Posture vs pain.


ddiddler
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ddiddler
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11/07/2020 4:51 pm

Totally felled today by neck spasms down right side.

hoping it's totally unconnected from any acoustic practice. [br]5 months into playing electric but only a couple of months playing acoustic. [br]very aware that as a beginner I tend to crouch to see frets and hand. [br]Tried off both legs and using a low footstool. [br]Yesterday felt fine , off left leg, trying to sit much more upright, head high and square across the shoulders.[br]see more posts about hands, fingers and shoulders rather than the neck. [br]Now looking at guitar lifts, supports off the leg to set the neck angle allowing the player to have 2 feet on the floor nice and square. [br]What is the experience of others who have tried thes devices. [br]No practice for me for the next couple of days.


# 1
ChristopherSchlegel
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ChristopherSchlegel
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11/07/2020 8:22 pm

Ouch, sorry for your troubles!

Originally Posted by: ddiddler

very aware that as a beginner I tend to crouch to see frets and hand.[/quote][p]Have you tried sitting with a strap holding up the guitar?

[br][quote=ddiddler]Now looking at guitar lifts, supports off the leg to set the neck angle allowing the player to have 2 feet on the floor nice and square. [br]What is the experience of others who have tried thes devices. [br]

[p]I use a classical foot rest for classical guitar. But I get that the guitar spport would be better in order to keep your feet flat & your hips & back square. The strap helps keep the guitar in place better than anything, but I understand that could cause pressure on your neck & back.

Get better soon!


Christopher Schlegel
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# 2
ddiddler
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ddiddler
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11/07/2020 10:06 pm

Thanks Christopher

I do wear a strap on my acoustic but it's more for security than support. [br]It's a folk/concert size so it's not as if I'm wrestling with a dread.

Should have stopped practicing when I knew I was feeling some neck issues. [br]Didn't feel I was too far wrong in set up so hopefully it's only been aggravated but not caused by my practice. [br]Be fine in a couple of days.


# 3
john of MT
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john of MT
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11/07/2020 11:31 pm

ddiddler -

I'm a strong believer in using a strap. I also believe posture is super important, not only to prevent stffness and aches but also to assist proper hand position which in turn improves reach. Proper posture is important to singing, too.

But don't ignore stretching exercises. Just as hands benefit from stretching and warm-up prior to and during practice, so too does the rest of the body. Take a look at movements such as trunk bends and twists, toe touches, and various head/neck movements.

I generally break up my practice time into 30 minute segments and during the breaks I'll do one of the exercise types above. Although the stretching break lasts less than five minutes, I find it very refreshing and it gets rid of muscle tension and prevents stiffness.


"It takes a lot of devotion and work, or maybe I should say play, because if you love it, that's what it amounts to. I haven't found any shortcuts, and I've been looking for a long time."
-- Chet Atkins
# 4
ddiddler
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ddiddler
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11/08/2020 9:24 am

Thanks John

I know we should all do warm ups.

I've never been great at actually doing it.

I'm fairly flexible and run dogs in dog agility comps so even at 66 I have a good range of movement. [br]Dr google gave the same advice.

As a beginner you don't notice the curve of the spine, the hunched shoulders and the clamped jaw as your working through the practice session. [br]5 min break every 20-30 minutes is an important point.

Shake it all loose again. [br]Dave


# 5
ddiddler
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ddiddler
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11/08/2020 4:43 pm

Ordered a Gewa Ergoplay

Will give it a try and see how it goes. [br]Should be same result as a footstool without taking the body out of line. [br]I'll report back

Dave


# 6
flak
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flak
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11/08/2020 9:26 pm

ddliddler, lucky I saw your post as I am having some back problems too as I play guitar. This problem may be caused by guitar playing or maybe not, but I'm probably not helping my back by playing improperly. I noticed 'classical' guitar mentioned in one of the replies and I'm new to guitar so I don't know enough yet about different guitars and playing techniques. [u]Basically, my question, to anyone, is whether this type of guitar support is also helpful to someone playing 'acoustic' guitar? [/u]

I've always thought 'classical' guitar was different and I shouldn't play in a position like that if I am playing 'acoustic' guitar. However, the 'classical' position seems to be more comfortable to me!!

