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Thread: Cramping?!?

  1. #1
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    Mar 2008
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    Hayward, CA
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    Unhappy Cramping?!?

    I know once you start learning and playing the uke/guitar (esp guitar), you sort of get cramped up and tired. Well, for me at least. But this is for my left hand when playing chords, especially when pressing down hard. I get sore/cramped for about 10 seconds then i'm good.

    It just so happens in the muscle below your thumb. I believe its both the Abductor and Adductor pollicis (google the image and you'll see). I guess pushing hard against the neck for support hurts it, but its the only way I get a clear nice chord. Any way I can either get a nice clean sound, or an alternate way of doing so without hurting it. It happens alot with the uke too, especially playing with the Tenor. It feels sort of relieving when massaging it.

    Any advice would be great.


    Btw, this happens when usually barring chords and playing hard notes (like Bsus2 on the uke ).

  2. #2
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    Ok,
    here it is..
    I use to get carpel Tunnel. Or had it. Attended the Specalist and they gave me heaps of antibiotics to take. It helped!
    As for the cramping of your fingers, I HIGHLY SUGGEST you should do streches before you play. take breaks!!
    Do the warm up streches that Aldrine teaches in the Uke Minutes.
    Dont fall into the trap of practising sooo hard and having a doctor to let you know you cant pick up the ukulele anymore... it hurts dude.. right to the heart.


  3. #3
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    Honestly, thats normal. I used to feel really sore after long sessions.

    The best thing would be to keep at it and build up the strength and endurance in your hand and arm. The more you keep with it the longer you can last without getting sore. And later you wont get cramps.

    I don't really do any stretches or warmups, though they probably will help you. To warmup I just play a few easy songs then practice some of the harder more demanding stuff.
    Last edited by davoomac; 06-14-2008 at 04:19 AM.

  4. #4
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    i feel like this after playing any jack johnson song on guitar. 98% of them require all barre chords!!! try getting one of those stress relief balls and squeeze it while you watch tv, ride the bus, sit on the can, etc. it will build up strength in your fingers and soon you will have GI Joe kung fu grip!!

  5. #5
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    South Hill, VA
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    Tennis balls are a great cheap way to strengthen your fingers.

    Take one and squeeze it, hold for 2-3 seconds and do about 8-12 reps a few times a day.

    If that is too easy lengthen the time you spend holding the squeeze.

    You can also use rubber bands. Take a few and surround them around your fingertips (including your thumb)- then keeping your fingers in a circle formation- spread your fingers apart. If one band is too easy (most likely it will be) double up the band either by wraping your fingers twice or using another rubber band. Just like with the tennis ball 2-3 second hold for 8-12 reps- just remember to up the # of bands if it's way too easy.

    Here's some pics to show more. I didn't have and rubber bands handy- so I used a hair tie- rubber bands, of course, allow you to stretch much better than this pic shows.

    Start:

    Finish:



    If you like anatomy- the tenis ball one works the adductor pollicis muscles, and the opponens pollicis, as well as the finger flexors (flexor digitorum profundus/superficialis muscles),the muscles used to fret. The rubber band one works the finger abductors/extensors and the abductor/flexor pollicis... These muscles aren't used directly in fretting- but they are kind of used as stabilizers when you fret. So, if you do both of these you'll strengthen just about everything you need to.

    If you want to go all out, another good thing to strengthen is your wrist muscles- as the muscles around the wrist are really important to grip strength. Just grab a can of baked beans or some such and rest your forearm on a chair. With your palm facing down do a few wrist curls (if the can is too light you can grab a 5-10 lbs weight at pretty much any sports store/department). Then flip your palm up and do a few more wrist curls. You should feel the burn in your forearm and around your elbow. (The muscles done here are pretty much every muscles that crosses your wrist- the flexor/extensor digitorum muscles and the flexor/extensor carpi-blah muscles)

    And if you are willing to spend some $$, instead of a tenis ball you can try the GripMaster I've got one, and it's nice cause you can target individual fingers.
    Last edited by Valerie; 06-14-2008 at 04:57 AM.

  6. #6
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    Dude, thank you guysss!!

  7. #7
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    Seattle, WA
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    How long have you been playing? It's rally normal if you just started, a little abnormal if you've been going at it for a while (1+ years).

    As stated, stretching beforehand does help, but really the only thing that really helps is to just keep on playing, playing, playing. your fingers will eventually learn and grow to the new motions and forces you're putting them through.
    "I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me."

  8. #8
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    Cedar City, Utah..But stright from Da 684 American Samoa
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    Quote Originally Posted by degracia View Post
    I know once you start learning and playing the uke/guitar (esp guitar), you sort of get cramped up and tired. Well, for me at least. But this is for my left hand when playing chords, especially when pressing down hard. I get sore/cramped for about 10 seconds then i'm good.

    It just so happens in the muscle below your thumb. I believe its both the Abductor and Adductor pollicis (google the image and you'll see). I guess pushing hard against the neck for support hurts it, but its the only way I get a clear nice chord. Any way I can either get a nice clean sound, or an alternate way of doing so without hurting it. It happens alot with the uke too, especially playing with the Tenor. It feels sort of relieving when massaging it.

    Any advice would be great.


    Btw, this happens when usually barring chords and playing hard notes (like Bsus2 on the uke ).
    Hey you know what, i have the same problem and i really get mad. So mad i get to the point that im thinking about throughing my guitar out the window because i think whats the point sometimes. But recently i played a guitar of a friend of mine, it was a washburn. And too my suprise it didnt cramp my hand that much. I could play alot long and more comfotable. I recenlty decided to buy a washburn because of my recent discovery. I did research on it and found that thats actually WASHBURN guitars tardmark is a thiner neck making playing easier. So i mean i just thought i would share with you since i had the same problem and almost went crazy, so if i can help somebody out then great...message me and let me know if it helps.

    ricki
    TU'UMALO

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    koloa not kauai
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    this might help, lower the action on your guitar( under the bridge of the guitar , there should have some spacers under it if your lucky.) and or change your stings to lights . this should make playing easier and less camping.

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