How to reduce right arm fatigue?

Ergonomics and Posture for Classical Guitarists, Aches and Pains, Injuries, etc...
kl31
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How to reduce right arm fatigue?

Postby kl31 » Wed Nov 16, 2016 1:19 pm

If i'm playing bar chords, i need to pull back with my left arm and not use thumb as pressure. but pulling right arm back requires pulling right arm back to provide a counter force so my guitar doesn't end up behind me. alas, this creates an unbearable amount of fatigue in my right arm that also increases fatigue in the right hand.

what can I do to mitigate the right arm fatigue?

pmiklitz
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Re: How to reduce right arm fatigue?

Postby pmiklitz » Wed Nov 16, 2016 5:46 pm

kl31 wrote:If i'm playing bar chords, i need to pull back with my left arm and not use thumb as pressure. but pulling right arm back requires pulling right arm back to provide a counter force so my guitar doesn't end up behind me. alas, this creates an unbearable amount of fatigue in my right arm that also increases fatigue in the right hand.

what can I do to mitigate the right arm fatigue?


Hi kl31,

it's the first time I hear/read about somebody having problems with their right arm when playing bar chords, so you must be doing something wrong. I would advise to get in touch with an experienced teacher to have a look at the issue and help you overcoming it.

Best regards,

Peter
Dringt durch des Aberglaubens Nacht, die Euch zu finstern Köpfen macht. Christian Fürchtegott Gellert (1715 - 1769)

ronjazz
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Re: How to reduce right arm fatigue?

Postby ronjazz » Wed Nov 16, 2016 10:13 pm

Some thumb pressure needs to be applied, a combination of thumb and arm pressure, but you're certainly dong something odd. Check youtube and the instructions available through this forum.
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Erik Zurcher
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Re: How to reduce right arm fatigue?

Postby Erik Zurcher » Wed Nov 16, 2016 10:41 pm

A few years ago I attended a masterclass by Gabriel Bianco. He placed the guitar on his lap and said: "Look, no hands! His guitar was in total balance. All he had to do next was folding his arms around his instrument. "Taking care of good posture and a balanced guitar is essential! Any pressure from left or right arm influences your tone. So before you start playing, pay attention to your posture. Adjust the height of your chair and/or footstool and sit straight up!"
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Adam
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Re: How to reduce right arm fatigue?

Postby Adam » Wed Nov 16, 2016 11:27 pm

I think Erik is on to something. I notice I get some shoulder fatigue if my posture is not good. But as with anything, over time your body will adjust and get stronger.

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Re: How to reduce right arm fatigue?

Postby ronjazz » Fri Nov 18, 2016 11:20 pm

The actual result may well be that over time your body gets injured, bringing about carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, etc., or your brain gets injured, bringing about focal dystonia. There is no good reason for anyone to play in pain, even though most do. The science has caught up with us, and a little research will go a long way. One should be able to play or practice for several hours, with occasional breaks, without pain or excess tension.
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Luis_Br
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Re: How to reduce right arm fatigue?

Postby Luis_Br » Tue Nov 22, 2016 10:00 am

You are certainly puting by far too much left arm weight over the bar. Practice pressing the bar only with index finger, no thumb, no wrist, no other fingers and no left arm pressure either. Also urgently find a good teacher or you will probably hurt yourself.

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Paul Janssen
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Re: How to reduce right arm fatigue?

Postby Paul Janssen » Tue Nov 22, 2016 12:59 pm

There's an excellent video about Barre technique on YT by a great American guitarist and teacher called Kevin Gallagher. If you do a search on YT for "Barre Technique on Classical Guitar" and select the video by kevin r gallagher He goes into detail how to properly form and hold a barre and talks about some of the common mistakes to avoid. This helped me a lot and may help you also.

The other think that Kevin Gallagher mentioned in reply to one of the comments was "pain = stop. just do a little at a time and don't force anything. give your body time to figure it out and don't rush it.". Good advise IMHO.

kl31
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Re: How to reduce right arm fatigue?

Postby kl31 » Mon Nov 28, 2016 7:10 pm

its been a few days since i checked this thread... been practicing a lot of RDLA. totally worth it.

Paul Janssen wrote:The other think that Kevin Gallagher mentioned in reply to one of the comments was "pain = stop. just do a little at a time and don't force anything. give your body time to figure it out and don't rush it.". Good advise IMHO.

does he specify pain from incorrect posture or simply pain from fatigue? I'm mainly talking about pain from the latter, kinda like leaving the gym with sore muscles (not delayed onset muscle soreness).

