I've got a problem with my right hand

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

I've got a problem with my right hand

Post by liranm » Tue Nov 13, 2007 7:23 pm

Hello there folks!
I have a problem with my right hand - it's not with playing, it's just the look of my right hand, the wrist is twisted too much while playing, I tried to avoid it but I can't.
Is it a bad thing?

if you don't know what i'm talking about, here is a link to a video I posted on youtube, so you can see what i'm talking about:

[yutube: "Liran plays "Lied der Wildrose""]

People have told me it looks weird and that's how I noticed it and I see other people's right hand looks different - which is more beautiful to the eye. Also I have to say that I never took guitar lessons (i'm self taught) so maybe I didn't learn the basic stuff and I just play less than a year classical music(before i just played eletctric)

I hope you can help me and give me tips how to avoid this - and even if it's ok to keep playing like that - since I don't feel pain or anything

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Michael.N.
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Re: I've got a problem with my right hand

Post by Michael.N. » Tue Nov 13, 2007 9:26 pm

You're playing the 'old fashioned' way. That is the way I was taught and you already know that your wrist is 'twisted' and not in line with the forearm. Unfortunately it can lead to some serious problems, maybe sometime in the future but it's virtually impossible to predict if it will happen. Some guitarists can play with the most odd and uncomfortable looking positions yet never suffer from tension or injuries. Others are not so fortunate.
I think it might be worth going to a good teacher, if only for a few lessons just to check your technique and perhaps give you ideas on how to procede.
Historicalguitars.

michaelferris

Re: I've got a problem with my right hand

Post by michaelferris » Tue Nov 13, 2007 9:31 pm

Hello Liranm!!! Shalom! (Don't mind my little bit of Hebrew. I always like trying out the little bit that I can. My wife studies Hebrew very much as a hobby. I actually speak Arabic, and although the languages are completely different, I still find the gramatical structures and some of the words very similar.)

Well, I have to say, for being self taught you are quite a wonder! In any case, I don't think there is anything "wrong" with the way you play. It does get the job done, yet looking at your video, it seems that you are straining a bit. Is your hand at all tense? I mean, you should keep your hand steady, but at the same time you cannot force it. I am only going by what I see in the videos, but I can actually see muscles in your arm flexing. This is a sign of tension. But, it could also be that I am judging badly through the video. Well, anyways, enough talk and more to the point. Here is what you can do for the perfect hand position: First, lay your arm over the guitar, resting your elbow on the guitar as would would normally, but completely relaxed. Just sit there a moment without any energy in your arm at all, letting it almost hang. After this, bring the arm up over the strings without any tension or using any muscles. This should be the perfect hand position. When you start to play, it should be as if you are "zapping a frog with a battery," the "frog" being your hand. The right hand has to be "as dead as fish, that still moves"(Don't mind my analogies, they are crude but get the job done when explaining) There should be little jolts of energy in your hand, yet between each one, there has to be a feeling of complete relaxation. It wouldn't hurt to even take a few lessons to set yourself straight in any case though.
Remember, when you change something as significant as hand position when you play, it may seem a little foreign to you at the beginning. In order to overcome this, you must practice incredibly slowly(slow-motion) and go back and do some simpler pieces(not necessarily tremolo, for this require a perfect hand position already and it does not allow you to concentrate at the problem at hand). Just remember, sometimes, in order to jump forward, it is necessary to take a few steps backwards first. Great luck and keep up the wonderful work!

Azalais

Re: I've got a problem with my right hand

Post by Azalais » Tue Nov 13, 2007 10:51 pm

Hi Liran

I had to edit your message to remove the URL, because based on your comments, the piece you were playing is probably protected by copyright... (the forum rules don't permit direct links to protected material, even if they are still on Youtube)

This topic has been discussed at some length, so maybe if you try the forum search function, you can find some of the older discussions. (try searching for the words "Segovia RH angle" (use all terms) )?

meiguoren

Re: I've got a problem with my right hand

Post by meiguoren » Wed Nov 14, 2007 3:54 am

Hello Liranm,

I watched you play some pieces on Youtube, and for a person who was "self -taught", you play very well. I encourage you strongly to study under a quality teacher since your level of sheer raw talent for the classical guitar appears greater than most people. I would like very much to see your right hand wrist bend get straightened out, especially since you play so many tremolo pieces. I am worried about potential future wrist (carpal tunnel) problems you might have if you continue to play with it bent. I had a student who had the same problem - her right wrist bent badly (even more than yours). She developed the problem as most people do by not knowing any better and she got into a habit of playing in that position. She could play with it straight in the lessons after I brought it to her attention. To fix it she simply moved her arm back at bit, and then slid it down the the lower bout of the guitar an inch or so until her wrist naturally straightened out. Then she would go home and forget to watch her wrist and we'd have to fix it again at her next lesson. It will take constant awareness on your part to fix something so ingrained. You might try playing in front of a mirror and adjust your arm until you can see your wrist becoming straighter.

