#1
So I've been playing my classical guitar a lot and recently and at the base of my lower thumb muscle, close to the center of my palm, I have been getting this somewhat painful stinging and slightly fuzzy feeling. It only happens if I use my thumb and only if I apply enough pressure. I keep my thumb pointed up because that's how I was taught. Is this normal or am I playing the guitar wrong ?
#2
Did you jam your thumb playing basketball or anything like that?
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#4
Is your whole thumb pressed against the neck or just the top half?
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#5
imo based on the information you have provided, yes you are playing something wrong or using your thumb too much in a certain extent. Maybe you shouldn't try to play as much as you do now, do it in fragments, that way your thumb can work it's muscle up, kindly like learning to scream the proper way.
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#7
I literally logged on the forums to post a very similar question when this thread was top of the list. How scary.

I have the same sort of strain feeling (kinda like an overused muscle really) in my lower thumb joint. It happens when I play even the simplest of open chords, and often after as little as one song too. Once I put the guitar down it's gone again. I've had this for 6 or 7 months, and even though I play guitar regularly it barely gets any better, so I'm starting to wonder if the problem really is in the muscle needing training. My position is correct, thumb is pointing up, only the top half of the thumb used to keep the neck in position too. My former guitar teacher even said it was the right position so I'm pretty sure I'm correct. I don't think I'm applying too much pressure either. If I try to loosen it there's not enough counterweight for the pressure of my fingers and the guitar neck goes 'floating'.

I have this weird left hand thumb joint though, I can sorta dislocate it. I was thinking maybe it has to do with that, in that it either causes the muscle to strain really fast, or that it prevents the muscle from growing stronger because it's messed up.

I was thinking about visiting a doctor but I just know all they say is "Well, I don't know either" or "Can you explain faster, I've got more customers?". Either way I don't think he'd know much about guitar playing to figure out the problem..
Last edited by Azunaii at Nov 2, 2008,
#8
I think it might be your dislocating thumb.

And for ryan:

Do you play alot?
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#9
relax your hand more
i did something like that when i had people try to tell me to change when i first started
ur just over stressing your thumb
relax it, forget about it, let the grip come naturally
and u will be better (youll notice the same thing will occur w/ u and barre chords if u dont change it now)
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#11
Not everybody can play with "proper" posture. It sounds like you are getting a pinched nerve. It is very possible that this initially happened when doing something else but then the nerve got swollen and now gets pinched when you play guitar. It's also possibly that the proper classical posture is something you just can't physically do. I'd suggest you take a break from playing and you take 400 miligrams of Ibuprofen twice a day during that week. Not playing will give your nerves a chance to calm down and the Ibuprofen will speed up the process. After a week or so go back to the guitar and see what happens. If it's not any better you might want to learn another posture.
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#12
"I keep my thumb pointed up because that's how I was taught."

This is unclear. Please describe what you mean by "up". You feel this important enough to mention so it may well be exactly that - important to your problem.

You don't even state which hand you are talking about.
#13
Quote by CorduroyEW
Not everybody can play with "proper" posture. It sounds like you are getting a pinched nerve. It is very possible that this initially happened when doing something else but then the nerve got swollen and now gets pinched when you play guitar. It's also possibly that the proper classical posture is something you just can't physically do. I'd suggest you take a break from playing and you take 400 miligrams of Ibuprofen twice a day during that week. Not playing will give your nerves a chance to calm down and the Ibuprofen will speed up the process. After a week or so go back to the guitar and see what happens. If it's not any better you might want to learn another posture.


I personally wouldn't start taking medicines (especially not ibuprophen, heard quite some nasty stuff about it) because of a possible condition in your thumb. I'd get that checked out and confirmed by a doctor first. Be careful with Ibuprophen, it's nasty stuff and not that good a painkiller as people believe.
#14
Quote by R.Christie
"I keep my thumb pointed up because that's how I was taught."

This is unclear. Please describe what you mean by "up". You feel this important enough to mention so it may well be exactly that - important to your problem.

You don't even state which hand you are talking about.


Oops, I guess that wasn't very clear. It's on my left hand (fret hand) and by up I mean my thumb being parallel with the frets. When I'm playing chords and have my whole thumb on the back of the neck it's not as bad. I feel it more when just the top half of my thumb is on the back of the guitar neck. I hope that clears things up and thanks for the reply about it.
#15
You may just be tiring your muscles. Some authorities advocate only using "just" enough L-H finger pressure to produce a clean tone, others (e.g. Julian Bream) have commented that many modern players do not generally use enough pressure. Whatever the case, it is useful to discover exactly how much is needed and to periodically and consciously adjust to that level when playing.

Your thumb may not be presented to the neck efficiently. Again, by saying "just the top half" touches is not sufficient information to diagnose the problem. Assuming you mean the tip segment, is it touching closer to the tip or or joint, is t touching in the centre of the "pad" or have you allowed the thumb to rotate such that it touches on the side somewhat closer to the fingers? Where is you thumb in relation to the fingers- opposite 1st or between 1st and 2nd , or opposite 2nd or even further into the palm?

How is your wrist presented to the instrument? Angle of guitar neck? Does the problem occur in general playing or worse for barre operations?

How thick (or deep) is you guitar neck. Surprisingly very thin necks can cause greater problems than standard ones - there is an optimal thickness for maximum power.

All of above, and more, are things that I as a teacher would automatically ascertain before even attempting to diagnose such a problem with a pupil. I write all this illustrate the relative absurdity, or rather the difficulty, in using forums such as this for this kind of diagnosis.

The fact is that in the course of normal playing operations (i.e. without excessive use of barres or excessive periods of playing) and if playing material that is suitable to your technical level you should NOT be having this problem. It does need to be sorted, but you ought to consult a qualified teacher.
Last edited by R.Christie at Nov 4, 2008,