Luis_Br wrote:You are certainly puting by far too much left arm weight over the bar. Practice pressing the bar only with index finger, no thumb, no wrist, no other fingers and no left arm pressure either. Also urgently find a good teacher or you will probably hurt yourself.

I've had an amazing guitar teacher for the first 1.5 years of my guitar training. I always asked him about how to make my barre chords more efficient, and every time he says that my posture, grip, and finger positioning are perfectly fine. The main issue I experience with barres is that I can't get all six strings to ring without buzzing. I can only get 4 adjacent strings with the last two usually buzzing/muted. Given his response, I think the more likely explanation for my bar chord troubles is due to the dimensions of my fingers. Specifically, the distance between the joints. The notes that buzz are always on strings that are right underneath the fleshy part of my fingers instead of the joints. And i really haven't found a good way to work around that without applying excess pressure. Nevertheless, I've definitely noticed my posture and grip tek suffer after not having a teacher to keep it in check. It's gonna be at the top of my mind now.

Thanks for the response everyone. I've been thinking back to this thread constantly during my practice sessions and it reminds me to always keep my arms and fingers as relaxed as possible. I've been working on the tone of the tremolo in RDLA, and it has improved dramatically after paying active attention to tension reduction.

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Re: How to reduce right arm fatigue?

Postby George2ec » Mon Nov 28, 2016 7:26 pm

Making a barre chords is more a trick than force...like other post says...you need some force of your thumb...some of pull back your left arm...and you don't need to make your index to press all the strings (just the necessary) for example in a A barre chord in 5th position the index only need to be in contact in three points/strings the 6,2 and 1, all barre chords has different tricks and you need to focus only the strings that you need the sound.

Regards

Luis_Br
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Re: How to reduce right arm fatigue?

Postby Luis_Br » Fri Dec 02, 2016 11:49 am

kl31 wrote:
Luis_Br wrote:You are certainly puting by far too much left arm weight over the bar. Practice pressing the bar only with index finger, no thumb, no wrist, no other fingers and no left arm pressure either. Also urgently find a good teacher or you will probably hurt yourself.

I've had an amazing guitar teacher for the first 1.5 years of my guitar training. I always asked him about how to make my barre chords more efficient, and every time he says that my posture, grip, and finger positioning are perfectly fine. The main issue I experience with barres is that I can't get all six strings to ring without buzzing. I can only get 4 adjacent strings with the last two usually buzzing/muted. Given his response, I think the more likely explanation for my bar chord troubles is due to the dimensions of my fingers. Specifically, the distance between the joints. The notes that buzz are always on strings that are right underneath the fleshy part of my fingers instead of the joints. And i really haven't found a good way to work around that without applying excess pressure. Nevertheless, I've definitely noticed my posture and grip tek suffer after not having a teacher to keep it in check. It's gonna be at the top of my mind now.

Also try to practice pressing individual strings in separate within the bar. Practice pressure only for top string from upper joint while keeping other joints of the same finger relaxed, or only lower strings from knuckle, or only intermediary strings from middle joint (always pay attention to keep other finger joints relaxed, as well as thumb, wrist etc.). Try to achieve good independence from each pressing part of the bar, it will enhance your control and feeling for the bar. In several passages, you don't need a full bar, you need only to press some of the strings. This independence will allow effort economy. But even when you need a full bar, if you have more individual control for each finger knot/joint pressing, you will get more control to find the solution for your problem. Pavel Steidl has some nice exercises for this, he teaches it in his masterclasses. I don't remember if I saw this at youtube or in a real live masterclass from him. Maybe searching youtube for his masterclasses you find something.

MarcusStrand
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Re: How to reduce right arm fatigue?

Postby MarcusStrand » Fri Dec 09, 2016 3:59 pm

George2ec wrote:Making a barre chords is more a trick than force...


Indeed. By adjusting the angle of your left elbow, which is to say how close or far off from your body it is, the pressure required to hold certain chords change dramatically. All barre chords require a certain amount of pressure from thumb/arm but that relatively small change can make all the difference.
For example: playing a B flat chord with barre on the first fret is near impossible, at least to me, with the elbow all the way out no matter how hard I press, while having the elbow close to my body requires very little power.

Another trick: In that same example chord B flat on 1st fret you only need to press down two strings, 5th and 1st, with your barre finger, further reducing the amount of strength needed.

Playing barre chords can be tiring so cut corners where you can!


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