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This is a well-worn theme I know but I have a touch of tendonitis (again). I'm trying figure out whether it's just general over-use--guitar and computer--or if there is some connection to my recent purchase of an HJ-38 Stefan Grossman Martin--a fantastic sounding and looking guitar. I usually play OOOs and OMs so the deeper J size feels, well, bigger. Any thoughts or tips on adjusting technique, posture, etc, would be good to hear about.

If El McMeen's listening and I know he's familiar with the HJ-38: Any suggestions El?

Cheers, Mike

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Replies to This Discussion

Hi John

I've played fingerstyle guitar for near on 40 years and have had tendonitis a few times. When it's cropped up I've seen my sympathetic doctor, done the physio, take fish oil, iced, done the stretches, warm-ups, and had those frustrating periods of lay-off. I suppose my query was more about whether other folks have any tricks or suggestions about posture and technique with Martin jumbo size guitars (to counter what I suspect may be mild tendonitis induced by changing from my regular guitars--OOOs and OMs--to the HJ-38)...Appreciate your response but...

Cheers, M. makes a leather apparatus that hooks onto the strap pin and fastens on the bottom side of the guitar close to the waist with a suction cup. What it does is put the guitar into an ideal playing position while resting on your thigh. I say this because proper posture while playing (back and arms) is important to avoid over-use injury. I have a Martin J40 (jumbo), and using it really makes a difference.
I had this problem about 8 years ago. It's the beginnings of carpal tunnel syndrome. Went to a chiro and also worked with an Alexander Technique instructor.

Here is how I fixed it: classical position with a guitar support and making sure I keep my wrists aligned with my forearm. IOW - I do not deviate my right hand wrist (eg. like Segovia or John Williams) - I keep it straight (like David Russel and Scott Tennant). The classical position, puts the least amount of pressure on the left wrist also -- keep the headstock of the guitar at or above your eyes.

Using a guitar support on my classical is a cinch. My classical is super light - weighs about 3 pounds. I tried the neck-up, the Gitano, the dyanette cushion, and finally landed on the Ergoplay Tappert style. I can use it on my steel string as well (Collings OM2H).

For a jumbo size steel string, a support may work but it may feel awkward. You could use a footstool; but long term use of a footstool can cause lower back issues. I would highly recommend you get a really comfortable strap and adjust it so the guitar is in classical position and use it when you are sitting and standing.

Hope this helps.

Exercise can really help. You said tendinitis (back) and the headline mentions tingling fingers, so it's a bit unclear as to what's what. Regardless, stretching your back and neck loosens tight muscles and relieves pressure on the nerves, and exercises from walking to situps to weights (including dumbbell wrist curls) strengthens everything and breaks down the tension from too much time in one position. Take care of this stuff -- I've been managing through a neck fusion and a surgically repaired right wrist (old athletic injuries) for 30-40 years and still playing but did have to have a carpal tunnel surgery a couple years ago. .
Hi Steve

Yes, my original post was unclear, sorry about that. I meant that it seemed that tendonitis may have returned. I have had it in the past, sometimes from guitar playing and one really bad bout when renovating a house--carrying bricks with extended arms. As in the past, it has manifest as tingling fingers, occasional shots of pain in the tennis elbow region, etc., all the lower arm/hand stuff but yes also with stiff 'tension' neck. I've been doing the stretching exercises etc that a physio showed me last time. Also my wife has been showing me some slow pilates exercises for neck agility/flexibility.

New guitar, played too much, and used to my other smaller OOOs and OMs, no doubt have all contributed to my condition but maybe it's a wake up call to straighten-out my sitting/holding technique (and do more on the exercise front).

But I'm also really interested in the suggestions above about guitar supports and correcting posture--especially with the size of the HJ-38. I appreciate all the comments.

Cheers, M.
I had kind of a humorous problem that is related. I had been having pain in my left wrist, especially when I extended my pinky to hit a note on the E or A string. I went to the doctor and showed him what I was doing (without a guitar, just holding my hand in position.) My doctor, who knows nothing about guitar, said, "Well, here's your problem, look how your wrist is bent." I realized that over time I have developed a bit of a belly, and it caused the guitar to rotate around to the right side, rather than be in front. This caused my wrist to be more in a bent position, in front of me rather than to the left. I adjusted my playing position to bring the guitar around to the front, (and also have been working with some success at reducing the belly), and it worked; no more pain.


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