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View Full Version : Arm Pain - Need Suggestion



Hitman
08-08-2011, 12:36 PM
I just purchased and received my new Islander MST-4 Tenor last Thursday. I have been playing it for an hour or so everyday. I am noticing that I am getting getting a lot of pain in my right forearm where it rests on the lower bought of the uke.

The binding on the edge is a faux tortise shell. The edge on the binding is a sharp 90 degree edge.

I believe the sharp edge is the cause of my forearm pain. But, being a beginner, this could be a common issue that I just have to work through.

Any feedback on this would be greatly appreciated.

Lori
08-08-2011, 01:47 PM
Sounds like you are cutting off the circulation in your arm on the edge of the uke. I like to play with the uke on my lap, several inches away from my body. It makes it harder to see the frets, but you get better sound from the soundbox. If you don't have to hold up the uke with your strumming arm, you will have less pressure that might pinch a nerve. You might also consider a strap.

–Lori

itsme
08-08-2011, 02:42 PM
I agree with Lori, it sounds like you're clutching the uke too hard with your forearm. And, yes, the 90 degree angle can press on your ulnar (?) nerve and cause pain and eventual nerve damage.

One solution some classical guitarists use is to cut the toe off a tube sock to wear on that arm, with some added padding placed on the inside. A slightly more elegant solution is something like the "guitar sleeve" from Oasis.

http://oasishumidifiers.com/sleeves.html

Raygf
08-08-2011, 02:55 PM
I agree with Lori, it sounds like you're clutching the uke too hard with your forearm. And, yes, the 90 degree angle can press on your ulnar (?) nerve and cause pain and eventual nerve damage.

One solution some classical guitarists use is to cut the toe off a tube sock to wear on that arm, with some added padding placed on the inside. A slightly more elegant solution is something like the "guitar sleeve" from Oasis.

http://oasishumidifiers.com/sleeves.html

I just bought the padded version (http://oasishumidifiers.com/sleeves2.html) more so to protect the french polish finish on my new custom tenor. It is $10 more, but does have a very nice pad in the sleeve. I followed their directions for sizing and it fits. That isn't always the case for me.

wolfybau
08-09-2011, 12:38 AM
perhaps you could alter the way you are holding it? so that you arm is holding not so much on the sharp edge , but flat on the soundboard? though i dont know how this would affect its vibration. the strap or lap as was suggested may be your best bet though IMO

bigploch
08-09-2011, 01:40 AM
I had the same problem when I started. I got a strap button off of ebay and stopped at a guitar shop and grabbed a mandolin strap. Way more comfortable now. You may even be able to get the guitar shop to install the strap button for you.

Hitman
08-09-2011, 05:20 AM
Thank you for the suggestions.

It isn't really a nerve issue. It is my forearm muscle a few inches below the elbow that is essentially bruised from resting on the edge of my uke while I play. I have experimented with the positioning of the uke in my lap while I play, but I have not found any position that offers any real improvement.

At this point I'm looking at two solutions:
1. Return the uke and buy something different with a softened/rounded edge.

2. Use some fine sandpaper and soften the edge myself.

Both options offer risks. I am becoming accustomed to the sound of my new uke. So returning it for something different opens a different can of worms. Softening the edge myself modifies the original design and effects the potential resale value, and I could potentially mess up the finish of my instrument.

At this time, because I like the sound of my uke, I plan to hold on to it. I'm going to leave the edge as it is and see if after a couple of weeks of playing, hopefully my arm will become accustomed to the situation and it will not be as sensitive to the edge sharpness. If the discomfort does not go away, I will try to soften the edge myself. I think that if I can just remove enough material to take the sharp edge of, the situation will improve.

The sleeve idea would be my final option. But it is not a bad option.

dhoenisch
08-09-2011, 07:32 AM
I've seen self-adhesive arm rests for guitars which do look pretty nice, being made of a nice hard wood. I wonder if someone has anything like that for the uke. Heck, I could probably pretty easily make something like it.

Dan

Hitman
08-09-2011, 09:29 AM
I've seen self-adhesive arm rests for guitars which do look pretty nice, being made of a nice hard wood. I wonder if someone has anything like that for the uke. Heck, I could probably pretty easily make something like it.

