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  #16  
Old 10-02-2022, 09:56 AM
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TBman TBman is offline
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Originally Posted by upsidedown View Post
I've long dreaded the arrival of this day, but playing dreads has my right shoulder barking. The arthritis doncha know!

It's probably not as simple as all that, but is there lower bout measurement I should be looking for in my next guitar?

FYI; the short overall length of parlor guitars makes for a different kind of discomfort.
Put on a strap tight enough to lift the guitar off your lap and tilt the neck up a bit. This will lower the lower bout and maybe make your problem go away. It should also help your chords a bit too.
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Last edited by TBman; 10-02-2022 at 10:43 AM.
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  #17  
Old 10-02-2022, 09:57 AM
ZebraKing ZebraKing is offline
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I started using an Emerald X20 carbon fiber guitar that has arm bevels and overall very ergonomic shape. It's pretty unbelievable how much more comfortable this guitar is to play versus my wood dreads. Defiantly easier on my right arm and shoulder.
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  #18  
Old 10-02-2022, 10:40 AM
Rolph Rolph is offline
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Many overweight men have asked me for help with shoulder pain when playing guitar. Often what's needed is 3-6 months strengthening the rhomboids, deltoids, and neck extensors. OTC meds are a slow train to liver failure. Good luck.
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  #19  
Old 10-02-2022, 11:12 AM
William2 William2 is offline
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As someone has mentioned, try sitting in the classical sitting position. I do range of motion exercises to maintain my flexibility. Maybe try the Larrivee SD-40 dreadnought. It only has a 15-inch lower bout and with the 12-fret body connection, I find it a very comfortable dreadnought.
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  #20  
Old 10-02-2022, 01:03 PM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZebraKing View Post
I started using an Emerald X20 carbon fiber guitar that has arm bevels and overall very ergonomic shape. It's pretty unbelievable how much more comfortable this guitar is to play versus my wood dreads. Defiantly easier on my right arm and shoulder.
I totally agree with the Emerald X20 being a very comfortable guitar! A nice plus is an overall full tone with loudness when needed and good projection.
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  #21  
Old 10-02-2022, 01:18 PM
donlyn donlyn is online now
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Arthritis And The Lower Bout

I favor large body Jumboes (and Jumbo related body shapes), many of which have a 5" depth in the lower bout and maybe a slight depth taper toward the fretboard. And with a slightly under to a slightly over 17" lower bout. As a practicing septuagenarian, I also have occasional bouts with arthritis and other hand issues.

But for the most part, playing a Jumbo is not that difficult, probably because Jumboes sit quite low on my lap due to the exaggerated narrow waist on them. So even with a big lower bout, there is no issue in reaching the guitar strings, which sit about 4" above my leg. I am of average (5'8+" and shrinking) height, and favor playing guitar on the left leg about 2/3 of the time.

I also fingerpick all my instrunents using my nails as picks, and string my twelve string guitars with Elixir 12 String Lights (.010 - .047) and my six string guitars mostly with Elixir PB HD Lights (.013 - .053). Being naturally well-balanced instruments, I get a remarkablly good bass response with the larger bouts, and an aural bump to the six string guitars with the Medium gauge treble strings.

In addition to my signature, I also have a sunburst Sigma J-200 Jumbo with an exceptional (for me) slightly fatter neck and a Guild 2512 Jumbo 12 string which has a great sound, especially for its budget cost. Yep, more Jumboes. While I play favorites at times, I do play all of the instruments in my 'Heard' and enjoy the variety of the sounds.

Notes: Taylor replaced their Jumboes with the Grand Orchestra Model, which has a slightly wider waist. Not in any marketing, but from their house organ "Wood & Steel" magazine, the main reason was to make their Jumboes sound even louder. Mission accomplished. And their Grand Concerts are effectively small Jumboes with a 15" wide lower bout and a great bass response, size not-withstanding.

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Last edited by donlyn; 10-02-2022 at 06:13 PM.
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  #22  
Old 10-02-2022, 02:22 PM
upsidedown upsidedown is offline
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Thanks all! Really enjoying reading this multi-pronged approach to mitigating shoulder pain. Admittedly I was looking for an easy answer (ie, “buy such and such guitar”), but I guess I knew all along there’s hardly ever one to be had.

