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Left hand pain thinking of going short scale everything

 
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edsdds
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Joined: 02 Dec 2015
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 30, 2016 4:06 pm    Post subject: Left hand pain thinking of going short scale everything Reply with quote

So I think the 20+ years of typing on a computer are catching up to me. When I play guitar now I get a pain behind my thumb from the grip on the neck.

I notice that it bother me more on my Strat and my Taylor 114. On my Epi LP it doesn't bother me as much to the point of having to stop.

Anyway I do want an acoustic of some sort and a single coil guitar as well. I am thinking of getting a GS Mini to replace my 114 and looking into a Modern Player Jaguar or Mustang with P90s to have a single coil'ish sound on a guitar to replace the strat.

Has anyone ever gone to short scale for comfort or easier playing?

Thanks
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Gabriel
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 30, 2016 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If it's pain behind the thumb you may be applying too much pressure with your thumb. I've had problems with tendonitis in my thumb joint as I was pressing down really hard to try and get notes to ring clearly. You should be able to take your thumb totally off the neck and still be able to play.

It might be worth trying lighter string gauges as generally the shorter scale length will be giving you a lighter tension, and that's why you won't be having as much trouble with your thumb.

/I'm a full time musician-guitar teacher
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chemistforhire
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 30, 2016 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think scale length is going to have much of an impact apart from being able to adjust string tension. Short scales only make stretch chords (chords with notes 5 frets apart from each other) easier but makes bunched up chords further up the neck harder, imo. I think changing neck girth, shape and radius will have more of an impact than changing scale length.
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edsdds
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 30, 2016 4:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the info. I am going to revisit this then. Maybe the LP is better setup and playing easier and the other two with higher action and a bigger neck plus me pressing too hard are causing this.

Thanks again
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paul_
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 30, 2016 6:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I get the same pain, it started in my late 20s and I get it after playing for about 30 min unless I warm up and stretch, like boring old guys will tell you when you first start playing and you think "pffffffft".

Going with a smaller neck might actually make it worse. My Jag-Stang is pretty much a write-off to me because of this... the neck is too small, and cramps my hand up like a motherfucker unless I'm just playing power chords on it.
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George
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2016 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

for me its a bunch of factors usually pertaining to the balance between scale/profile/nut width

that is to say a a strat scale with wide nut and chunky profile will cause me grief, and a shortscale with narrow nut and shallow profile will cause me a different sort of grief

i don't really get on with shortscales despite having small hands. i prefer the space and landing pad of a fender scale neck.
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Fran
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2016 4:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Using a short scale neck could go either way for you.

I find Mustang and Jagstang necks effortless to play (I'm probably talking a 65 Mustang neck), to the point I don't really use my thumb to anchor. I use my Palm.
But like Paul said, they can become cramped on chords.
That does depend what type of stuff you play of course (I use a lot of power chords/barre chords) which brings us to the point of is it worth changing style or even tunings?

The tension on a short scale is definitely less than that on a 25.5 neck, which is why most players move up a string gauge or two when they buy one.

Another way of loosening the tension is to raise the tailpiece on Gibson type guitars, decreasing the break angle over the TOM.

You may find a chunked neck helps.

Be interesting to hear which suits you the best in the end.
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Bacchus
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2016 5:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the most important thing is posture with this sort of stuff. Wear the guitar high up, keep your wrist straight etc.
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Fran
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2016 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bacchus wrote:
I think the most important thing is posture with this sort of stuff. Wear the guitar high up, keep your wrist straight etc.

Yeah but, Johnny Ramone...
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71Smallbox
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2016 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bacchus wrote:
I think the most important thing is posture with this sort of stuff. Wear the guitar high up, keep your wrist straight etc.

In some countries, this is a form of birth control.
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sunshiner
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2016 4:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had this kind of pain when played all this modern shreders friendly skinny necks. I have rather big hands or a little bit bigger than average. After a couple of minutes of playing such necks it always hurt really bad. I don't get modern acoustics with super high action and thick bronze strings from the factory and super skinny necks. Playing barre chords on them is always a struggle forme

By the way, imo strat is the most friendly guitar for a wrist, because of its shape and the long upper horn the whole neck (think about first fret) is sitting closer to a player, so you don't have to twist your wrist when you are playing in the upper frets.

