Happy day after Memorial Day! I hope you all had wonderful holiday. I was lucky enough to have an extended holiday up in the mountains at my parents cabin where I could just relax and have fun. No Internet and no guitar and I needed to take a break from both.
My thumb on my left hand has been really hurting lately, probably because I’m gripping the guitar too tightly when I’m playing, so stepping away from the instrument help me re-evaluate some technique like I vowed in a past rant, “Back to the Basics.” Anyway, I just picked up the axe this evening and it felt good! Didn’t really worry about how well I played because I broke a nail last week and still getting used to picking with skin instead of nail. I did become aware that I’m contorting my thumb a bit behind the neck which is possibly contributing to my problem. I read somewhere that when you play, you should keep your thumb in line with your index and middle fingers. For a better analogy, act like you were holding a piece of paper between your fingers. What I was doing was moving my thumb way out of place putting a strain on the muscles. That along with gripping so tight, I did a little bit of damage but I’ve had these issues before and must have fallen into bad habits again. Yet another reason why I should start taking lessons again.
So the mantra this week is to play relaxed, play relaxed, breathe in, breathe out…….. Ahhhhhh…… much better.
Sorry to read about your sore thumb. I hope your efforts to stay relaxed continue to work for you. I’ve read the same thing about relaxing. For me, it is tension in the shoulders. Who would have though that tensing up at the shoulder could have such affect on fretting, strumming or fingerpicking? When I find that playing just isn’t going as smoothly as it should, I try to make sure I’m relaxed up there just below the neck. More times than not, that’s all I need to do.
Thanks Amish, I’m getting better need to take more rests and I need to keep reminding myself to breathe.
Pain in left hand thumb is common when using too much pressure. Try changing chord using the relax, switch, touch method. The point being, only move the fingers when the hand is relaxed, and think of it as touching the fretboard, rather than pressing. Not easy when playing, I know only too well, but try the excersise in isolation, then maybe during pieces.
Also, the left hand barre is the main contributer to LH pain. Practise barre playing by lifting the LH thumb off the neck altogether, to prove the left fingers and arm are contributing to the action, rather then just the thumb. Good luck.
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