[Tremolo] Right hand wrist pain when accelerating finger movements

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Guitar Maniac
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[Tremolo] Right hand wrist pain when accelerating finger movements

Post by Guitar Maniac » Wed Dec 21, 2016 3:54 am

I know there are already plenty of topics about tremolo here, however my problem is a bit different so I would like to add another topic.
Currently I am practicing "Sueno en la floresta" in the manner of flamenco tremolo (piami pattern) and whenever I try accelerating my finger movements to the normal tremolo speed, I get a pain on the left side of my right hand wrist after just 30 seconds playing, also there is a pain on the axis from my wrist to my index finger, up to the point that my hand feels rigid.

My nails touch the strings at around 45 degree angle and my right hand wrist curves that its left side points at an outward angle.

Any advice regarding this issue?
Thanks in advance!

Marshall Dixon
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Re: [Tremolo] Right hand wrist pain when accelerating finger movements

Post by Marshall Dixon » Fri Dec 23, 2016 3:44 pm

Guitar Maniac wrote:I know there are already plenty of topics about tremolo here, however my problem is a bit different so I would like to add another topic.
Currently I am practicing "Sueno en la floresta" in the manner of flamenco tremolo (piami pattern) and whenever I try accelerating my finger movements to the normal tremolo speed, I get a pain on the left side of my right hand wrist after just 30 seconds playing, also there is a pain on the axis from my wrist to my index finger, up to the point that my hand feels rigid.

My nails touch the strings at around 45 degree angle and my right hand wrist curves that its left side points at an outward angle.

Any advice regarding this issue?
Thanks in advance!

Hello Guitar Maniac,

I am going to end up advising you to see a hand specialist. But several things to think about in case there is one who happens to read this.

How old are you. What kind of work do your hands do on a regular basis?
How long has this been a problem; was it gradual or sudden in onset?
Is there a tingling sensation or any numbness associated?
Does any other activity produce these symptoms?

When describing anatomical positions of the hand remember that the palms are facing forward, so when you describe "the left side of my right hand wrist" that indicates the pinky side (ulnar aspect) of the hand, no?

I am presently recovering from surgery of both hands for carpal tunnel problems. The symptoms you describe are similar to those I had.

I hope you can see a doctor about this. I would bet that it won't go away on it's own.

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AndreiKrylov
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Re: [Tremolo] Right hand wrist pain when accelerating finger movements

Post by AndreiKrylov » Fri Dec 23, 2016 4:14 pm

1. play only with warm and relaxed hand.
2. lower your guitar tuning half - tone
3. put low tension strings on guitar
4. practice your tremolo without guitar on something like small bamboo stick (but only with warm relaxing hands, lightly and never with any pain and you could do it while walking or watching TV etc. )
5. never try to force yourself - you do not need any power or strength for tremolo - just precision and lightness
Last edited by AndreiKrylov on Fri Dec 23, 2016 4:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.
I'd better speak by music...Please listen Andrei Krylov at Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music, Amazon Prime etc. Thanks!

Bill B
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Re: [Tremolo] Right hand wrist pain when accelerating finger movements

Post by Bill B » Fri Dec 23, 2016 4:38 pm

Andrei nailed it. i advise the same but i will put it into my own words. i tell my students that when you practice you are trying to make the habits you wish to use when you perform. if you don't want to perform with tension and pain, never practice with tension or pain. only practice tremolo as long as you can do it without strain. practicing to the point of strain can cause more harm than good.
2013 Angel Benito Aguado
2005 Ramirez R-2

Marshall Dixon
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Re: [Tremolo] Right hand wrist pain when accelerating finger movements

Post by Marshall Dixon » Fri Dec 23, 2016 10:30 pm

AndreiKrylov wrote:1. play only with warm and relaxed hand.
2. lower your guitar tuning half - tone
3. put low tension strings on guitar
4. practice your tremolo without guitar on something like small bamboo stick (but only with warm relaxing hands, lightly and never with any pain and you could do it while walking or watching TV etc. )
5. never try to force yourself - you do not need any power or strength for tremolo - just precision and lightness
I agree with points 1 and 5. But How does a bamboo stick compare to low tension strings? I don't understand how the tension of the strings is going to effect the movement of the right hand doing tremolo. Especially to the degree that the OP described. I imagine one is working on training the brain for a new fingering sequence, especially if another form of tremolo has been used in the past. So a bamboo stick could work for sequence training.

Is this a problem associated with learning a new tremolo technique. Could it be a problem of focal dystonia? It sounds severe.

