Left hand cramp

Ergonomics and Posture for Classical Guitarists, Aches and Pains, Injuries, etc...
phossill

Left hand cramp

Post by phossill » Tue Apr 17, 2007 8:10 pm

I get discomfort in my left hand after playing for 20 or so minutes. I feel the cause is excessive pressure exerted on the fingerboard. Problem is when I loosen my hand I don't get clean sounding notes. What to do?

Norman Spencer

Left Hand Discomfort

Post by Norman Spencer » Tue Apr 17, 2007 8:33 pm

If you search this site you will find that you are not alone. This topic has been discussed quite a bit.

Some suggestions that have been passed around are:

(1) Warm up before playing. A good warm-up for someone with your problem is to play scales very slowly, using just enough pressure to sound the notes with a slight buzz. A 5-10 minute warmup is problably right for you.

(2) Perform a few minutes of stretching exercises before playing. Extend your left arm til the elbow locks, then pull back on the fingers until your carpal ligaments are fully stretched. Hold for 10-20 seconds, repeat using the right hand. Do this 2-4 times. Release the pressure immediately if you feel any pain. Descriptions of more elaborate exercises are easily available if you search.

(3) It may be that the action on your instrument is set too high, requiring excessive pressure to sound the fretted notes. This can adjusted. It is possible to do it yourself, but if you have no experience, you may be wise to find a luthier or local music shop with a good service department to do it for you.

Hope this helps, best of luck with this problem.

Sasquatch51

Post by Sasquatch51 » Tue Apr 17, 2007 8:40 pm

Judging from this thread and your previous one about playing the wrong strings, I would suggest that you need some help with technique and position. Perhaps it would be a good idea for you to find a qualified classical guitar teacher before you do yourself some injury.

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Vesuvio
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Location: Northern England

Post by Vesuvio » Tue Apr 17, 2007 9:06 pm

Hello Phossill,

Sasquatch is right, but you have yourself referred to 'excessive pressure'. It is not a strength exercise, but is really about technique.

Cancon has also given you some sound advice. Play a note repeatedly, barely touching the string at first and then gradually increasing the pressure until you find the minimum pressure that generates a clear tone. Learn what that feels like and make sure you don't keep holding strings down long after you need to.

Best wishes, V
"There are only two things worth aiming for, good music and a clean conscience." Paul Hindemith

clayman

Post by clayman » Tue Apr 17, 2007 9:13 pm

Hi Phossill!

maybe there is something wrong with the way you fret the notes or place
your fingers on the fretboard:
when you place your fingers right behind the nut it's way easier to get a
clear sounding note than placing them at the start of each fret ..

as the others said, having someone who "checks" your technique and
helps you with it might really help you

felix

juggernaut

Post by juggernaut » Wed Apr 18, 2007 12:31 am

it sounds like you are squeezing the fretboard with your thumb and fret fingers. if i understand william kanengiser in his "effortless classical guitar" dvd, you should also be using the weight of your fret-hand arm to fret the notes. you put less strain on your hand and wrist this way.

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Vesuvio
Posts: 14275
Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2006 7:21 pm
Location: Northern England

Post by Vesuvio » Wed Apr 18, 2007 5:08 am

Hello Phossill,

You might find these links useful:

http://www.staffordguitar.com/jamey1.asp
http://www.staffordguitar.com/jamey2.asp

It would be a good idea to subscribe to:

http://www.guitarprinciples.com/

for the monthly newsletter—full of useful hints.

Best wishes, V
"There are only two things worth aiming for, good music and a clean conscience." Paul Hindemith

nikolas

Post by nikolas » Wed Apr 18, 2007 9:02 am

...thanks Vesuvio....that guitar principles site is a nice discovery :)

jafrasher

Post by jafrasher » Thu Apr 19, 2007 7:00 pm

Applying just enough force to stop the string from buzzing worked wonders for me.

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