I go max 30 minutes and then take a break and rarely practice over an hour actually.


# 7
ddiddler
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11/09/2020 12:35 pm

There are a number of review articles on google and YouTube about these supports.

They tend not to have the adjustment range as footstools. [br]They look as if they set the neck to about 40 to to degrees. [br]The main difference in use is both feet flat on the floor and the body planes can be kept square. [br]No twisting on the spine etc. [br]Think mine is leaning the head to see the hand and fret positions which is heavy on the neck.

radical option is to switch to left hand every 15 minutes.

does that balance both sides or wreck both sides


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ddiddler
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11/18/2020 9:27 am

back to playing again after a couple of days.

Tried a cushion or a garment over the left leg. that works

Have shortened the straps on both guitars and that is also working.

More aware of keeping my posture upright

Flexing and turning the head more in all directions. feels beneficial.

Biggest disappointment has been the guitar rest. It arrived yesterday.

Difficult to position and keep in place on a concert shape

Even at it's lowest position it puts the head at a very classical angle.

I might give it a couple more tries using the sticky sheets that come with it.

Gives the stickers a better purchase but at first impressions it doesn't seem the right solution for me


# 9
flak
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flak
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11/20/2020 2:11 pm

Thanks for the update! Please post when you get something new or better that works for you. I may be purchasing some type of support but not sure which one yet, there are quite a few I see online. Taking a break from guitar now and may go back to only practice every other day instead of most days of the week. Music is great but so is back health!


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john of MT
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11/20/2020 5:15 pm
Originally Posted by: flahr

I've always thought 'classical' guitar was different and I shouldn't play in a position like that if I am playing 'acoustic' guitar. However, the 'classical' position seems to be more comfortable to me!!

I play using a modified classical position. I went to that years ago when I found my Martin dreadnaught a little too large to hold the way virtually all sites/instructors teach. I found playing by cradling the guitar between spread knees with both feet flat on the floor not only was more comfortable but improved my reach, too.

I also discovered something else... the teaching of how a guitar should be held is important and the common way taught is appropriate and should be listened to. It also is a result of fashion, i.e., it's the way to hold a guitar these days... it wasn't always so.

Take a look at the old videos... check out the guitarists in the big bands of the 50's and earlier, take a look at the rockers of the 50's. Even into the 60's, Orbison, the Everly Brothers and the Beatles were playing with the guitar high and directly in front of their chest, standing or sitting. B.B.King, it seems, plays that way in every vid I've seen. Sometime in the mid- to late 60's it became the thing to do to do it differently. Or so it seems to me.

The very important point is neither position is wrong. More importantly, when either is adhered to as taught, both allow for proper posture, good reach, and comfort. But if your body is different, or your guitar is different one or the other position may be a big improvement for [u]you[/u].

[u]IMO[/u].

Good luck, have fun.


"It takes a lot of devotion and work, or maybe I should say play, because if you love it, that's what it amounts to. I haven't found any shortcuts, and I've been looking for a long time."
-- Chet Atkins
# 11
snojones
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01/31/2022 4:04 pm

ddiddler....Pain from practice is a problem that bears close watching. Left unchecked, it could even derail your playing guitar. Since you are just starting, you can probably avoid that pit fall. It is easy to get all contorted while trying to learn guitar. This is an avoidable problem and you are looking in the right direction to slove it.

You might try playing in front of a mirror, so you can see you finger placement without looking down. Repeating the same bent postrure everytime you play the guitar could be a path to problems.

Maybe go back to some simple songs that you can approach playing without looking at your hands. My PT got me to do that as a way to improve my postrue when I practiced. It helped me deal with my own bad habits.

John.... I think holding your guitar down around your knees was popularized to look cool (fashion over function). Maybe a complete finger picker, like Jeff Beck, gains some advantage from a lower hand position. However, he does not use that low position, but rather he uses a mid height guitar position. If you watch the good players who use a low guitar position, you will see many of them lift their ax up by steping one foot on a monitor box when they play lead.

