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> Left Hand Cramp, I think I'm killing my strings =D
thefireball
post May 27 2011, 02:42 PM
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Hey GMC!

I notice that when I'm doing a lot of rhythms for recordings and such my fretting hand gets really cramped and hurts. This especially is noticed when I'm fretting power chords. Am I too tense? I just wanted another opinion. Anything I can do to help stop the tensing, except concentrating on relaxing? smile.gif Perhaps imagine the guitar is extremely fragile? laugh.gif (I wonder what Ben would say to that.)

By the way, I stop to give my hands a break when the pain comes. I'm stretching them right now.


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Ben Higgins
post May 27 2011, 03:09 PM
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Hey Brandon.. when I record I'm usually more tense because of the pressure of wanting to get it right. I usually record sat down when I'm first sketching out a tune too.. I usually find that my picking arm gets sore and tense as opposed to my fretting hand. We're all different I guess wink.gif

Do you record sat down ? A lot of tension also begins in our necks and shoulders and travels down through our arms.. so make sure you stretch out your neck, shoulders and back and try and feel loose all the way down to your fingers.

Generally, when we're consciously trying to avoid playing mistakes we will tense up.. because we associate being loose and carefree with the possibility of sloppy technique or playing wrong notes.

When I find myself getting too tense, I stop.. do the usual routine we all do, shake our hands out etc... but what I find myself doing recently is to think of something funny (like a movie or comedian's joke) that makes me laugh. It helps me feel less serious and uptight. I do this when I'm having trouble with recording a video.. it makes me feel like 'It doesn't matter, just take it easy' smile.gif

EDIT: Come to think of it, just think of Mudbone's Avatar.. that should do the trick ! laugh.gif (I hope he hasn't changed it now)

This post has been edited by Ben Higgins: May 27 2011, 03:11 PM


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thefireball
post May 27 2011, 03:16 PM
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QUOTE (Ben Higgins @ May 27 2011, 09:09 AM) *
Hey Brandon.. when I record I'm usually more tense because of the pressure of wanting to get it right. I usually record sat down when I'm first sketching out a tune too.. I usually find that my picking arm gets sore and tense as opposed to my fretting hand. We're all different I guess wink.gif

Do you record sat down ? A lot of tension also begins in our necks and shoulders and travels down through our arms.. so make sure you stretch out your neck, shoulders and back and try and feel loose all the way down to your fingers.

Generally, when we're consciously trying to avoid playing mistakes we will tense up.. because we associate being loose and carefree with the possibility of sloppy technique or playing wrong notes.

When I find myself getting too tense, I stop.. do the usual routine we all do, shake our hands out etc... but what I find myself doing recently is to think of something funny (like a movie or comedian's joke) that makes me laugh. It helps me feel less serious and uptight. I do this when I'm having trouble with recording a video.. it makes me feel like 'It doesn't matter, just take it easy' smile.gif

EDIT: Come to think of it, just think of Mudbone's Avatar.. that should do the trick ! laugh.gif (I hope he hasn't changed it now)


Good advice. Some reassurance. I generally record sitting down, but if I'm standing I usually prop up against something because I feel more secure. Haha. Yeah, I'm always wanting to get it right when recording, so I generally tense up more.


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dark dude
post May 27 2011, 03:23 PM
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If you're playing the same exact things, but only cramping when recording, it's most likely down to being too tense. As Ben said, just shake your hands off often, and be sure to warm up well (stretch too!). You only need to push down hard enough to get clear notes, no more, no less!

If it's not just when you're recording, your hands aren't used to it and they'll need some time to adapt to what you're playing. Again, be sure to warm-up and stretch. You'll find it easier to play and there'll be less chance of cramp.


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thefireball
post May 27 2011, 04:00 PM
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Yeah, it seems to happen usually when recording only.