Dan

Thanks Dan. I didn't know those types of things existed. I will try and work through it. If it isn't working out, I may discuss the option of making something with you.

chiefnoda
08-09-2011, 09:49 AM
I've seen self-adhesive arm rests for guitars

As Dan said above it's called John Pearse Arm Rest. It is not clear from photos but is is L-shaped and adheres only to the *edge* of a guitar.

http://www.jpstrings.com/armrest.htm

Oh, what do you know? I typed in "ukulele arm rest" and found

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-cXe2y9BtA

This is probably what you need.

Sanding out the edge is not a neat idea. And you shouldn't have to get another ukulele (probably the situation will ot change)

Meanwhile, I don't know why you have to press your arm so hard to the ukulele body. If you feel insecure. get a strap. You're probably holding ukulele using both hands. Ideally your hands should be free to move around, especially te left hand when you change chords. With a strap, you can really achieve it. I am a strong advocate for a strap, any kind. Ukulele Leash has been popular. I use a regular guitar or mando strap (with a strap pin on a neck block). A classical guitar strap is another option.

Happy Pickin
Chief

itsme
08-09-2011, 11:03 AM
Oh, what do you know? I typed in "ukulele arm rest" and found

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-cXe2y9BtA

This is probably what you need.

Sanding out the edge is not a neat idea. And you shouldn't have to get another ukulele (probably the situation will ot change)
Someone should market those uke arm rests! :)

Now, here's a radical idea... guy sawed off a portion of the lower bout of his guitar and put a cover over the hole to create an arm bevel. :yikes:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CoO3RW8fRE0

It's over 10 minutes, if you want to see the sawing/massacre, jump to 4:54, then to 6:24 to see a close-up of the cut.

Lori
08-09-2011, 12:24 PM
You could have Mike DaSilva make a custom uke for you with a built-in bevel.
http://ukemaker.com/DaSilva-InstrumentGallery.html
He has done some pretty tricky beveling (#249 and check out the James Hill models #237,#228,#229) in the cut-away area, so I am sure he could do something similar for the forearm on the lower bout.
He is a really nice guy too, so I am sure he would be able to help you out.

–Lori

Hitman
08-11-2011, 11:26 AM
You could have Mike DaSilva make a custom uke for you with a built-in bevel.
http://ukemaker.com/DaSilva-InstrumentGallery.html
He has done some pretty tricky beveling (#249 and check out the James Hill models #237,#228,#229) in the cut-away area, so I am sure he could do something similar for the forearm on the lower bout.
He is a really nice guy too, so I am sure he would be able to help you out.

–Lori

WOW! DaSilva does beautiful work. A bit out of my price range at the moment. Surely something to aspire to someday down the road.
Thanks for that link. I love looking at that kind of quality build.

Hitman
08-11-2011, 11:30 AM
As Dan said above it's called John Pearse Arm Rest. It is not clear from photos but is is L-shaped and adheres only to the *edge* of a guitar.

http://www.jpstrings.com/armrest.htm

Oh, what do you know? I typed in "ukulele arm rest" and found

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-cXe2y9BtA

This is probably what you need.

Sanding out the edge is not a neat idea. And you shouldn't have to get another ukulele (probably the situation will ot change)

Meanwhile, I don't know why you have to press your arm so hard to the ukulele body. If you feel insecure. get a strap. You're probably holding ukulele using both hands. Ideally your hands should be free to move around, especially te left hand when you change chords. With a strap, you can really achieve it. I am a strong advocate for a strap, any kind. Ukulele Leash has been popular. I use a regular guitar or mando strap (with a strap pin on a neck block). A classical guitar strap is another option.

Happy Pickin
Chief

That arm rest is a cool idea.

I don't intentionally press my arm into the uke body. Perhaps it is poor positioning of the uke on my part? I'm just resting my arm on the edge while I learn to strum and pick. As a result the edge is digging into my forearm. Last night I spent some time being more aware of how I'm positioning my uke while I play, and I'm trying to hold my strumming arm a bit diffently. I think that I will eventually find the positions that work best for me.

Thanks to everyone for the input!

bobbitybobman
08-12-2011, 07:25 AM
A video of how you hold your uke during playing will do wonders in diagnosing your problem.


Regardless of issue, a strap may improve your posture and lessen the pain. A ukestar strap (I have one) from Etsy or a ukeleash are good options if your uke didn't come with a strap button.