I used to play with a low guitar position. That was one of the frist things I had to lose when I started to develop physical pain from playing guitar. It worked for me.


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# 12
ddiddler
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01/31/2022 7:46 pm

Thanks Snojones

this post is a year old now. [br]no more neck spasms.

current situation.

Concert guitar was not a big issue but now I play with an acoustic Parlour

very nice Faith Naked Mercury

Still play seated, with a strap.

left foot on a step and legs wide with shoulder of guitar on the left leg, sound hole pretty central. [br]Think it's described as cello legs.

Also using a music stand so whichever lesson or tabs I am using is to the front and at a better height.

This is my main position and I have had no further issues but I still sometimes try playing off my right leg.

I can now do this for a time but the near classical cello legs is where I'm more comfortable.

Never going to hit the stage so I can be happy with this seated position. [br]Dave


# 13
ijackreynolds01
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ijackreynolds01
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01/31/2022 10:43 pm

I also have a pack pain. So I will try a straight back chair and maybe add a small cushion like those on https://www.perfectlygrand.com/ . I usually play about two hours a night. That may be an issue also.[br][br]


# 14
snojones
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01/31/2022 10:58 pm

Wow...DUHHH.... Some how I got pulled through the looking glass on that old post. I confess to being a kunckle dragging luddite when it comes to computers. Sorry.

Glad to hear the pain is gone!! Sounds like you also got some gear that you like. That can really help. You are comfortable and competent in your physical playing position, and most importantly......You are still practicing/ playing. You are on your way! Enjoy the ride.


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# 15
ddiddler
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02/06/2022 11:06 am

snojones

We all do that and sometimes it's interesting to read an old post and realise most problems are'nt new.

I enjoy the forum and suspect like yourself I look for posts less than a couple of days old.

Like this one the added post was to an older thread.

Just today I put posture in to the forum search engine and it gave me a Christopher Schlegal set of lessons about posture and how to hold a classical guitar.

The lessons are included in his list of classical guitar lessons.

Footrests, cushions and lap stands all get a mention.

As I said nothing new.

Dave


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sipius2
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02/08/2022 2:28 am

Everyhting went away at about the two year point. Once I got better and started playing more....seems like the more I play the less my hands or body complain. However I did buy a comfortable Gibraltar, sort of expensive chair that swivels and a foot rest, and worked on posture while in that chair....I think that it's like anything else....learning to play golf, tennis, boxing or lifting weights. The body has to get used to the movements and forces, while the specific elements are forged by the process of pracice and pain, that is inescable with all habitual physical exertions. But it seems that after the two year point is the no more pain zone.


# 17
snojones
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02/08/2022 3:59 pm
Originally Posted by: sipius2

I think that it's like anything else....learning to play golf, tennis, boxing or lifting weights. The body has to get used to the movements and forces, while the specific elements are forged by the process of pracice and pain, that is inescable with all habitual physical exertions.

This is a very wise assessment! Most people don't realize the similarity between training for sports and playing an instrument. The only diffrence is that playing an instrument mostly uses the finger muscles... and mostly, they don't sweat (or you don't see the sweat when you watch a performance). However I know for a fact that when I approach my guitar with the same thinking that I apply to skiing, I steadly get better. Another benifit is that and my desire to develop as a musician is not derailed by my frustration with expectations.

The process of training your muscle memory is exactly the same no matter what physical activity you learn. It is just training muscles to do things without your brain having to get involved in the mechinics of the process. This subliminal process is the key to being a sucessful musician. That assessment will really help you with practice in the long run! It can help you to avoid the "I have been practicing for ever and I am still not Hendrix" pitfall. You may not be tackling a quarterback or ripping downhill gates at 60 mph... but the same skill development process applies.

I just saw a video clip where Kieth Richards was asked "How do you remember all those songs?!". His answer was "I don't.... My finger do" He then went on to explaing that those songs are drilled into his muscle memory as the key to his success. Muscle memory is built by constant repitition.... Or at least so says one of the most famous guitar slinger in history.


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