Other than white flour, my diet is already “anti-inflammatory.” So, I’ve got that going for me. My water intake could definitely stand a boost. And, I’ve recently started seeing an accupuncturist for another issue, so she can no doubt give me some treatment for arthritis.

“Strap up, stand up” is a GREAT reminder. It obviously changes the geometry and I can already feel the difference. And I’ll look into the other suggestions regarding positioning.

One area I’ve never given a second thought is the width of the waist. So, thanks to all who mentioned it. My Guild dread is 11” there, as is probably my D28. However, my archtop - which also has a 16” lower bout - is only 9.5”. Let’s see what happens when I sit down and play that. Encouraging to think I could even potentially play a jumbo if it sits just right on my knee. If not a jumbo, a smaller guitar with a smaller waist is going to be a priority. One needs a sit-down guitar after all!

Great replies. Really appreciate them.
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  #23  
Old 10-02-2022, 03:12 PM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by upsidedown View Post
Thanks all! Really enjoying reading this multi-pronged approach to mitigating shoulder pain. Admittedly I was looking for an easy answer (ie, “buy such and such guitar”), but I guess I knew all along there’s hardly ever one to be had.

Other than white flour, my diet is already “anti-inflammatory.” So, I’ve got that going for me. My water intake could definitely stand a boost. And, I’ve recently started seeing an accupuncturist for another issue, so she can no doubt give me some treatment for arthritis.

“Strap up, stand up” is a GREAT reminder. It obviously changes the geometry and I can already feel the difference. And I’ll look into the other suggestions regarding positioning.

One area I’ve never given a second thought is the width of the waist. So, thanks to all who mentioned it. My Guild dread is 11” there, as is probably my D28. However, my archtop - which also has a 16” lower bout - is only 9.5”. Let’s see what happens when I sit down and play that. Encouraging to think I could even potentially play a jumbo if it sits just right on my knee. If not a jumbo, a smaller guitar with a smaller waist is going to be a priority. One needs a sit-down guitar after all!

Great replies. Really appreciate them.
Steve, standing up is always how I played when playing out and it afforded me greater maneuverability with the guitar, around the fretboard, and with picking-hand comfort. This includes being able to hold onto a flatpick much better. Now that I'm mainly a sitter at home while playing, I can tell how sitting down changes my ability to play as well as I want to. Being that I don't play out much anymore, this doesn't really bother me much but if I were to return to playing out, I would definitely return to standing.

As far as guitars go, you'd really need to try out several brands and models to feel what's best for you as some brands are thinner in depth but wider in the lower bout.

Regards,

Ken
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  #24  
Old 10-02-2022, 04:22 PM
Glennwillow Glennwillow is offline
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Arthritis And The Lower Bout...

I am sympathetic to the complaints about shoulder pain.

For me, both my shoulders hurt so much from arthritis that there is no way I can play any size guitar without pain these days. So for me, I just try my best to ignore the discomfort and play whatever sounds good, big or little. They all hurt. My choice is to have my shoulder hurt or play nothing at all. And even if I play nothing, my shoulders hurt anyway. It's just the price of getting old, at least in my case.

Barry's comment about the strap is a good one. A strap does help a little.

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  #25  
Old 10-02-2022, 06:44 PM
DetroitDave DetroitDave is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soma5 View Post
.... Then I started lifting light dumbells (12-16 pounds) and now I can play larger guitars....
I stopped lifting when the gyms closed due to the Pandemic. [Not?] Coincidentally, I started noticing shoulder and elbow pain when playing my larger guitars.
It may have something to do with the fact that I now appear to be 11 months pregnant since COVID hit, but grasping at straws ...
FWIW: Are you doing side raises, front raises or curls?
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  #26  
Old 10-02-2022, 07:35 PM
RussellHawaii RussellHawaii is offline
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As Soma said, check out a ‘Manzer wedge’ guitar. This combined with an arm bevel make a large guitar much more comfortable to play, especially regarding the right shoulder.
A large dread- or jumbo- size guitar will feel like an OM, but louder!
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