I hope you can fix it because you are a marvelous young player who can avoid some potential serious injury now. I also hope you get some training under a teacher, at least for a while. Being self-taught as you are is an amazing accomplishment and with your natural talent, I can easily see you taking it to the next level under the guidance of professional teacher. :D

liranm

Re: I've got a problem with my right hand

Post by liranm » Wed Nov 14, 2007 12:29 pm

Thanks for all your advices my friends!
If it can make serious problems in the future, I must change it now.
after reading what you told me to do i tried to get my right hand position right, I just moved my arm back a little, and it looked like i'm playing like everyone else, but it's not easy my playing is so bad now, but it's natural I just need to practice with this right hand position, it won't be easy but I really really hope to get better. I'm planning to get a teacher, at first I thought it was a waste of money since you can study all from the internet but it's not like that, you do need someone to guide you the right way. but here i'm a bit screwed now, but i'm trying to solve this problem :) I have a big passion to play guitar good and I guess I'll do whatever it takes to do so! Thanks again :D

joojie

Re: I've got a problem with my right hand

Post by joojie » Fri Nov 16, 2007 12:04 am

Hi there Liran
I'm new to the forum, and was very interested your question..
For the longest time I had exactly the same worry about my right hand! My wrist also looked twisted. I looked at guitarists on youtube and elsewhere to compare techniques. I actually found you on youtube and felt much better because you were one of the few players whose right hand looked similar to mine! And you played so well.
My teacher helped position my right hand 2/3 years ago when I started learning. He said that I must keep my wrist 'high' and not to flatten it out. This tends to create that angle that we think looks so different. I've found that holding my wrist high makes a big difference to the sound. Much richer and fuller when I make a kind of 'convex' shape over the sound hole of the guitar.Also, maybe it has to do with the length of one's forearm in relation to the body of the guitar? At any rate, I am much more relaxed about it now-I tried so hard to alter it, but the playing really suffered, and my teacher reassures me that it's not at all damaging. What feels natural must surely be the best position to the individual. You play beautifully- I wish I could improve so fast!
All the best

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Vesuvio
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Re: I've got a problem with my right hand

Post by Vesuvio » Fri Nov 16, 2007 6:22 am

Hello Joojie,

I notice you have only just joined us. Welcome! If you have time please visit the Introduce Yourself area where you might like to tell us a little about your musical background and interests,

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

duncan

Re: I've got a problem with my right hand

Post by duncan » Mon Nov 19, 2007 12:03 am

Does anyone have any idea about how common problems from this are? I took lessons from a pretty well respected young guitarist a few years ago, and one of the things he had me do was start playing with a really pronounced arch in the wrist. It definitely improved my tone, but I wouldn't want to develop tendinitis. Are there generally warning signs before a problem develops, or does it creep up on you so that it is too late before you realize it?

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Vesuvio
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Re: I've got a problem with my right hand

Post by Vesuvio » Mon Nov 19, 2007 6:47 am

Hello Duncan,
duncan wrote:...Are there generally warning signs before a problem develops, or does it creep up on you so that it is too late before you realize it?
I'm not a doctor, but personal experience of similar conditions leads me to think these conditions develop over time and you would be aware of problems in time to react. I think arching the wrist is less of a risk than flexing it to the right, but find time for gentle stretching before you play (and take breaks to do some more),

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

duncan

Re: I've got a problem with my right hand

Post by duncan » Mon Nov 19, 2007 4:18 pm

Vesuvio wrote:
I'm not a doctor, but personal experience of similar conditions leads me to think these conditions develop over time and you would be aware of problems in time to react. I think arching the wrist is less of a risk than flexing it to the right, but find time for gentle stretching before you play (and take breaks to do some more),

Best wishes, V
OK, thanks for the reply- I think I will continue to play with the arch for the moment and pay attention to how it feels.

DeMonford

Re: I've got a problem with my right hand

Post by DeMonford » Thu Nov 22, 2007 3:45 pm

Watch the little finger of the right hand. it is sticking up in the air when you play. this will create tension in the long run. it took a long time for me to get past doing that myself. good luck

duncan

Re: I've got a problem with my right hand

Post by duncan » Sun Nov 25, 2007 1:21 am

DeMonford wrote:Watch the little finger of the right hand. it is sticking up in the air when you play. this will create tension in the long run. it took a long time for me to get past doing that myself. good luck
Yes, actually this is something I have been working on lately. I wasn't aware that it put you more at risk for right hand problems, but I've been doing a lot of "very slow" practice lately, and I am becoming more sensitive to how the "English Teacup" style.. hmm, not sure how to put it, but when I play very slowly I can feel the way that it adversely affects right hand technique. Not only is it extra motion, it feels like it adds tension to the RH tendons. So I guess it makes sense that it would also increase the risk of RSI problems. Thanks- I will pay more attention to that in the future. Though I've gotten over it for the most part, I am finding it a very difficult problem to fix, in a few situations.

cn90

Re: I've got a problem with my right hand

Post by cn90 » Sun May 04, 2008 2:04 am

Liran,

Great job on youtube. Certainly your electric guitar backgrounds helped you learn CG faster than others.

Look up David Russell and John Williams on youtube to see their hand positions. They have excellent hand positions from anatomical and medical standpoints.

You are doing fine. Just do not bend the wrist any more than that.
Actually Segovia bent his wrist significantly, look at some youtube clips!!!

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