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Old 09-10-2021, 03:59 AM
diego diego is offline
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Default Thumb pain when switching to classical guitar

Ok, so I'm a gigging guitarist and I do a lot of gigs during the week, sometimes even 4 gigs of 3+ hours weekly. So far I played Yamaha western guitar with a slim neck that is really easy to play, and I haven't experienced pain even after a full schedule in a week, but lately I switched to Ovation classical guitar with a much wider neck, but it's mainly the "bulge" build of the neck that is causing discomfort to my thumb on the fretting hand, and I feel it somewhere in the middle of the thumb. It's not a major pain that would cause me to stop the gig, but I'm beginning to wonder if I should change something or do some exercises before it becomes worse. If I change a technique with a thumb, like not going a full thumb-over but grip the neck with a thumb tip in the middle of the neck instead, it's much easier on the thumb.

Is it something that I need to go through because I seldom played classical guitar, or should I stop and do some rehabilitation first?
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Old 09-10-2021, 05:55 AM
Norsepicker Norsepicker is offline
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Try to lesson the thumb pressure on the back of the neck. I think you'll find that you can use less pressure and still control the neck. It's the tension in the thumb that produces the pain.
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Old 09-10-2021, 06:16 AM
musicman1951 musicman1951 is offline
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Classical guitarists almost always have the head of the guitar close to the same level as their own head, which is much higher than most steel string players utilize. The classical position (guitar on left leg) generally makes it much easier to keep your thumb down in the middle of the neck, as it is not required for keeping the guitar in place.

If you're seated and the classical position feels to strange you could try one of the neck up add on options.

If you're standing you might try angling the neck up more and lowering your thumb, although you won't have the typical 3 points holding the guitar like a seated classical player.

Exercise is always a fine idea, but if the problem is coming from constant thumb tension I'm not sure that's the answer.

Most expensive solution: a different guitar with a thinner neck (crossover?).
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Old 09-12-2021, 02:22 PM
ssynhorst ssynhorst is online now
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Try angling the thumb more up the neck toward the headstock. Review the whole of the left hand position for classical guitar; it is quite different from that for narrow neck instruments like steel string guitar, banjo, fiddle. - Stevo

PS: Another way to think of it is to rotate your forearm inward to make your palm and all of your knuckles more in line with the neck. It also moves the thumb up the neck and flatter to the fret board. - SS

Last edited by ssynhorst; 09-12-2021 at 09:10 PM.
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Old 09-15-2021, 01:48 PM
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canuck7 canuck7 is offline
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Oddly enough, I’m looking at getting a chunkier neck, maybe D-shaped, as my thumb is not comfortable on slim C-shaped necks when I’m fingerpicking….although a bit more classical fingerpicking style. My thumb does not like to ‘vise’ down opposite my fingers on a slim neck. But I don’t have pain/ soreness after playing, just on the maneuver…so, I’m exploring classical guitars to get a better feel for what I’m looking for…

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