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CountryMouse
10-28-2009, 07:51 AM
Ever since I've been trying to get to chords that require me to arch my fingers more, I realize I've been holding my hand differently, curling my hand around more to try to get the arches.

My wrist is hurting when it didn't used to. I have been trying to correct how I'm holding my hand on some chords, but I can't get the chords to sound good with a slopping flat way of pressing down the strings.

Is this just temporary? Or am I on my way to a repetitive-motion injury?

Also, my Kala Kiwi seems to be less forgiving of my getting too close to the frets than my Makala for a clean sound. I got both from MGM, so the setup was/is good.

Maybe I'm just going through a phase. Ideas? Suggestions? I almost decided to dig out the wrist brace I used when I overdid it, working on the electronic keyboard, but I think that would keep me from any wrist curl whatsoever.

CountryMouse

sukie
10-28-2009, 07:56 AM
Try to keep your wrist as straight as possible. It takes a little getting used to, but it'll come. You will have to pay attention while you are playing to make sure you don't start curling your wrist. My teacher stresses the importance of playing with a straight wrist. Keeps down on injuries. Injuries have a way of making the ukulele not enjoyable. Are you using your fingertips to fret? I THINK my teacher said it was better to curl your fingers than to curl your wrists. Helps with intonation also.

Good luck, but be careful with your wrist.:)

CountryMouse
10-28-2009, 08:00 AM
Try to keep your wrist as straight as possible. It takes a little getting used to, but it'll come. You will have to pay attention while you are playing to make sure you don't start curling your wrist. My teacher stresses the importance of playing with a straight wrist. Keeps down on injuries. Injuries have a way of making the ukulele not enjoyable. Are you using your fingertips to fret? I THINK my teacher said it was better to curl your fingers than to curl your wrists. Helps with intonation also.

Good luck, but be careful with your wrist.:)

Thanks so much for your advice! Yes, I am using my fingertips--they just don't seem to GET there without adjusting my wrist. I always thought I had long fingers, but now I don't know!

I'll try to watch what I'm doing with my wrist and see how it goes. I do NOT want an injury! I want to play comfortably but well. :)

CountryMouse

sukie
10-28-2009, 08:04 AM
Don't I know it! It seems so hard for me to sound respectable. But after a 3-1/2 week hiatus, yesterday I noticed some progress had been made. I think that's one of the things I like so much about the ukulele. It's sorta easy to learn some chords and go for it. But there is so much challenge to them also.

Lori
10-28-2009, 08:22 AM
:agree:
Yes, like Sukie said, a straight wrist is the way to go.

Also, make sure you are not pressing too hard. Just hard enough to get a clear tone. And, take lots of breaks! When I was starting, I would play several songs in a row, and then I would move my arms and suddenly notice a stiffness/ soreness that wasn't evident while I was playing. So, pain can sneak up on you like that. Try and pause and move your arms around after each song, so you can gauge how fatigued your muscles are getting. After a few weeks, you will have built up some good muscles to handle the new activity.Try several short practice sessions instead of one long session. It gives your body time to recover, and allows more total practice time per day without injury.

–Lori

CountryMouse
10-28-2009, 08:31 AM
Don't I know it! It seems so hard for me to sound respectable. But after a 3-1/2 week hiatus, yesterday I noticed some progress had been made. I think that's one of the things I like so much about the ukulele. It's sorta easy to learn some chords and go for it. But there is so much challenge to them also.

Well, that's encouraging. :)

Maybe I'm practicing songs with chords beyond my ability at the moment. But I WANT to sing them! ::sigh::

The chord I don't know if I'll EVER be able to do (and I'll never be able to sing "Cry Me A River" in a good key for me if I can't) is the B minor. I don't know how in the world to bar three strings and arch my pinky for the top/4th string. I just can't do it now. But I'm hoping someday.

Okay, there's always transposition and a capo in the meantime...I just need a better (clip-on) capo. :p

CountryMouse

sukie
10-28-2009, 08:36 AM
When you are barring a chord, do you ever barre it with your index finger and then place your middle finger on top to add that "little something"? When I started to do that, I noticed I felt better using another finger to finish the chord. Sometimes I still do it, but other times now that I know the chord it's just easier to play than before. Even stupendous players can be seen using two fingers to barre. You'll get it.

CountryMouse
10-28-2009, 08:40 AM
:agree:
Yes, like Sukie said, a straight wrist is the way to go.