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AndreiKrylov
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Re: [Tremolo] Right hand wrist pain when accelerating finger movements

Post by AndreiKrylov » Fri Dec 23, 2016 11:09 pm

Marshall Dixon wrote:
AndreiKrylov wrote:1. play only with warm and relaxed hand.
2. lower your guitar tuning half - tone
3. put low tension strings on guitar
4. practice your tremolo without guitar on something like small bamboo stick (but only with warm relaxing hands, lightly and never with any pain and you could do it while walking or watching TV etc. )
5. never try to force yourself - you do not need any power or strength for tremolo - just precision and lightness
I agree with points 1 and 5. But How does a bamboo stick compare to low tension strings? I don't understand how the tension of the strings is going to effect the movement of the right hand doing tremolo. Especially to the degree that the OP described. I imagine one is working on training the brain for a new fingering sequence, especially if another form of tremolo has been used in the past. So a bamboo stick could work for sequence training.

Is this a problem associated with learning a new tremolo technique. Could it be a problem of focal dystonia? It sounds severe.
why bamboo stick?
1.because it is round and hollow - it is easy to use it as tool in this way, and it makes sounds loud enough.
2. it has no strings, therefore no tension and no resistance to your fingers therefore you could use with condition that your hand will be relaxed etc.

- but that is why I mentioned to tune down and low tension strings - less resistance to fingers, therefore less possibility of trauma...
And yes, I observed in my life many people who always played with very stiff fingers and used a lot of power (unnecessarily) and were both physically and psychologically very tense...then others were quite relaxed - why is that? -no idea..we are different in some ways... for some they own almost mental tension and stiffness in relation to playing were the most hard obstacle to overcome...
I'd better speak by music...Please listen Andrei Krylov at Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music, Amazon Prime etc. Thanks!

Guitar Maniac
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Re: [Tremolo] Right hand wrist pain when accelerating finger movements

Post by Guitar Maniac » Wed Dec 28, 2016 2:43 pm

Marshall Dixon wrote:
Guitar Maniac wrote:I know there are already plenty of topics about tremolo here, however my problem is a bit different so I would like to add another topic.
Currently I am practicing "Sueno en la floresta" in the manner of flamenco tremolo (piami pattern) and whenever I try accelerating my finger movements to the normal tremolo speed, I get a pain on the left side of my right hand wrist after just 30 seconds playing, also there is a pain on the axis from my wrist to my index finger, up to the point that my hand feels rigid.

My nails touch the strings at around 45 degree angle and my right hand wrist curves that its left side points at an outward angle.

Any advice regarding this issue?
Thanks in advance!

Hello Guitar Maniac,

I am going to end up advising you to see a hand specialist. But several things to think about in case there is one who happens to read this.

How old are you. What kind of work do your hands do on a regular basis?
How long has this been a problem; was it gradual or sudden in onset?
Is there a tingling sensation or any numbness associated?
Does any other activity produce these symptoms?

When describing anatomical positions of the hand remember that the palms are facing forward, so when you describe "the left side of my right hand wrist" that indicates the pinky side (ulnar aspect) of the hand, no?

I am presently recovering from surgery of both hands for carpal tunnel problems. The symptoms you describe are similar to those I had.

I hope you can see a doctor about this. I would bet that it won't go away on it's own.
I'm 29 (actually my 28th birthday was on 20th this month) and I'm a software developer and an Internet addict so my right hand index finger clicks mouse for more than 10 hours a day.
I had practiced this piece 2 years ago then gave up and now I come back on it, but if I remember well the problem is sudden.
No tingling sensation or any numbness associated at all, just pain and rigid.

When I described "the left side of my right hand wrist", that's from my inner view point towards my hands so that indicates the thumb side.

I hope it's not carpal tunnel problems in my case :(
AndreiKrylov wrote:1. play only with warm and relaxed hand.
2. lower your guitar tuning half - tone
3. put low tension strings on guitar
4. practice your tremolo without guitar on something like small bamboo stick (but only with warm relaxing hands, lightly and never with any pain and you could do it while walking or watching TV etc. )
5. never try to force yourself - you do not need any power or strength for tremolo - just precision and lightness
About 4 I'm not sure about practicing tremolo on a bamboo stick because it's quite short thus the space to put all 4 fingers p ami is quite narrow too. However, sometimes during a daily meeting at work I often imitate tremolo movement on my jean's creases and I find the feeling very similar to the feeling when my fingers touch guitar strings.
Bill B wrote:Andrei nailed it. i advise the same but i will put it into my own words. i tell my students that when you practice you are trying to make the habits you wish to use when you perform. if you don't want to perform with tension and pain, never practice with tension or pain. only practice tremolo as long as you can do it without strain. practicing to the point of strain can cause more harm than good.
Many thanks all of you guys for giving me advices. At the moment I'm trying a more flat right hand wrist (wrist is almost in parallel with the sound board while the attack angle is still 45 degrees or so). I find this more relax, no unnecessary tension raise but of course it limits my fingers'movements, especially thumb finger.

Dmitry Nilov
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Re: [Tremolo] Right hand wrist pain when accelerating finger movements

Post by Dmitry Nilov » Mon Jan 09, 2017 1:14 pm

Hello!
Here are my "tips" for guitarists concerning playing tremolo in general.

Youtube


Youtube

But it is better to see precisely your hand to give any advice, so do you have an opportunity to make a short video and share it here?

