Author Topic: Old right shoulder injury and missing strings  (Read 2650 times)

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Offline swaffi

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Old right shoulder injury and missing strings
« on: November 27, 2021, 08:11:33 am »
Hey guys, I'm working on the beginner's blues solo in grade 2 and I quite often skip strings. It xx--xx me no end. I have an old injured right ac joint that sometimes just fatigues too quickly (I only started with the guitar 8-10 months ago and am 52 years old)

Has anybody else had this kind of injury and how do they deal with their guitar playing?

By the way, I'm not blaming the skipping string issue solely on my right shoulder but it could be a factor.

Disregarding the shoulder issue, is there any technique I can work on when it comes to skipping strings or is it just one of those things you have to keep working on?

Offline DarrellW

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Re: Old right shoulder injury and missing strings
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2021, 08:40:30 am »
I don’t have that type of injury but I do have a condition that causes all over pain including my shoulders and neck, the biggest thing that helps me to carry on playing is a combination of determination, meditation and correct posture. In your case Ibuprofen gel may help also, use it around 30mins before you play, I’ve used it in the past and it has helped.
One other thing I do with my posture is to try and position my arm so that movement for picking comes only from my wrist and elbow, you need to experiment and find out what works for you.
Still here, still learning and still a monumentally stubborn old f4rt 😂

Offline swaffi

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Re: Old right shoulder injury and missing strings
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2021, 09:38:20 am »
Thanks  Darrell. I appreciate the advice. I might just give that gel a go

Offline rwoodlin

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Re: Old right shoulder injury and missing strings
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2021, 01:13:39 pm »
Hi, Swaffi.

I have found that Justin's spider exercise really helps with picking the right string at the right time. 

https://www.justinguitar.com/guitar-lessons/the-spider-te-201

I am 67, soon to be 68.  My fingers, wrists, elbows, shoulders and just about every other joint have been abused by years of using chainsaws, sawmilling and other forestry related activities.  I have nasty trigger fingers on both hands (ring fingers). Got shots for the trigger fingers that helped for a while but Doc says no more shots only surgery can correct the issue.  Takes 6-8 weeks to recover from the surgery and longer to regain flexibility so I am putting that off as long as I can.  In the meantime, I have discovered a cream that has helped a lot and extended the amount of time I can play.  It is a cannabis derived cream called CBD Infused Cream 500, muscle and joint formula.  Made by CBD Pure.  I apply the cream to my hands, wrists, elbows and shoulders each night before I lay down to sleep.  I don't know what the laws are where you live so it may not be available to you.  But if it is you might give it a try.
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Offline batwoman

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Re: Old right shoulder injury and missing strings
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2021, 08:55:42 pm »
Some more suggestion swaffi ...

* try playing standing up
* play for short intervals, stop, stretch, change activities, then come back to guitar
* be aware of where you're holding unnecessary tension in your body. This competes with the muscles and biomechanics that you want to engage
* to check your posture and where there may be competitive tension, video yourself
* take regular long, deep breaths, encourage this as a habit the entire time you're playing, this helps reduce tension

Offline swaffi

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Re: Old right shoulder injury and missing strings
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2021, 11:27:42 pm »
Thanks, batwoman, I've tried playing standing up but I'm all over the place. The guitar straps seem to make it more difficult for me to play that way, although,  I would love to be able to do that. I definitely believe that my breathing and posture need attention sometimes. I do tense up. That's an issue in itself

Thanks again

Offline swaffi

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Re: Old right shoulder injury and missing strings
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2021, 11:34:06 pm »
Hi, Swaffi.