Also, make sure you are not pressing too hard. Just hard enough to get a clear tone. And, take lots of breaks! When I was starting, I would play several songs in a row, and then I would move my arms and suddenly notice a stiffness/ soreness that wasn't evident while I was playing. So, pain can sneak up on you like that. Try and pause and move your arms around after each song, so you can gauge how fatigued your muscles are getting. After a few weeks, you will have built up some good muscles to handle the new activity.Try several short practice sessions instead of one long session. It gives your body time to recover, and allows more total practice time per day without injury.

–Lori

Really good advice--thanks! It's hard to remember that when you're deep into playing and enjoying the music. :p

CountryMouse

CountryMouse
10-28-2009, 08:45 AM
When you are barring a chord, do you ever barre it with your index finger and then place your middle finger on top to add that "little something"? When I started to do that, I noticed I felt better using another finger to finish the chord. Sometimes I still do it, but other times now that I know the chord it's just easier to play than before. Even stupendous players can be seen using two fingers to barre. You'll get it.

I am not good at barring. For a straight D chord, I use three fingers, one on each string! For a D7, I just do (I don't know how to write this out)...well, imagine lifting the middle finger from what I just described, and that's the D7 I do.

I'll practice. I'm getting better at B flat. But barring three strings is so hard for me.

CountryMouse

djny
10-30-2009, 06:27 AM
Hi CountryMouse. A couple of things you can try to keep your wrist from bending too much are: 1. tip the head of your ukulele up, more vertical, you'll find that your wrist straightens and 2. use the thumb as a fulcrum and pull back. Instead of trying to angle your hand up and getting your fingers all on top of the board to press hard, use the weight of your arm to pull your fingers tighter on the board. This works especially well with barre chords.

Here's a video about barre chords on the classical guitar that might be helpful:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzYfdYtoFf4

I have had some problems with my wrists and you've got to be careful that it doesn't become chronic.

CountryMouse
10-30-2009, 07:46 AM
Hi CountryMouse. A couple of things you can try to keep your wrist from bending too much are: 1. tip the head of your ukulele up, more vertical, you'll find that your wrist straightens and 2. use the thumb as a fulcrum and pull back. Instead of trying to angle your hand up and getting your fingers all on top of the board to press hard, use the weight of your arm to pull your fingers tighter on the board. This works especially well with barre chords.

Here's a video about barre chords on the classical guitar that might be helpful:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzYfdYtoFf4

I have had some problems with my wrists and you've got to be careful that it doesn't become chronic.

Thank you so much for your advice! I do remember having the head up higher before. I will make sure I am doing that again. The reason I am curving my wrist is to reach the notes cleanly, esp. ones up on the 4th string. I always thought I had long fingers, but something is just not working, hence the curling my wrist.

In the video, I see what he's saying about pulling back, but with a soprano ukulele, that's lightweight and moves it back really hard/far.

Also, I'm fine barring, just like a capo, if I do as he says. But as soon as I try lifting my pinky to hit the top/4th string, that screws up my barre. Argh! I don't know if I'll ever get this.

I wish there were videos for ukulele like this man does for classical guitar.

I wish I could just knock off for a few days and not practice, but then my calluses won't keep developing.

Thanks for your help, though. :)

CountryMouse

Skrik
10-30-2009, 10:02 AM
I wish I could just knock off for a few days and not practice, but then my calluses won't keep developing.

By all means give your wrist a rest. The calluses will be just fine for a few days. But do look after the wrist.

CountryMouse
10-30-2009, 10:26 AM
By all means give your wrist a rest. The calluses will be just fine for a few days. But do look after the wrist.

I'm just frustrated that I can't find the right way (for me) to hold the uke so that my wrist stays straight. I also want/need to practice a song I'm working on for Adelle's contest (deadline Nov. 14th), and I neeeeeed to practice the chord changes in that.

Just wanting to do well and grrrr mad at myself for not doing better. I'm being careful today, and my wrist is not hurting. Now my thumb is hurting! LOL! Guess I'll give up on trying for the B minor for now, which is for a song I want to do sometime, but it's not crucial now.

I watched Adelle play a Fluke (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dNHL8JSxWNk) (I think it was), and she had the angle pretty extreme and the fretboard almost flat, where the player can see it, not towards the "audience". How did she keep from curling her wrist? She plays so well!

CountryMouse

Lori
10-30-2009, 10:53 AM
I'm just frustrated that I can't find the right way (for me) to hold the uke so that my wrist stays straight. I also want/need to practice a song I'm working on for Adelle's contest (deadline Nov. 14th), and I neeeeeed to practice the chord changes in that.

Just wanting to do well and grrrr mad at myself for not doing better. I'm being careful today, and my wrist is not hurting. Now my thumb is hurting! LOL! Guess I'll give up on trying for the B minor for now, which is for a song I want to do sometime, but it's not crucial now.

