Hi everyone, green beginner and I’ve been following Justin’s lessons for about 7 weeks now. I’m wondering if anyone has any tips to help my grip playing power chords. Currently I use my index and ring finger to play them, but after playing for about 5 minutes, when I stop my wrist is SUPER sore. Like if you fell asleep with your wrist bent type thing. It goes away eventually but I feel like I really have to wrench my wrist around to be able to reach the top two strings involved with playing power chords. I’ve tried relaxing my wrist but then my fingers don’t reach. I’m a 48 year old man and I don’t have child hands or anything so just looking for any tips I can try! Thanks in advance!
I still get a sore wrist after playing a series of power chords in a song or two, it gets easier with practice and as your hand strength increases it takes a little pressure off the wrist. If you could post a pic/vid of how your wrist sits while playing power chords I’m sure one of the more advanced players here could offer tips
Raise the neck / head so the fretboard is at an angle so your wrist is straighter
7 weeks in I’m surprised you’re playing power chords already, they’re in Grade 2 in Justin’s course?
You haven’t built the hand strength/stamina yet. You’re not conditioned to doing it. I’d suggest you follow Justin’s course and for the power chords, you’ll just need to slowly build up stamina over time. Don’t overdo it, listen to your body.
Once conditioned you’ll (probably) be able to play power chords all day, but that would not be soon.
Yeah I’m with JK here, this is just about building up strength through practice, 7 weeks in I can well believe you’d be getting some pain as your limbs, joints and digits get used to playing. It’ll get better, as mentioned above don’t overdo it regardless of how frustrating to have to put the guitar down!!
Yes I’ve been following the course and I’m lucky enough to have a job working nights alone at a plant so as long as it’s running smoothly, I can kill time playing guitar. So basically I’ve been playing about 4-5 hours a day total over the last 7 weeks instead of just a half hour or so. So I’m moving along quite nicely. I switch up between practicing regular chords, power chords, playing without looking and chord changes. The only real pain I get is during the power chords. So hopefully like you said it’ll come with more time. I also read that beginners tend to twist the neck towards them more so they can see where they are putting their fingers. I may try to turn it over more so I can’t see the frets/fingers as easily and see if that in turn straightens out the wrist. Bad habits are hard to break haha. Thanks for your help!
Hi Scott, if your hand hurts when playing STOP. As Justin says somewhere. If you do not you could end up with a lot of trouble and no guitar playing for quite some time.
Thank you that’s great advice as well. I am kinda stubborn and want to keep playing but I’ll make sure I take more breaks weather I like it or not
That is a lot. You can get through a lot of song lessons and practice in that time… but think about the physical aspect of how our bodies work.
If you weren’t a runner, and started running, and ran 4 hours a day. Or didn’t gym, and started gymming 4 hours a day. Or started stretching for martial arts, 4 hours a day… you’d get injured.
Some elements of guitar you can do for a long time each day, others take time, and doing it more each day are going to set you back. The stretching and hand endurance/strength things. The body takes time to adapt and spending more time doing it is counterproductive.
But I get the enthusiasm and wanting to play a lot… when I started I played at least an hour a day, sometimes 3 hours on weekends and holidays. Just don’t do stuff that hurts for a long time.
Ya I understand, but nothing else makes me sore when I practice, just power chords even for 5 minutes. I don’t practice for that long in a row, my shift is 12 hours so I take lots of breaks. Its gotta be the way I have to crank my wrist to constantly reach the top 3 strings. So I’ll try to adjust my grip or guitar and hope it gets better over time
I second this - post a picture that shows your hand, wrist and elbow positions.
Otherwise we are all just guessing.
You are possibly setting yourself up for a repetitive strain injury. I learned that the hard way when I practiced barre chords with too much tension and suffered with tennis elbow for a year.
As a couple others have mentioned, it would be helpful to see a picture if you are able to take one. Some soreness is normal, like how you would feel after a workout. However, if it is painful, please don’t play through the pain. Wrist position while playing is important to be mindful of (you want it to be straight) and if it is really bent while playing you could cause an injury. Also, just a thought, but where is your thumb positioned on the neck? If it is too far down it may cause you to really have to reach to hit the low E/A strings.
When it hurts, simply stop and do other things.
Definitely get back into it, as often as you can.
It will definitely get better, hang in there!!!
Hope that this helps,
The goal should be to reduce the amount that you bend at the wrist and the amount of pressure you use on the strings when practicing barre chords. Consciously try to keep your wrist almost straight and using the least pressure necessary to fret the 2 (or 3) strings you are trying to fret.
It took me about 8 months after breaking my left (fretting) wrist to be able to play a clean power chord, and a little longer to play a clean barre chord. Now, just over 12 months after, I have barre chords as part of my practice routine, I’m gradually increasing the time I spend on them as I build up stamina. I’m up to 3 minutes now. Any longer and my technique becomes sloppy due to fatigue, and if I continue I’m in pain… So don’t worry, you’re doing fine. Once you get to the point where your technique deteriorates, whether you’re in pain or not, you need to stop because you’re practising sloppy technique, and as Justin frequently reminds us, “Practice Makes Permanent”
Like it was mentioned already, 4 hours a day are a bit too much. No band plays 4 hours sets, probably for the same reasons!
So, start from there.
Then, as already mentioned, adjust how you hold the guitar.
Finally, my personal experience is that the way you place your fingers might need adapting too. I used to play power chords with two fingers only. However, I started finding it very uncomfortable to do it like that for power chords with root on the 5th or 6th fret and down (towards the 1st). I started trying to use the three fingers version for those power chords on those frets and it feels much much better!
I still use 2 fingers from the 5th or 6th fret up but I am “relearning” to use the 3 fingers version for the others. Somehow that works for me.
Exactly!!! Couldn’t have said it better, made all the difference in the world and after time you won’t need to. Good luck!
Ya like I said earlier it’s not like I play for 4 straight hours. Its over a 12 hour period so a half hour here, half hour there and hours of breaks in between. So I don’t think that too much or what’s causing the soreness. It’s definitely the way I’m holding my wrist or guitar so I’ll take everyone’s great advice and try techniques from everyone here until I figure it out. Thanks everyone!