I have found that Justin's spider exercise really helps with picking the right string at the right time. 

https://www.justinguitar.com/guitar-lessons/the-spider-te-201

I am 67, soon to be 68.  My fingers, wrists, elbows, shoulders and just about every other joint have been abused by years of using chainsaws, sawmilling and other forestry related activities.  I have nasty trigger fingers on both hands (ring fingers). Got shots for the trigger fingers that helped for a while but Doc says no more shots only surgery can correct the issue.  Takes 6-8 weeks to recover from the surgery and longer to regain flexibility so I am putting that off as long as I can.  In the meantime, I have discovered a cream that has helped a lot and extended the amount of time I can play.  It is a cannabis derived cream called CBD Infused Cream 500, muscle and joint formula.  Made by CBD Pure.  I apply the cream to my hands, wrists, elbows and shoulders each night before I lay down to sleep.  I don't know what the laws are where you live so it may not be available to you.  But if it is you might give it a try.
Thanks rwoodlin, unfortunately, the laws and red tape in Australia for  CBD Infused Cream 500 are frustrating at best. I'll keep digging away and see what I can find. Sounds like you've put your body through the ringer. Best of luck with your playing mate

Offline swaffi

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Re: Old right shoulder injury and missing strings
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2021, 11:36:10 pm »
Hi, Swaffi.

I have found that Justin's spider exercise really helps with picking the right string at the right time. 

https://www.justinguitar.com/guitar-lessons/the-spider-te-201

I am 67, soon to be 68.  My fingers, wrists, elbows, shoulders and just about every other joint have been abused by years of using chainsaws, sawmilling and other forestry related activities.  I have nasty trigger fingers on both hands (ring fingers). Got shots for the trigger fingers that helped for a while but Doc says no more shots only surgery can correct the issue.  Takes 6-8 weeks to recover from the surgery and longer to regain flexibility so I am putting that off as long as I can.  In the meantime, I have discovered a cream that has helped a lot and extended the amount of time I can play.  It is a cannabis derived cream called CBD Infused Cream 500, muscle and joint formula.  Made by CBD Pure.  I apply the cream to my hands, wrists, elbows and shoulders each night before I lay down to sleep.  I don't know what the laws are where you live so it may not be available to you.  But if it is you might give it a try.
Oh, another thing I forgot to say, I think I've touched on the spider before with Andy Guitar. I'll give that one a look as well. Cheers

Offline batwoman

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Re: Old right shoulder injury and missing strings
« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2021, 12:15:04 am »
Thanks, batwoman, I've tried playing standing up but I'm all over the place. The guitar straps seem to make it more difficult for me to play that way, although,  I would love to be able to do that. I definitely believe that my breathing and posture need attention sometimes. I do tense up. That's an issue in itself

Thanks again

Yeah it's harder standing to play. Being mindful of your posture will certainly help.

Now I know you live in Australia, for pain relief, this site may be useful.
https://hempembassy.net/2021/05/08/how-to-access-legal-medical-cannabis/

If you go to this page there's a great deal of other info that may be useful.
https://hempembassy.net/medical/

Offline AndyTake2

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Re: Old right shoulder injury and missing strings
« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2021, 01:50:50 pm »
Standing up would be best, but as you find it awkward, save it til you are able to do so.
Make sure you sit on a surface so the top (front) of your thighs are roughly parallel with the floor - this will move the guitar body slightly further down the body.

The AC joint is a bit of a pig when it comes to guitars.
I started learning just over 20 years ago, and had to drop it within a year because of AC and other shoulder issues.
I have now started again, but playing left handed - my left AC joint and surrounding structures is knackered, but not as bad as it would be if I were playing right handed.
So basically I am currently in the same sort of position as you, but a mirror image :)

Now to the point.
The AC joint along with the other main joint of the shoulder - the Glenohumeral Joint ( the arm bone and the bit of the scapula that most people think of as the shoulder) work together in such a way that when playing guitar, we force it into an unnatural position whilst sitting.

If the GH joint (i.e. your arm) moves to 30 degrees abduction (moving away from the body sideways) it should also rotate externally (so your hand would face palm upwards) - otherwise the humerus starts catching on that lovely little AC joint...or more specifically it squishes the supraspinatus tendon, which causes a lot of pain.

The other thing that happens is that the clavicle must also move in a strange way - at the sternum it is supposed to lift and rotate, which causes a slight rotation at the AC joint.  Again, with a guitar we are fighting this, which is not a good idea.

