Wrist pain


New to forum. I've been playing for years and have always had a problem with wrist pain in my left (fretting) hand, and recently in my elbow too. It's especially bad playing bar chords near the top of the neck, and playing power chords in general (I'm playing mostly electric now). I try so hard to keep my wrist straight but can't seem to do it. I have a brace too. Sometimes I see people playing power chords even with their guitars slung low, and they seem to be able to keep their wrist straight or even bend it the other way a bit. Eg. Keith Richards. Is this because their fingers are bigger? Are my fingers too small to do this, maybe? I guess slinging the guitar higher would probably help, but I guess I want to look "cool" and have it lower, dumb as that may sound. But if it's not possible, I'll just have to put my guitar up high like they did in the early 60's (and maybe buy a mod suit). Anyways, any help on this or just comments would be much appreciated.



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Sounds like carpal tunnel syndrome.( a repetitive motion problem) May help to see a dr. and get a proper diagnosis .

I used to find it very difficult to play a low slung guitar, so you are not alone.
I don't think it's anything to do with short fingers, just an odd wrist angle.

I play bass (meaning a long neck and big stretches) and have had this problem a bit as well (to the point of losing the ability to press the strings down mid-set!). I'm sure you've tried this, but I now tend to have my bass low-slung but the neck quite a steep angle, this seems to put the fretting hand on it's side as opposed to horizontal which I find helps. Thinking about it, Slash and Zakk Wylde, to name two, tend to solo near vertical.

Bill Wyman used to play his bass at an upright angle, but according to his autobiography he did this to shield his eyes (using the headstock) from the lights so he could eye up all the 13 year old , sorry i mean 16 year old girls in the audience, so he could entice them back stage for a nosh, sorry i mean 'some' nosh and a good old rogering.... aledgedly.
Good clean fun compared to what Motley Crue used to get up to.
I suppose everyone has heard the Taco's in the back of the van story???

Yup, and having smelt a 'Taco-bell' I can imagine it was quite effective...

and, back to serious, I agree with myfoot; this makes me think of carpal tunnel syndrome. I know the subject has come up and been talked over at length a while back. If required, I'll have a look for the thread that first alerted me to the condition.

Hi guys,

Thanks for the responses. I actually got tested for carpal tunnel a few years ago, but it was negative. So I guess it's just "tendonitis", meaning pain in the area. I'll try tilting the neck higher - Chuck Berry did that I think. I just can't seem to get my wrist straight for bar and power chords especially on the 6th string no matter how hard I try. Getting some instruction would probably be an idea, but right now I'm stuck at home due to illness. Anyhow, I'll keep trying new things.

ps what's the tacos story?

Adrian, we had a poster here, a guitar tutor, called Bob Houston. He hasn't chimed in lately, but look up his details here; I'm sure he'd help. Also, there's a fairly new member "Michael Ferris" who's had extensive, classical training and possibly had to deal with tendon-crunch in his time. Finally, you could also do well to talk to Acoustica1 of this forum. Fingerlock hits many a good player.

ps, I did a search on Crue, tacos, etc and didn't get the titillation I hoped for. Instead, I got six moped riders lifting their visors, splodging my stained-glass door with zitpuss and claiming that I'd placed an order for chicken fajitas.

Adrian check out the Building the Ergonomic Guitar blog at http://buildingtheergonomicguitar.com/ - it's not just about building - there are several articles on there that might interest you.

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