Left hand pain

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

Left hand pain

Post by SyedAdnan10 » Thu May 03, 2007 9:11 am

i was having problems with my net connections and my pc.good to be back on the forum. :D

i'm having problems with my left hand now.i feel pain in the mid part of my arm after playing a few minutes.i'm working on it.otherwise i've become quite comfortable in the classical position with my acoustic steel string guitar. any advice on that?


Post by carlos » Thu May 03, 2007 12:41 pm

I haven't played and acoustic guitar for a while, but I wonder if it actually suits the classical position.

I have seen some with much larger bodies (or wider in the middle) than standard classical guitars.
On top of that, fretboards tend to be narrower and my impression is that there is much less space than in a classical guitar.

Also, have you checked you are adopting the right position (when I started, I remember I used to lean the guitar towards my body so that I could see the fretboard, and my elbow would also be too far from the guitar.

If you are teaching yourself, try to keep checking your position with a mirror, and also take breaks if you feel pain to avoid injury.


Post by jfdana » Thu May 03, 2007 2:42 pm

I played steel string in classical position whenever I played steel. Classical position seems better ergonomically as one's shoulders can be level and the torso needs not twist to the right.

I finally gave up steel as the increased string pressure on my left hand began to cause problems.

Pain is a sign that something is wrong. This would be a good time for a lesson or two to check position or a visit to a physician or physical therapist who works with musicians.

A useful book is: "You Are Your Instrument," Lieberman, Huiksi Music, 1991, which examines ways to reduce tension while playing, as well as stretches to balance the muscle contractions of playing.



Post by roninartist » Thu May 03, 2007 3:06 pm

the tension on the strings of a steel string guitar is much higher than a nylon. so basically its like you're going from benching 150 lbs to 200. I switch back and forth regularly and basically have to string some extra light strings on my acoustics, and make sure the action is very low. The funny thing though is after some finger picking on the acoustic steel, when i go back to playing nylon, its almost effortless. Almost like strength training for guitar. I do notice however, with prolonged playing on my steel strings, the callouses developed on my left hand will shred off so i'd be careful with that.


Post by SyedAdnan10 » Thu May 03, 2007 4:32 pm

thanks for the advises.i try to reach the most comfortable classical posture whenever i sit to play.i'll try to buy a CG as soon as possible.but for the time being i have no other option.i'm getting accostumed playing with my accoustic guitar.will there be a problem in both the hands if i switch to a classical guitar after reaching a certain level where i can play grade 5 pieces?

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Post by Jeremiah Lawson » Thu May 03, 2007 5:31 pm

I've looked at your RH study plans from another thread and now that I know you're playing on steel strings I'd advise you to spend less time on the right hand studies. Not that they're bad by themselves but the chord formations are so repetitively used they may be contributing to your pain.

I started off playing steel stringed guitars and I, too, learned classical techniques and started on classical repertoire. Until you can afford a bona fide classical, as painful as this may seem to you for developing your classical technique, you should seriously consider cutting the time of your practice sessions in half. A half hour would be a lot healthier for you than an hour if you're attempting to employ classical techniques on a steel string for all the reasons already mentioned.

One advantage of steel string playing is the callouses you get playing simple rhythm stuff and barre chords get so strong that you never have to worry about losing your callouses on the left hand once you switch over to classical.


Post by roninartist » Thu May 03, 2007 7:22 pm

I agree, another big thing is the neck of the steelstring is much more narrow than a classical, so switching to a classical might be a "stretch" for you. I played classical for several years before going to play steel for a couple years and coming back, I tend to fare better on classicals with a slightly slimmer necks.


Post by SyedAdnan10 » Fri May 04, 2007 9:59 am

Comment on my left hand position and the overall positioning of the guitar.
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Post by Kamil_D » Fri May 04, 2007 12:17 pm

I cannot comment your left hand, I'm not prof, but I think it could be helpful to send a photo where your fingers are stretched over a few frets. On the other hand, I think that your right hand is not in a good position, it should be straight, not bent down. Look here: http://www.learnclassicalguitar.com/ima ... on%202.jpg

Maybe try to have the guitar's neck higher, it is "almost" in horizontal position, which forces you to bend your body and the left hand more then usual.


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Post by nader » Fri May 04, 2007 1:02 pm

Hi syedadnan10,
I have a site to learning classical guitar ( http://www.nadercg.com ) for beginners and more information for more than beginners. I creat a part on my site specially for beginners to learn step by step. I add a study for posture ( how to sit and hold the guitar) and study for right hand, and study for left hand under construction. So if you can waite, I'll talk about your problem. Generally, the right playing ( without any pain ) start from the first step "the posture" if your posture is mistake this will lead you to faulty technique so after you have a right posture you must to have a right position and right movement for left hand and right hand. The main gola of playing is without any tension and pain in the muscles.
" Don't measure the distance you are going to cross."


Your wrist is locked and too tight.

Post by davina » Fri May 04, 2007 2:04 pm

syedadnan10 wrote:Comment on my left hand position and the overall positioning of the guitar.
Your wrist is locked and too tight. That is what I can see immediately. It is like when you first learn, for example. a new sport and you hold on too tightly. You need to trust more and think "tension and release", not just tension that keeps building.

John Frost

Left hand pain

Post by John Frost » Sat May 05, 2007 3:41 am

For: syedadnan10,
John Armstrong has a series of video postings on "expert village". He shows very well good posture and right hand positioning. Hope this helps you. Good luck with your studies. Just click on the link.
http://www.expertvillage.com/videos/cla ... -intro.htm


Post by kfisherx » Sat May 05, 2007 5:29 am

The headstock is too low and there is huge amounts of tension in your LH. That is why you are developing this pain. That is the begining of carpal or RSI and is very dangerous to guitarists. Fix your basic position as a first priority and make sure you begin at grade level one pieces. Playing grade 4 or higher pieces when first starting is a large reason why people develop tension in their playing Instead start at level one. Concentrate on being relaxed in the left hand when you play these pieces. Play the notes with so little tension that they begin to buzz. When you can play like that without pain then start to add more pressure.


Post by SyedAdnan10 » Sat May 05, 2007 7:29 am

thank you everyone for your precious advice. today i practiced with keeping my fingerboard higher and i didn't feel any pain.but later when i sat again the pain came back.i'll try my best to be comfortable from now on.


Post by SyedAdnan10 » Wed May 09, 2007 5:59 pm

At last!i have found my comfortable position. the left hand pain is no more.i found a posture which is comfortable for both my hands.now i can go for my goal.this forum is great!i think without this i would lose my enthusiasm and will.thank you guys.

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