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  • Hand Cramp Help?

    Hi, HCEG. I'm sure a few recognize me, since I haven't been gone long. I've just been busy, and this new format doesn't work well on phones. Also, I haven't been playing much lately - I'm just not getting the same joy out of it, you know? My original band is all but dead, which was my mamain source of inspiration to play. Anyway, that brings me to my point - I still get cover gigs fairly regularly that earn me a few bucks, and I had one today. During an instrumental section I've played a hundred times before, my left hand cramped up pretty badly. Couldn't play the part right, and had to shake it out after the song. This has never happened, even in my early days. Any ways to prevent this? I suppose practicing more would help, but I only practice enough to keep these paying gigs coming (which means very, very little practice on guitar).
    Guitars: 3 Fender Strats, Fender Jazzmaster, Squier Bullet, 2 Gibson Les Pauls, Gibson ES-339, Gibson Les Paul Jr. Special, Epiphone Les Paul, Epiphone Dot, Epiphone SG, PRS SE Custom 24, Ibanez AS73, Hamer Duotone, Larrivee D-03R, Takamine EG5013S, 1951 Epiphone Devon, Ibanez SR305 (bass)Pedal Chain: BBE Green Screamer -> MXR Distortion III -> Boss CE-5 -> EH Stereo Pulsar -> Boss DD-20 -> BBE Boosta GrandeAmps: Vox AC4, AC15, AC30, Pathfinder 10, DA5SoundCloud

  • #2
    If it's cramps playing more won't help that. Today was the first time I played in about 8 weeks and I played for 3 hrs and no cramps. If it's cramps, your hands are like any part of your body. They need to be stretched properly. Try stretching your hand before you play and warm up properly. If that doesn't help then I'm afraid you developing hand problems.

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    • #3
      Welcome back
      My wife uses a bar of soap to stop muscle cramps,no joke look it up. Maybe keep a bar of soap handy and hold it in your hand between songs.

      http://www.peoplespharmacy.com/2011/...lieves-cramps/
      Last edited by gardo; 07-10-2014, 08:57 PM.

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      • #4
        Stretching. Also as with all cramps, make sure you're well hydrated and fed.

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        • #5
          If you haven't played regularly in a while its very possible you're attempting to push yourself like you did when you were in top shape. Working up to top fitness is long and hard. Loosing that edge doesn't take much time at all. You may have what it takes in your mind but physically you can loose that edge and not even know it. Then when you're pressing yourself to play like you did you don't listen to the warning signs.

          Cramps can occur when there's a lack of adequate blood flow and the muscles become starved for energy, become weak and then they get hurt and later inflamed. There's nothing you can do at that point besides go through the healing cycle. Cold the hot compresses can help a bit but its still going to take time for that muscle mass to rebuild. Later you can help it along.

          The trick is to avoid this to begin with. Getting back to regular exercise, working up slowly in power and speed is the only real effective method of being in shape. There are no shortcuts. You want to play like a maestro, you got to put the time in. If you neglect your time woodshedding it doesn't matter what you know or how much experience you have, you aren't going to have the physical dexterity you should to met or exceed what you did in the past.

          You also mentioned the band was a main motivator for your playing. Interdependence is a tough thing to deal with. Bands are like any other relationships you have with people. If you get too involved on a personal level it quits being a business and 9 times out of 10 it doesn't last. It may be great for awhile, but chances are you loose focus on impressing your audience and resort to impressing each other. Then when you fail to get a response back you withdraw and drop out because you're feeding on other peoples emotions that also have a lust to feed on emotions. Its like a clan of vampires feeding on each other instead of the audience.

          I have learned from all the bands I've played in.

          1.) Never compromise your own skill and let yourself become dependent on other band members to inspire or motivate you.

          2). Don't let others become dependent on you to inspire them. This may feed your ego in the short run but those players quickly become a monkey on your back and eventually demand more and more from you. Instead of being an artist you become their emotional support system.

          3.) If you haven't got the inspiration and love of music to play solo, you gave your balls away to someone else. Get them back and be a man again. Get back to liking who your are and seeing the world the way you did as a solo player. Life is good. Never let anyone tell you otherwise. Chances are you got suckered into believing life is miserable. You have to get back to wanting to jump out of bed in the morning because life is so great and exciting you don't want to miss a minute of it. Picking up that guitar should feel like you just win the lottery. If you lost that feeling, quit feeling sorry for yourself and go find it. Chances are you been tripping over it every day since you thought you lost it.

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          • #6
            It can help to use a short-scale guitar

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            • #7
              WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?

              You have to take a break, basically. I've had tendonitis twice this year, both times to the point of barely being able to use my arm. Don't play, type, or pick up heavy objects for a few days. If you need to type to work, don't rest your arm on anything, and take breaks to stretch it out. Muscle rub really helps too.
              .

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              • #8

                Maybe, if it works with the venue, try a couple of sessions sitting on a stage stool (I am being serious ) to ease the angles on the wrist and back of the hand (particularly if you use a lot of bends) your tendons may have shortened a little from lack of stretches.
                Less is more

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                • #9
                  Could it be - less practice = less confidence = more tension = gripping like a gorilla ?
                  Don't pick a fight with an old man,
                  If he is too old to fight, he'll just kill you.


                  '' Who, me Officer?''

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                  • #10
                    Remember that everything is connected t everything else. Issues with the had may originate as far up as your shoulders. Make sure you are maintaining a good overall posture and take periodic breaks to stretch.




                    Notice how Ritchie plays his guitar up high enough to maintain a straight wrist like a classical player, which greatly reduces fatigue.



                    you can't control the wind but you can learn to sail

                    contentment is true wealth

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                    • #11
                      ^^^^ +1
                      Less is more

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                      • #12
                        Thanks, guys. Gonna look up that soap thing, Gardo. Sounds crazy, but I'm intrigued!

                        Stretching, yeah. Honestly, I should have thought of that.

                        I hold my guitar a bit above the waist. I gave up trying to look cool many years ago.

                        @WRGKMC thanks for the thoughtful reply. My disenchantment or whatever is based on a few things. See, I can't play my original music live by myself - I need a band. I mean, I've done the whole singer-songwriter acoustic troubadour thing, and it's not really worked for me. I play many solo acoustic gigs (that's that extra money I was talking about) so it's not that I can't, it's just not the type of creative outlet that I get a lot out of. Maybe my band will get out of its funk, and I'll be into it again, but we've been ever so slowly trying to record an album for the last year or more. Things have not worked well, things have gone slowly, and I have absolutely no motivation to try and start tracking another song. I have been trying to work myself up to it, but my recording gear stays in my office.

                        Anyway, music has always been aa part of my life, and these days, I'm playing covers (often solo acoustic) every couple weeks, and enjoying a little cash for my troubles. My driving force has always been my original music, and that's about gone. So, I play less. I'm sure I'll pick back up one of these days.
                        Guitars: 3 Fender Strats, Fender Jazzmaster, Squier Bullet, 2 Gibson Les Pauls, Gibson ES-339, Gibson Les Paul Jr. Special, Epiphone Les Paul, Epiphone Dot, Epiphone SG, PRS SE Custom 24, Ibanez AS73, Hamer Duotone, Larrivee D-03R, Takamine EG5013S, 1951 Epiphone Devon, Ibanez SR305 (bass)Pedal Chain: BBE Green Screamer -> MXR Distortion III -> Boss CE-5 -> EH Stereo Pulsar -> Boss DD-20 -> BBE Boosta GrandeAmps: Vox AC4, AC15, AC30, Pathfinder 10, DA5SoundCloud

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