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Old 04-28-2003, 05:00 AM
The Old Hacker The Old Hacker is offline
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Default When do my fingers stop hurting?

I've been playing fingerstyle for about 18 months now, most days for a couple of hours. My fingers are beginning to get nimble, but how long does it take to build up the strength to, say, barre at the 1st fret without it hurting?
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Old 04-28-2003, 06:31 AM
ME@VT ME@VT is offline
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It varies with the person, and how much you practice it.

If you want to bar all the strings on the first fret practice it over and over. By playing other fingerstyle pieces you will no doubt be building up strength in your fingers, but if there is a specific technique you would like to work with and perform you have to practice that technique exclusively during some part of your practicing to develop and perfect it.

Hope that helps

Devon
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Old 04-28-2003, 06:32 AM
DCW DCW is offline
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It's hard to tell, and, after 19 years of playing guitar, I'd say that your fingers are always going to hurt from time to time. That 1st position barre gets somewhat better over time, and your hands do develop their muscles and your fingers eventually increase their callouses. The pain gets somewhat alleviated, but you always have to contend with it. Wait until you spend an entire Saturday picking with friends-it's a raw, stiff-fingered, but satisfying feeling.
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Old 04-28-2003, 07:22 AM
jimklein jimklein is offline
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Cheat & use Elixir strings.
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Old 04-28-2003, 09:13 AM
Stenevo Stenevo is offline
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Barre chords on a 12 string always make my hand cramp after a while. I use stretching exercises before I start playing (when I remember). Don't over extend, it actually does more harm than good. I start with the thumb and then do the fingers and wrist. It helps, but nothing that I know works completely.
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Old 04-28-2003, 11:56 AM
The Old Hacker The Old Hacker is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by jimklein
Cheat & use Elixir strings.
I'm already using Elixirs (and only 11-gauge at that, rather than the 12s recommended for the Big Baby). I'm sorry, I don't understand the reference to cheating
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Old 04-29-2003, 09:42 AM
Ace43 Ace43 is offline
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Default Hurting!

I've been playing for six months, fingerstyle for the past month or so. My experience has been just about like starting over because the fretting hand seems to be doing much more holding of chords. The barre at the first position causes me problems with aches too, but I only go at it long enough to feel the ache and then do something else. After 18 months, I would have thought you would see improvement. It may help to ice down your fretting hand after playing and be careful about doing too much. I wish I could do two hours a day and would if I had the time but I wonder if my hand could take it. If you are as old a hacker as I am, there is probably only so much the hand can take without going into full-blown repetitive stress injury of some kind. Be careful!
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Old 04-29-2003, 11:47 AM
Ed Steer Ed Steer is offline
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It depends, to a large degree, how you practice. I find my fingers develop some soreness if I concentrate on right hand exercises for long durations. That's because I spend more time holding chord positions during these studies. Holding a chord tends to make my finger tips hurt more readily. What I do now is mix up my practice with right hand work and left hand work. In other words, rest my left hand "gripping" for short periods of time before they develop soreness. This seems to work a lot better for me.

Of course all this goes out the window win you play with your friends for three or four hours. But it certainly is worth it.


Ed
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Old 04-29-2003, 12:05 PM
Bill_K Bill_K is offline
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There is a very nice exercise for building barring strength as well as left hand finger independence at "www.guitardownunder.com" under "Left Hand Technique." I started out not being able to hold the bar on the eigth fret for the exercise and now I can play the exercise from the eigth fret to the first fret and back, so I know it works. Be patient and consistent.
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Old 04-29-2003, 12:12 PM
jam jam is offline
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Hacker, you've posted two threads that are probably related. Try this and see if it 1. reduces the pain in your hands, and 2. reduces string screech.

It sounds like you may be exerting too much effort holding the strings down. I've noticed that the harder I hold down the strings, the more pronounced the screech is, and the quicker my hands cramp.

So (here's the "try this" part):
1. Experiment with trying to find out the least amount of pressure needed to actually hold the strings down and still get a good sound. Chances are, you're using much more than that.
2. If you're not already doing this, try sitting (rather than standing) with the guitar on your LEFT knee (rather than right ) and your left foot elevated about 4 or 5 inches (use a couple of books or a brick). If you're standing or sitting with the guitar on your right knee, you're left wrist is not in the optimal position for holding down the strings with the least amount of effort.

Here are some pictures

--jam

Last edited by jam; 04-29-2003 at 12:19 PM.
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Old 05-03-2003, 12:01 PM
The Old Hacker The Old Hacker is offline
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Thanks jam and Bill_K -- I'm going to give the Carlevaro technique a try to see if it helps and also have a go at the barring exercise.
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Last edited by The Old Hacker; 05-03-2003 at 12:13 PM.
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