Neck and back pain since I got the Epi G-400 Pro

Discussion in 'Epiphone SG' started by chrisoldroyd, Dec 1, 2018.

  1. chrisoldroyd

    chrisoldroyd New Member

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    i have been playing a Les Paul type guitar for the first 6 months of my guitar journey but I bought an Epi G400 3 months ago and since then I have been having neck pain and back pain. I switched back to the les Paul and its much easier to play.

    Anyone know why? All I can think is that the position the SG sits on my leg it is a much longer reach to the first fret than on the Les Paul or a strat , it’s about 3 inches shorter. Anyone got any tips on how to overcome the pain or should I just dump it and get something that works for me?

    Cheers
    Chris
     
  2. Worblehat

    Worblehat Active Member

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    Hard to tell from a far what causes your problems. I am also a beginner (1.5 years in now) and experienced back and shoulder pain when I got my Epiphone SG, so I'll just write about my experience and hope it helps.
    First I need to mention that I always play while standing, never sitting. I find playing guitars sitting down extremely uncomfortable and it causes pain in my right shoulder. In sitting position I find the SG even more uncomfortable than my Strat-style guitar. Many people say the SG is great for the sitting position...I have no idea why.
    Anyway...when I got my Epiphone SG I experienced a lot of (left) shoulder and lower back pain in the beginning. Now about 8 month later I think of it as the most ergonomic and comfortable guitar. Here is what I did:
    1. Be aware of and observe your body posture while playing. How is your posture different from when playing your other guitar? Try to feel which muscles are unnecessarily strained.
    2. I quickly realized that my pain comes from the neck heavy-ness of the SG. The strap painfully pulled on my shoulder and I tried to counteract the neck dive by weirdly twisting and straining my back.
    3. First of all I fixed most of the neck heavy-ness by putting very lightweight tuners on the guitar and by buying a wide, non-slippy and padded strap.
    4. Then I tried a lot of different playing positions and strap lengths. You have to experiment here. In my experience the SGs shape and balance is very different from other guitars which requires different handling.
    5. After all you still have to be aware of your body and muscles while playing. Actively relax! Concentrate and try not to get in a tensed posture. Take breaks. And again try to stay relaxed.
     
  3. Chubbles

    Chubbles Well-Known Member

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    SG is solid guitar. They are heavier than a LP.
     
  4. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    :rofl:
     
  5. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    uh... no! Sorry, this is just not true.
    Les Paul guitars mostly weigh in the 9-12 pound range, and are among the heaviest
    most massive guitars available. This is part of their appeal, I suppose.

    SGs weigh more like 6-7 pounds and are among the lightest and most ergonomic
    and easy to play guitars that were ever made.

    If you are experiencing back pain or shoulder pain while playing an SG,
    blame your own posture, and perhaps your hand positions. Don't blame your SG.
    Get yourself a good strap, and stand up while you play. This I would call step #1.
    Very few can play well while seated. Jazz guitarists do it, and classical guitarists do it too.
    But rockers stand, and dance, and jump, and strut...the way a good performer should.
    Sitting down, you have the stage presence of a mailbox, and if you experience pain
    then your body is trying to tell you something. Keep your back straight, and your head
    up, and breathe, baby, breathe. Stand up straight, and you can breathe better, and
    sing better.

    Keep your thumb behind the neck! This I would call Step #2.
    If you keep your thumb behind the neck, you can play your SG (or any guitar) with a relaxed hand. This will free your muscles from cramping and allow your fingers a wide range
    of travel over the fretboard. Keep your thumb behind the neck, and you can ignore all of the many many posts concerning neck shapes in various guitars. Keep your thumb behind
    the neck, and the size of your hand becomes as irrelevant as the shape of the neck.
    Small hands are no handicap when your thumb is behind the neck, acting like a pivot
    and allowing your full reach to go up and down easily.

    I firmly recommend guitar lessons when members are learning. A good teacher can
    illustrate the above, and point out the faults in your posture and/or hand positions.
    Listen to your instructor, and learn everything you can from him/her while you are
    studying with them. Getting started properly will save you a huge amount of trouble
    later. I learned this the hard way, of course. But you don't have to.

    Step #3 is to get your guitar professionally set up. This will cost you some money, but
    it's so worth it! A well set up Epiphone is a much more useful guitar than a badly set up
    Gibson Les Paul costing ten times as much. Professional setup will enhance your SG
    experience much more than any other mod you could make or buy. When your guitar's
    action and intonation have been set up by someone who knows what they are about,
    the ease of playing and the tone of your music will be so much better, it ought to
    be inspiring.

    Good luck with this. If you try what I'm saying and still feel that the Les Paul is more
    comfortable to play, then that's your guitar. Get rid of the SG, and enjoy the Lester.
    Not very many would argue with your choice. Some of us on THIS forum might wonder
    but after all, it's your back, and your pain. It's your decision.

