Pain in right arm/wrist/palm

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

Re: Pain in right arm/wrist/palm

Post by DuanePitre » Thu Apr 30, 2015 1:54 pm


this is basically how I play, using both as you've said. Surely I can't state if I'm using each one in the proper "ratio" (if you will) as I haven't been shown in person (from a teacher) if what I"m doing is OK. That was my thoughts, that just using the large knuckle just wasn't proper.

But yeah, all depending on what I'm playing (arpeggio, plain ole free strokes, rest strokes), the ratio of middle knuckle and large knuckle usage changes. And it's happening in a natural way that I'm not thinking about.....

I have to find a teacher, just have to. Getting frustrated on that front as two that looked as good teachers for me haven't replied to my emails. Ugh

Thanks much,


Re: Pain in right arm/wrist/palm

Post by DuanePitre » Thu Apr 30, 2015 2:03 pm


I looked at the index of each book and I think you're right on target with these. I am currently using a combination of books and exercises to study right now (Noad solo guitar book 1, Segovia scales, Giuliani 120 right hand excercises and his 25 etudes). But these books cover things that are non-existent in the Noad book.

Giving my situation, and the literature I've listed, which book would you start with first of the two? I'm currently not able to afford to buy both (though I'll check the university library where I work too)



Re: Pain in right arm/wrist/palm

Post by DuanePitre » Thu Apr 30, 2015 3:33 pm


Never-mind, I went ahead and ordered both books :D

A couple less beers in exchange for taking care of my health and playing ability!

Thanks for the recommendations...I really like the looks of what I saw in the index(s) and they'll be nice additions to what I already own (book-wise)


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Re: Pain in right arm/wrist/palm

Post by Kevin L Benbow » Thu Apr 30, 2015 4:18 pm

I see that you said you are just beginning to play. Have you played other genres of music?

You might also take a look at your guitar. I just received a new instrument that I had placed on layaway after playing it extensively in the store. The store shipped it to me. Sometime between the date I played it and the time it arrived the neck warped ever so slightly. That combined with an already high action (set that way from the factory) made it murder on my hands to play in mid to upper registers, with noticeable resistance in the lower. Thankfully, it has a truss rod and is in the shop as we speak. My other guitar has a low action (4mm bass E, 3mm treble E) at 12th fret.

At any rate, I have been playing various genres since I was a little kid (I'm now pushing 50). So I recommend getting an experienced, bona fide classical guitar teacher and having him or her look at your setup.
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Re: Pain in right arm/wrist/palm

Post by DuanePitre » Thu Apr 30, 2015 8:49 pm

Hi Kevin,

Thanks for the message. I've been playing elec guitar for 20 years. So plenty of experience in the self-taught world, ha! The instrument I got froma friend and it's not warped or the like. I think it's for other reasons (either playing too long and/or not properly.



Re: Pain in right arm/wrist/palm

Post by DuanePitre » Fri May 01, 2015 12:15 am

Hey Mark (or anyone who cares to comment!),

You mentioned uploading photos and video. Below are some photos of my right-hand position as well as two video links (one of rest strokes and one of a simple arpeggio and some free strokes). If you or anyone else can comment and let me know if either my hand position is bad, or how I'm using my large/top and middle knuckles are improper (too much middle, not enough upper, etc) I'd greatly appreciate it.


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Re: Pain in right arm/wrist/palm

Post by markodarko » Wed May 06, 2015 3:38 am

DuanePitre wrote:You mentioned uploading photos...
Hi Duane,

Couldn't see your videos as it said I had to "sign in" to see the video(?), in any case, I think this photo illustrates a potential problem...
Looks like your tendons are being squished by the edge of your guitar right in the most sensitive part of your arm. Try adjusting your posture / guitar so that your elbow moves downward and your hand moves up towards the sound hole a bit more so that the point of rest is nearer your elbow as your tendons are less exposed higher up. You can feel this yourself if you press with your thumb near your wrist and wiggle your fingers then gradually move your thumb up towards your elbow - near your wrist you'll feel your tendons clearly but near your elbow there's a muscle which masks them.

