Follow up to my shoulder and back pain playing SG....Happy Ending!

Discussion in 'Epiphone SG' started by chrisoldroyd, Feb 9, 2019.

  1. chrisoldroyd

    chrisoldroyd New Member

    May 29, 2018
    Likes Received:
    I wrote a post a few months back complaining about pain in my shoulder and back while playing an SG and I just wanted to do an update.

    I received some amazing advice from you guys which I took on board but I also picked up an Epi Les Paul to see if it helped with my issues.

    To cut a long story short, i don't find the Les Paul any better so I took a long hard look at my playing and it became quite obvious what my issues were. I spend too long looking down crouched over the guitar looking at either my right or left hands. Standing up and playing rather than sitting has improved this hugely and it feels so much better to play standing up.

    The other and maybe the biggest problem for me is tension. When I say tension it's about how I fret the notes. I am using far too much pressure. Playing chords i am gripping that neck so tight its crazy. Now I am aware of it I am consciously reducing this tension and my arms just feel so much better as do my fingers. When you try it's amazing how little pressure you need to play a clean note. This extra tension was putting strain on all of my left side causing a lot of the problems I was having.

    Now I am playing standing up and reducing the pressure I use and trying to play more freely, the SG is now back as my go to instrument. That Les Paul is damned heavy, using the SG again and correcting my bad habits has made it an absolute joy.

    Thank you all for your guidance on this one, it inspired me to find out what I was doing wrong and its going to make me a much better player for it too I am sure.

    Biddlin and Worblehat like this.
  2. Worblehat

    Worblehat Well-Known Member

    Mar 14, 2018
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    Very glad to read this! Pain can really kill all the fun in guitar playing so it's great that you got to the source of the problem and found a way to fix it. Also good to know that it's not a problem with the SG's ergonomics which was one of the concerns in your first post.

    Thanks for the update and keep on rocking!
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2019
  3. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

    Sep 29, 2009
    Likes Received:
    It's great to read this post... because the true beneficiary is you and also
    your music. Playing pain free and with a relaxed hand ought to free up
    your fretting hand to move much more nimbly over the fingerboard.

    I played acoustic guitar for actually decades, and being a self taught guitarist
    I played WRONG... I had developed a chunka chunka chunka sort of rhythm style
    that was effective for the places I played, but truly...
    my hand was all cramped up and couldn't move properly.
    I sort of knew I was playing wrong,
    because when I taught myself to play bass in the '70s, I started keeping
    my thumb behind the neck from the beginning
    . So I became a better bassist
    than guitarist.

    By 2008, I bought myself an electric guitar as a present to myself for turning
    sixty. I was voted most likely to be shot while attempting to escape, ya know.
    So I deserved a present, for being an artful dodger and a survivor.
    What did I buy myself? A guitar I'd loved the looks of ever since I saw
    my first one, at the age of about 15. I bought a Gibson SG faded special.

    That thing about getting set in your ways when you get older is no joke.
    So I looked on the SG as maybe a cure, or a counter attack. When I first
    started playing it, I was never in tune. I had actually no idea why, and
    wondered if there were something wrong with my new guitar. I replaced
    the tuners... after reading (false) posts that said Gibson tuners were crap
    and could never be any good. I tried several other things, and then one day
    I was driving by an outdoor venue and saw a couple friends of mine playing
    there. I stopped, and listened to their set, and when they were done, I
    asked one of them if he'd like to check out my new guitar. Of course he

    I put my new SG in the hands of a guy that I knew played much better than
    I could, and who played both electric and acoustic beautifully. And I watched
    him plug my guitar in, and put her through her paces. He was in tune all
    the way up and down the neck, and my guitar sounded lovely.

    I had an epiphany at this time... the realization was that there was nothing wrong
    with my new Gibson
    , it was my acoustic player's Grip of Death that was
    throwing my music out of tune. I had the power to change that, or to sell
    the SG and remain the same.

    So I taught myself to play guitar all over again... because I wanted to so badly.
    I wanted to break the bad habits of a lifetime of cramped and limited style.
    I looked at the SG as a life ring, and as a path to a better way. And so it has
    proved. I'm 70 now, but I feel like I'm actually playing my best that I ever have.
    The electric guitar forced me to confront my own bad habits... and when I forced
    myself to learn to play with a more relaxed hand, my music and my style took

    May you have this joy... *grins wasn't easy for me, but I'm glad I persisted making
    myself change. If you make this decision, I predict that you might see a similar
    result... the level of improvement in your style will be in direct relation to how hard
    you work to correct bad habits, and lighten your touch, and relax your fretting hand
    and arm. Good luck in this...
    chrisoldroyd likes this.

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