This is where posture, seat height and arm position comes into play.
Justin has some good videos on the basics of holding a guitar, but as an addition I would skip the bit where he says to sit on the edge of the sofa, and ditch the sofa completely - get a seat, even a fold-up one which allows your legs to be in the position mentioned earlier, and rest the guitar on your lap in the normal way.  Make sure that your strumming arm is relaxed but not dropped - it is easy to cause further problems by locking your shoulder into some weird positions.

Looking at the guitar will also aggravate the condition, as the larger muscles such as traps etc will try to pull the shoulder in two directions at once.  This is a good reason to learn the chords without looking at the guitar!

The other issue could be from the guitar itself.  If you are using a humungous acoustic which forces your arm to look like a demented orangutan when playing, it won't do you any favours.  Strat style guitars are likely to be better.
I currently have a Les Paul copy which I got second hand, but am seriously considering a Jazzmaster style as a replacement - this has the dip in the lower part of the guitar further back, meaning the strumming arm should hopefully come more across the body.  I am considering this because my AC joint etc gives me problems.

As for everything else, ice if the problem becomes sore, ice and heat if it is just old and knackered, and give yourself some rest - music theory could fill the gaps.

BTW I was a Sports Therapist, so used to fix shoulders, backs, backs and more backs :P
I'm about 4 months into learning, so have a lot of the same issues - if only I knew someone who could fix my shoulder ::)

Offline Jamolay

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Re: Old right shoulder injury and missing strings
« Reply #10 on: December 02, 2021, 02:09:40 pm »
Good advice from Andytake2 above.

I also wonder if you might benefit from a more classical guitar stance. Put the waist of your guitar on the left thigh and raise the neck more towards (but not) vertically. That should reduce abduction of the should and unload the AC joint.


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Offline AndyTake2

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Re: Old right shoulder injury and missing strings
« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2021, 08:30:53 am »
Classical stance may well help.
My own shoulder is being a pig at the minute, and I have switched to the guitar being on my right leg (play left handed) which certainly alleviates some pressure from the left shoulder

Offline J.W.C.

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Re: Old right shoulder injury and missing strings
« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2021, 04:46:06 pm »
I also wonder if you might benefit from a more classical guitar stance.

FWIW, that is my default position for playing guitar (when seated). It feels the most relaxed and natural, to me.

Offline AndyTake2

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Re: Old right shoulder injury and missing strings
« Reply #13 on: December 18, 2021, 01:04:03 pm »
Sorry for not answering the missing string bit.

As one beginner to another, I have found that I tend to miss strings when playing some chord changes such as D to just about anything, as the E and A strings are left out of the D, and correcting that for other chords when changing can often go amiss.

The other thing is usually when I use too much wrist movement rather than arm movement...strictly speaking that should be hand rather than wrist, but that is being pedantic about anatomy :P

This often happens when trying to vary the chords such as in 'Silent night' where I play a full open G, then play a 'normal' G, but on the first strum play all strings, then miss the bass notes and end up right on the last two strings.  Going back to another chord and trying to vary it often then causes some strings to be missed.

I have found the best way to deal with this is to go back to the simple strumming motion that Justin shows - straight down across every string to start with, and notice where your hand and arm are when every ntoe rings out.
The other thing, if I am missing the high E or B, is to make sure I try to hit the scratch plate with the pic - it forces me to not lift off too soon.
All the joints in the body are rotational (different types, but nothing moves in a straight line) so activating the hand, fingers, wrist and upper arm in any combination needs careful control.

Just go back to the very basics and look at what is happening with your technique.

Offline DavidP

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Re: Old right shoulder injury and missing strings
« Reply #14 on: December 18, 2021, 04:43:07 pm »
AndyTake2, I've not been following this thread, so nothing to add. Just wanted to mention that this Forum is now being hosted on a new platform that is integrated with the JGwebsite ... just in case you missed the announcement. You can go to the JGwebsite, login, and then find the link to the new Community on the Playground menu.
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