I watched Adelle play a Fluke (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dNHL8JSxWNk) (I think it was), and she had the angle pretty extreme and the fretboard almost flat, where the player can see it, not towards the "audience". How did she keep from curling her wrist? She plays so well!

CountryMouse

Just keep practicing. Your fingers will be able to stretch a bit more with practice. Drill on the chord change (between the chord before the Bm and Bm) for short bursts several times during the day, and I think it should get easier soon. Don't overdo and strain a muscle though. Then you have to rest it for a few days or so.

DJNY is right.. Sometimes, the head of the uke has to be higher, up by your face more, in order to get your arm and wrist into a less bent position like a classical guitar player.

–Lori

CountryMouse
10-30-2009, 11:12 AM
Just keep practicing. Your fingers will be able to stretch a bit more with practice. Drill on the chord change (between the chord before the Bm and Bm) for short bursts several times during the day, and I think it should get easier soon. Don't overdo and strain a muscle though. Then you have to rest it for a few days or so.

DJNY is right.. Sometimes, the head of the uke has to be higher, up by your face more, in order to get your arm and wrist into a less bent position like a classical guitar player.

–Lori

Actually, I don't need the B minor right now. That's for "Cry Me A River". I am working on another song (which shall remain a secret for now). I have one chord in there that I have no idea what it is, even. I had to figure out what would work from guitar chords (chordie.com did not have this song), and I only know what sounds right, not what the notes are that comprise a certain chord. So anyway, I am practicing that song several times a day.

I'll do that, making sure the angle is up higher. I looked at my earlier videos (when I wasn't having wrist pain), and I had the headstock up pretty darn high!

Thanks!

CountryMouse

lisaxy424
10-30-2009, 11:59 AM
I was actually wondering what your thumb is doing.

When I was first learning, I kept trying to stick my thumb out from behind the neck (I saw SO many uke players do it that way!) But my wrist would hurt quickly AND I couldn't reach the right chords!

But as soon as I moved it so the "thumbprint" part is always touching the neck, I never have pain!

CountryMouse
10-30-2009, 12:06 PM
I was actually wondering what your thumb is doing.

When I was first learning, I kept trying to stick my thumb out from behind the neck (I saw SO many uke players do it that way!) But my wrist would hurt quickly AND I couldn't reach the right chords!

But as soon as I moved it so the "thumbprint" part is always touching the neck, I never have pain!

I tried to put my thumb up high, like I've seen so many players on YouTube do, letting the neck rest in the V formed by the thumb and index finger--feels way weird and I can't make chords right!

I have my thumb back there, right behind the fretboard; but I am working really hard to keep from curling my wrist to make my fingers arch more. How DO you arch them if you can't curl your wrist?? ::sigh::

CountryMouse

lizaloo
10-30-2009, 06:00 PM
My wrist hurts when I play almost any instrument, but I've had a cyst in my left wrist for years now. My guess would be that you should stretch out/exercise your wrist every so often when you play to keep it limber, or check to make sure there's no bump anywhere on it near the bone; if so, you and I'd be in the same boat.

CountryMouse
10-30-2009, 06:33 PM
My wrist hurts when I play almost any instrument, but I've had a cyst in my left wrist for years now. My guess would be that you should stretch out/exercise your wrist every so often when you play to keep it limber, or check to make sure there's no bump anywhere on it near the bone; if so, you and I'd be in the same boat.

I used to have a synovial cyst in my right wrist a long time ago. I had it for years. Every once in a while I'd push against a big heavy door, it would hurt briefly and a LOT, then go away. Then it would come back again gradually. But finally when I worked on a steam table and used heavy deep-fry baskets, that seemed to permanently make it go away!

My wrist is doing better since I've been holding the neck and headstock of my uke up at a higher angle. NOW I have to work on not hurting my thumb! LOL!

I think your advice for stretching and limbering would apply to my fingers and thumb too, so thank you!

CountryMouse

lisaxy424
10-30-2009, 06:44 PM
...How DO you arch them if you can't curl your wrist?? ::sigh::

I'm afraid I was "blessed" with amazon hands, and don't usually have a problem arching my fingers when I put my thumb there.

So I guess I don't really get to help out you people with normal sized hands ;)

CountryMouse
10-31-2009, 04:07 AM
I'm afraid I was "blessed" with amazon hands, and don't usually have a problem arching my fingers when I put my thumb there.

So I guess I don't really get to help out you people with normal sized hands ;)

Heh. Well, I always thought I had long fingers, and I guess that's true; but I have fairly small hands. Someday I'm thinking I might like a sopranino! LOL!

CountryMouse