    Funny though, we get lots of posts from players who say, "man, I've been playing a
    Les Paul for so long, I really thought it was the only guitar for me. But now that I've
    got an SG, I wonder why it took me so long to figure out that I don't need that
    heavy boat anchor hanging off me any more. I keep reaching for the SG... and the
    Les Paul is gathering dust. Should I sell it?"

    Most of us would say NO! Keep them both, and use them both and vive la difference.
     
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  6. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    oh yeah... +1 on what Worblehat said.

    If your SG seems head heavy, blame the Grover Rotomatic tuners that Epiphone wants
    to saddle SGs with. Those are too heavy for an SG, and the proof of this is when the
    headstock dives for the floor.

    There are a number of fine alternatives to Grover Rotomatics, that work as well or
    better and don't cause neck dive. I recommend Gotoh, because they are reasonably
    priced and easy to install.

    https://www.stewmac.com/Hardware_an...age_Keystone-style_3and3_Tuning_Machines.html
     
  7. GrumpyOldDBA

    GrumpyOldDBA Well-Known Member

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    Probably arm position of your strumming hand is off on your sg compared to lp?

    Edit: ok re read your post so its shoulder of fretting hand thats aggravated?

    Ok stretches and warmup recommended first.

    Yup certainly depending on how you hold guitar an sg first fret a bit farther out.

    When sitting try switching legs many of the right hand players have guitar on right leg but i use left leg as recommended by my first guitar teacher ( same as most classical guitarists do ).

    Nothing wrong with sitting when playing guitar just get comfortable and have body legs etc supported as necessary.

    Stretches and position changes and keep head not staring at same position. Shot in dark guess is your twisting head to left watching fretting hand and shoulder neck gets too much time holding head?
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2018
  8. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    Huh?
    Chubbles obviously adds lead weights to his SG for balance.
    Amen
    And offer it up on the ETSG classified so one of us can grab it up.
     
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  9. Chubbles

    Chubbles Well-Known Member

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    Of course, I add 12 pounds of lead weights to prevent neck dive. Doesn't everyone?
     
  10. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    You're right about that, but that's a particularity of the SG. You get used to it or you don't.

    If you measure, a SG will have 3 inches more than a LP, from the front strap button to the nut. It will also have the same 3 inches more, from the middle of the bottom cutaway (where it rests on your thigh) to the nut.
     
  11. chrisoldroyd

    chrisoldroyd New Member

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    Thanks for all the great advice, played standing up tonight and it feels far more natural to me. I have ordered a Levy MK1 strap and going to keep playing standing up and see how I go.

    Thanks everyone

    Chris
     
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  12. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    I think you'll find, as many of us do, that the SG is a joy to play.

    Keep us posted. show off a few pictures...
    April 06 polished@100.jpg
     
  13. straydogger69

    straydogger69 New Member

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    I moved the front strap button to the top horn. Fixed the head dive problem.
     
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  14. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    Show us how. Pics or it didn't happen.:cool:
     
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  15. chrisoldroyd

    chrisoldroyd New Member

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    Do you have any pictures of how you did this please?
     
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  16. straydogger69

    straydogger69 New Member

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    Very carefully pre-drill a small hole. Take your time to make sure you don't split the wood. I started with a too small hole and gradually changed to a little bigger bit until I had what I needed. screenshot.png No problems so far and it's been over a year. Of course, I'm not doing splits or cartwheels when I play. LOL
     
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  17. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    @straydogger69 -You're a braver man than I!:rofl:Good job and I hope it stays in place.
     
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  18. Worblehat

    Worblehat Active Member

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    My Epiphone Iommi SG comes with the button on the tip of the horn. I like it but I am not sure how much it really helps against neck dive. If you imagine the guitar hanging at about 45 degree from your shoulders the strap button is only moved up but the horizontal position is the same.

    As biddlin said...drilling in the tip of the horn is nothing I would dare to do myself.
     
  19. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    But if you have the guitar leveled, it's a good 2 inches difference.
    I don't see a problem drilling a tiny hole in that horn. If the hole is the right size and the screw long enough (the longer the better), nothing but good can happen. And that screw is only pulling the weight of the guitar, no ... half of it, so maybe 3 or 4 pounds. Nothing to rip off a button from the wood.

    We underestimate the force a screw can withold. When I remodeled a house some 40 years ago, a friend of mine cabinet maker, helped me put up some modules in the kitchen. We had a 6 foot long section (heavy presswood) leveled in place and while two of us were holding it up, said friend put in two 4" long screws through the studs and told us to let go. I was reluctant to do so. So he, who weighted close to 300 pounds, hung down from the section to show me that it was secured. I was baffled.

    So that screw (hope it's more than ½" long) through solid wood is plenty plenty solid to secure that strap button. Easy peasy.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2018
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  20. VetPsychWars

    VetPsychWars Well-Known Member

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    What angle is the neck? I like mine a good 45 degrees up, or more. I don't know how people play with the neck level... My wrist hurts just thinking about it.

    Tom
     

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