I see that you have very long forearms so you may need to play around a bit to get to an optimal position, but resting on your tendons is not going to help you - you will probably feel tingling in your fingers when you play like this also.

If you can't get a comfortable position and your arm still rests where it is currently, try buying a padded forearm sleeve such as those used in certain sports:
Screen Shot 2015-05-06 at 04.34.32.png
Hope that helps,

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Re: Pain in right arm/wrist/palm

Post by ronjazz » Thu May 07, 2015 12:22 am

I think Mark has a very good point; the books you have ordered will assist you greatly. I have been playing for 50 years (!) and developed a neurological condition called focal dystonia some years ago, and these books have been very helpful in retraining my mechanism (body) and in allowing my technique to reappear. The Berg book is especially insightful, while the Shearer book is immensely practical; the two are a great pair, especially since Berg studied with Shearer.

I would also recommend watching the videos of Jorge Caballero on youtube, he appears to have a similar long forearm to yours, and positions the guitar and his arms a little differently from what we usually see. He possesses a very advanced technique, and might be a good model for you.
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Re: Pain in right arm/wrist/palm

Post by AndreiKrylov » Sat May 09, 2015 3:38 pm

Hi Duane,
you probably could improve your right hand position a bit, but as far as pain I think it is probably by 2 reasons.
1. Right hand overwork... mouse, keyboards 8 hours a day + guitar...
2. I suspect that you (your hands) are not relaxed when you play guitar...

I will recommend :
1. Relax when you play, relax your mind, body and hands
2. put as less tension on strings as possible
a) put normal tension strings if you have high tension strings now
b) make action (distance between string an frets) as short as possible
c) even tune strings down half tone or even tone

I have seen guitarists who play in all kind of (hand) positions sometimes seems to be very wrong and uncomfortable, and yet they play well,relaxed, and enjoyed it... and I saw guitarists who played in perfect like position, but had some complaints, issues, pain, carpal tunnel and did not enjoyed what they do...
Seems like position is important , but not everything...

Myself I never had any problems with my hands in almost 50 years of playing, except when I had traumas/accidents or was bitten by insects etc.
Good luck!


Re: Pain in right arm/wrist/palm

Post by DuanePitre » Sun May 10, 2015 3:05 am

Thanks, Andrei

All makes sense to me. Know that I have a teacher is is very in Shearer method I believe this will help with my tension probs.


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Re: Pain in right arm/wrist/palm

Post by D.Cass » Sun May 31, 2015 3:25 am

Just looking at the pictures, the video doesn't seem to work, You have a slight deviation in the wrist. You may need to arch your wrist little, so the tendons are not rubbing against the Carpal Tunnel. If you notice your knuckles are raised of the wrist, this exerts more tension than needed. It looks like you have found a teacher so hopefully you guys can correct the issue.


Re: Pain in right arm/wrist/palm

Post by alfonso » Sun May 31, 2015 4:08 am

Duane you issue isn't to do with work you do rather than the guitar?


Re: Pain in right arm/wrist/palm

Post by LindaRKV » Sun May 31, 2015 8:38 am

Try seating yourself for your practice sessions in front of a mirror so you can objectively check your position.


Re: Pain in right arm/wrist/palm

Post by DuanePitre » Mon Jun 01, 2015 7:24 pm

alfonso wrote:Duane you issue isn't to do with work you do rather than the guitar?

It took some time to figure out, but yes, I believe it is because of my work. In the past month I've gotten a new ergonomic mouse and keyboard and have changed my chair setting and posture. It seems to be getting better, slowly. At this point I
ve not any pain, but I can tell the issue is still healing itself.

Thanks for your response


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Re: Pain in right arm/wrist/palm

Post by Marshall Dixon » Mon Jun 01, 2015 7:50 pm

Do you have problems at the computer? You hinted at this and I have terrible problems with numbness and cramps when I use one. "Pain Free at Your PC," by Pete Egoscue might be availble in your local library. He deals with the chronic pain issues around that subject.


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