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Ivan Milenkovic
post May 27 2011, 07:34 PM
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Try to imagine it's a tender girl, and you won't have problems biggrin.gif

It's normal thing, specially if you repeat lot of takes. Each next take tends to be a bit more tense. Also, during recording we don't realize, but we are putting lot of strain on the fingers, trying to get it just right. In the process we don't usually stop but push it, push it until we notice that hands are tired. In many cases, first takes are a lot better because of this, cause later ones just sound "tired".

I suggest you chill out a bit, and try it again, but well rehearsed, and well warmed up. It will be OK, just don't overdo it! smile.gif


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thefireball
post May 27 2011, 08:58 PM
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Thank you, Ivan. It all makes sense now. smile.gif


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Todd Simpson
post May 28 2011, 12:53 AM
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Try this.

TAKE YOUR LEFT THUMB OFF THE GUITAR NECK

Yup. Sounds crazy I know. We do this a lot in our Saturday Vid Chat sessions. We call it playing "THUMBLESS". It feels really strange at first. But what it does is allow your hand to find out the minimal amount of pressure required and then it can "Reset" your hand. Once your hand starts to learn that it doesn't need to squeeze, it will stop doing it. This takes a bit of practice of course, but before recording, try playing the part "Thumbless" until you can play it good enough to record that way then gently let your thumb rest back on the neck.

Sounds extreme but I developed this idea/technique to help students with this very problem. It's been working wonders for my students for years. Give it a shot!

Todd


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Mudbone
post May 28 2011, 01:06 AM
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QUOTE (Ben Higgins @ May 27 2011, 10:09 AM) *
EDIT: Come to think of it, just think of Mudbone's Avatar.. that should do the trick ! laugh.gif (I hope he hasn't changed it now)


Don't worry Ben, my avatar ain't going anywhere. Its the only way I'll ever be able to have luscious black locks biggrin.gif

QUOTE (Ivan Milenkovic @ May 27 2011, 02:34 PM) *
Try to imagine it's a tender girl, and you won't have problems biggrin.gif


If I imagine that, it will make another region of my body stiff and tense tongue.gif


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quadrium
post May 28 2011, 01:07 AM
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QUOTE (Ben Higgins @ May 27 2011, 02:09 PM) *
EDIT: Come to think of it, just think of Mudbone's Avatar.. that should do the trick ! laugh.gif (I hope he hasn't changed it now)


Hehe biggrin.gif Good advice Ben smile.gif

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thefireball
post May 28 2011, 01:54 AM
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QUOTE (Todd Simpson @ May 27 2011, 06:53 PM) *
Try this.

TAKE YOUR LEFT THUMB OFF THE GUITAR NECK

Yup. Sounds crazy I know. We do this a lot in our Saturday Vid Chat sessions. We call it playing "THUMBLESS". It feels really strange at first. But what it does is allow your hand to find out the minimal amount of pressure required and then it can "Reset" your hand. Once your hand starts to learn that it doesn't need to squeeze, it will stop doing it. This takes a bit of practice of course, but before recording, try playing the part "Thumbless" until you can play it good enough to record that way then gently let your thumb rest back on the neck.

Sounds extreme but I developed this idea/technique to help students with this very problem. It's been working wonders for my students for years. Give it a shot!

Todd


That's a very good piece of advice! smile.gif I will definitely try that. Thank you so much.


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Todd Simpson
post May 28 2011, 04:02 AM
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Happy to help smile.gif Let me know how it goes!
QUOTE (thefireball @ May 27 2011, 07:54 PM) *
That's a very good piece of advice! smile.gif I will definitely try that. Thank you so much.



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Ivan Milenkovic
post May 28 2011, 04:55 PM
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QUOTE (Mudbone @ May 28 2011, 02:06 AM) *
Don't worry Ben, my avatar ain't going anywhere. Its the only way I'll ever be able to have luscious black locks biggrin.gif



If I imagine that, it will make another region of my body stiff and tense tongue.gif


As long as you can hold guitar in place - don't worry laugh.gif


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