees. I have tried playing as low as slash has his guitar, and its very uncomfortable for my wrist, and i actually have fairly long arms and long fingers, and ive played how high angus has his and its much more comfortable. i think it just may be personal preference. just do whatever feels comfortable.
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