Claire Etoile
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Re: [Tremolo] Right hand wrist pain when accelerating finger movements

Post by Claire Etoile » Mon Jan 09, 2017 1:33 pm

I would also recommend checking your whole arm position from shoulder all the way down to hand position and fingers. I agree with above comments that there should not be pain when you are playing. I hope you are able to resolve you issue soon. Good luck.

Guitar Maniac
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Re: [Tremolo] Right hand wrist pain when accelerating finger movements

Post by Guitar Maniac » Sat Jan 14, 2017 4:13 pm

Dmitry Nilov wrote:Hello!
Here are my "tips" for guitarists concerning playing tremolo in general.

But it is better to see precisely your hand to give any advice, so do you have an opportunity to make a short video and share it here?
Thanks for your guide Dmitry, below is two clips regarding my right hand position:
The first one is the position which caused me tension and pain when I tried increasing plucking speed:


Youtube


The second one is my current hand position, however my right hand still tends to bend to the position like in the 1st clip whenever I try accelerating finger movements:


Youtube


Even with the second hand position, I sometimes still experiment tension and pain on the line connecting my wrist and index finger, I think the "piami" pattern is the root cause because of the repeat of index finger.

I see in your clips that your wrist bends so your finger axis is almost perpendicular with the strings, however that wrist bending is not applicable for me because it makes me uncomfortable, so is it really necessary to bend wrist like that or I can play with a more natural wrist angle?

And slightly off topic, I really like your recent recording of "Una limosna el amor dios", but I still prefer "Sueno en la floresta", there is a video recorded your stage performance on YouTube but unfortunately the sound is too metallic due to massive echo and reverb caused by the micro. Do you have any plan to record "Sueno en la floresta" in the near future? I probably will learn something from your rendition.

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Kent
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Re: [Tremolo] Right hand wrist pain when accelerating finger movements

Post by Kent » Sat Jan 14, 2017 4:54 pm

It is nice that you get such great feedback from all the members here. My advice is simple and effective;
Stop tormenting yourself with this grossly over rated technique. You rarely need this skill in the classical guitar repertoire. In most cases you need to deliberately seek it out, because 98% of what is available to play and learn omits this technique.
You can have a very enriched life with classical guitar without subjecting yourself to the potential pain of learning tremolo.
Tremolo is beautiful, but don't think you need this technique to be a great guitarist.

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Paul Janssen
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Re: [Tremolo] Right hand wrist pain when accelerating finger movements

Post by Paul Janssen » Sat Jan 14, 2017 10:37 pm

You mention that you use a computer mouse for 10 hours a day. This rings serious alarm bells for me. The problem is not so much clicking the mouse button but rather that when we use a mouse we tend to rest our wrists on the desk in order to use the mouse. This put tremendous stress on the carpal tunnel and will eventually cause it to collapse.

My strong advise to you would be to look at your current mouse setup and explore the different ergonomic options that are out there. I personally find the 3M ergonomic mouse quite good as you actually rest your hand on the left hand side when using it thus avoiding the whole carpal tunnel area. It does take some getting used to, but once you get the hang of it, it becomes second nature.

I'll leave it to others to comment on your tremolo technique as I'm like Kent in that I have never bothered to learn this technique.

Dmitry Nilov
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Re: [Tremolo] Right hand wrist pain when accelerating finger movements

Post by Dmitry Nilov » Mon Jan 16, 2017 2:52 pm

The first one is the position which caused me tension and pain when I tried increasing plucking speed:


Youtube


You touch so many important themes in your post that need a very long discussion. I'll answer them step by step.

Your wrist acquires a condition of freeedom on this video on the 26th second . It is a fundamental for the performing activity. Try to catch it and keep it in your mind while practicing.

Thanks for your appreciation! It's a liferecord with micros: cardioid - first pair, omni - a second one. No additional reverb, only natural accoustics of the concert hall.

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Denian Arcoleo
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Re: [Tremolo] Right hand wrist pain when accelerating finger movements

Post by Denian Arcoleo » Mon Jan 16, 2017 2:57 pm

Paul Janssen wrote:You mention that you use a computer mouse for 10 hours a day. This rings serious alarm bells for me.
Absolutely. 10 hours a day is about 8 hours too much IMHO. Constant clicking and no exercise is bound to have a deleterious effect on the body (not to mention the mind...)

Luis_Br
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Re: [Tremolo] Right hand wrist pain when accelerating finger movements

Post by Luis_Br » Mon Jan 16, 2017 3:25 pm

Dmitry Nilov wrote:Your wrist acquires a condition of freeedom on this video on the 26th second . It is a fundamental for the performing activity. Try to catch it and keep it in your mind while practicing.
I agree the last seconds of the video shows how tense the performer is while playing. Not only the wrist, but look also at the whole arm and shoulder relaxation/release right after playing. This relaxed attitude should be present while playing, otherwise the whole arm, wrist and hand looks "locked" while playing.

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