Also if it hurts that bad, you may take some rest and not play the guitar for a while and you can see a doctor to get some advice.
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mickie08
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2016 7:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have carpal tunnel in both wrists and I have to wear braces on my wrists most of the time and even leave my left wrist one on when playing most times. (but not my right). Wearing the braces throughout the normal day helps a lot.

I play 3-5 hour gigs 2-4 times per week with very little break time and since I started wearing the braces, my issues have mostly dropped off. Prior to that, there were times I wousl loose feeling in my thumbs and left fingers almost completely while playing and I'd literlaly have to watch my hands to make sure I was hitting the right chords (show must go on) because I could not feel it...
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Noirie.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2016 9:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fran wrote:
Another way of loosening the tension is to raise the tailpiece on Gibson type guitars, decreasing the break angle over the TOM.


Might give that a try on my SG.
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Josh
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2016 5:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Personally I don't think an inch difference in scale length is gonna save your hands much grief. I think some of your hand problems are caused from string tension and the way your guitar is set up, the neck profile plays a factor too but not as much as you think. I have a couple shortscales, and full scale guitars, they all play pretty much the same, if anything I actually like the full scale more because of the extra space between the frets. Like you acoustic guitars also cramp the shit out of my hands because of all the tension they have, plus the fretboards are usually pretty flat and the necks are thick and round with a wide nut which is hell for anything that's not a cowboy chord. You really shouldn't have to be putting much work into fretting and chording.

Personally I say get your guitars set up, pitch your acoustic and go to a guitar shop and check out all different kinds of guitars and the necks they have, you might find one that solves all your problems, but I don't think it's a scale thing, though Jaguars are comfy as hell to play, especially if you go for that vintage radius, shit makes chords unreal comfy.
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Doug
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2016 3:06 pm    Post subject: Re: Left hand pain thinking of going short scale everything Reply with quote

edsdds wrote:
So I think the 20+ years of typing on a computer are catching up to me. When I play guitar now I get a pain behind my thumb... it bother me more on my Strat and my Taylor 114. On my Epi LP it doesn't bother me as much...Has anyone ever gone to short scale for comfort or easier playing?

Thanks


Hey, Edsdds. Yer catchin it early. Like you, I have Tendonitis in my wrists and hands...diagnosed as Repetitive Motion Syndrome (pre-Carpal Tunnel Syndrome). The scale and action of your guitar won't make much difference for long.

My healers have nearly helped me cure this. They coached me on resting my hands (no playing) and icing three times a day for 20 mins. for a few days. I rub Icy Hot on two or three times a day; it's loaded with anti inflammatory Salicylate which really cures the injury.

When it feels healed, they coached me to do a routine of stretches of my wrist & fingers three times a day. Then I begin wrist curls with light weights: 10 upright curls; ten in a sideways position; and ten French curls. And to shake my hands & wrists at my side often, especially before typing and playing.

All this works great for me. And get a new guitar just to celebrate your healing!
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spellcaster
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2016 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My scale choices have been made because I have arthritis in my hands. For bass, there's no comparison.....My shorty 25.5" Tele, 30" Gibson EB3, and 30.25" violin bass are much easier to play than my 34" Tele. The differences are still appreciable on guitars too.....My Tele Thinline 22.5", Duosonic 22.7", Duosonic 24" and Strat 24.75" are a lot comfier than my full size 25.5" Fenders (which don't get much playing time anymore). I'm not sure if other hand and wrist problems are the same as arthritis, but the cramping I get with long scales and thick necks almost disappears with shorter scales.
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Fran
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2016 9:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Noirie. wrote:
Fran wrote:
Another way of loosening the tension is to raise the tailpiece on Gibson type guitars, decreasing the break angle over the TOM.


Might give that a try on my SG.

Did you try it?
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2016 4:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

George wrote:
for me its a bunch of factors usually pertaining to the balance between scale/profile/nut width
.

yeah my nut width isn't as proportional as i'd like it to accent the scale and profile.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2016 8:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

brandonwinmill wrote:
yeah my nut width isn't as proportional as i'd like it to accent the scale and profile.
Very Happy
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