1. #1
    Dear fellows,


    I recently started studying some different chords, trying to go a bit beyond the power chords and the pentatonic scale.


    Usually, I do listen to people complaining about pain in the picking hand or the fingers of the fretboard hand due to significant stretches.
    It isn’t my case, at least not yet.

    However, I do feel strong pain in my fretboard hand’s thumb.

    I am attaching a picture of how I have my thumb in the neck most of the time while playing.


    Do you guys have some advice?


    Thanks in advance for your help.


    Cheers,
    Ivo
    Thumb pain while playing chords-img_3622-jpg

  2.  

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  3. #2

    User Info Menu

    1) 2) You might want to check out the way classical guitarists position their fretting hands. Guitar neck at 45 degrees from horizontal, thumb behind the neck, thumb tip bearing the force and supplying the pivot point behind the neck. There are variations on this, but this is the basic default position. Best of luck!

  4. #3

    User Info Menu

    There is a type of tendinitis guitarists are prone to related to chording. Bear with me.

    Hold your hands in front of you like you are carrying a large box and your fingers are pointing straight forward and your palms face the ceiling. That should be very comfortable. Now keep your arms in that same position but flex your wrist maximally so your thumb and finger point to the ceiling and your palms face your body. That can bring out the pain of tendinitis at the base of your thumb.

    The combination of flexing your wrist like that and opening up the distance between your thumb and index finger does stress that tendon. The worst position for those with this tendinitis is to keep your thumb centered on the back of the neck, to have the neck low, like in front of your heart instead of your throat, and to have a thick neck on your guitar.

    So what to do if you are so afflicted? Change your positioning to be more like a classic player, not a rock star. Center your thumb higher on the back of the neck. Use an instrument with a thinner neck. Wrap your thumb over the neck when you can.

    This is a tough problem.

    Thumb pain while playing chords-2441110045_792c67c077_b-jpgThumb pain while playing chords-christopher-jpg

  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by citizenk74
    1) 2) You might want to check out the way classical guitarists position their fretting hands. Guitar neck at 45 degrees from horizontal, thumb behind the neck, thumb tip bearing the force and supplying the pivot point behind the neck. There are variations on this, but this is the basic default position. Best of luck!

    Thank you citizenk74,

    I'll try to make some adjustments.

    Cheers,
    Ivo

  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Grass
    There is a type of tendinitis guitarists are prone to related to chording. Bear with me.

    Hold your hands in front of you like you are carrying a large box and your fingers are pointing straight forward and your palms face the ceiling. That should be very comfortable. Now keep your arms in that same position but flex your wrist maximally so your thumb and finger point to the ceiling and your palms face your body. That can bring out the pain of tendinitis at the base of your thumb.

    The combination of flexing your wrist like that and opening up the distance between your thumb and index finger does stress that tendon. The worst position for those with this tendinitis is to keep your thumb centered on the back of the neck, to have the neck low, like in front of your heart instead of your throat, and to have a thick neck on your guitar.

    Thank you Marty Grass,

    I did the test and indeed I do feel the pain.
    I already adjust my guitar strap, although I never had my guitar like Jimmy Page. I don't know how he can play like that :-)

    I'll also try to find a hand doctor or a physiotherapist.


    Cheers,
    Ivo

  7. #6

    User Info Menu

    It looks like you have thick strong hands, but also maybe somewhat short fingers (maybe?)

    It also looks like your guitar neck is right over your thigh.

    I also wonder if you are playing new and unfamiliar chords that are causing you to grip hard?

    I also wonder if your scale length might be a bit long for your hands - given the chords you are trying to play now?

    So,
    Angle the neck up,
    Don't grip too hard,
    Assess the guitar scale length relative to your hand length - do you need a shorter scale?,
    Be mindful of the chords and their required stretches and contortions - and be patient. Give yourself time to work them up - AND - discard any grips that really disagree with your hand. The jazz guitar police have no jurisdiction to arrest you.

  8. #7
    Hi Jazzstdnt,

    Your description of my hands is perfect. :-)
    Indeed I don't see myself as some with long fingers.
    Usually, I do feel a bit more comfortable with 25" (PRS) scale than with 25.5" (Fender).
    However, I think that 25.5" sounds a bit better for my years.

    Nevertheless, I am following your advice, I did put the guitar a bit up and angle the neck more.

    Thank you very much for your help.

    Cheers,
    Ivo