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Neck profile and it’s effect on Carpal Tunnel syndrome


Jinder
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Hi all,

Just a quick Q-do you find that different neck profiles have an effect on carpal tunnel or wrist pain in your fretting hand?

 

I’ve been playing my J180 for the last few months and have had a really hard time with my CTS. It’s a beautiful guitar and I love the tone, but the neck has a relatively shallow C profile rather than a D, and I’m wondering if this has had an effect on my CTS.

 

I’ve switched to touring with my Maple AJ since fitting Buc’s Sunrise to it, which has a deeper D profile and despite it wearing 13s (as does the J180) and being long scale, I’m finding it easier on my left wrist and can play a 2hr gig with only mild pain and tingling.

 

This has coincided with me wearing a wrist splint at night, which may be a factor.

 

Would love to know your thoughts!

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Very important subject for musicians of all ages.....

 

Can be lumped together with Rheumatism and RSI

 

String players in general....violinists et al.....and flute players can develop issues.....holding the instrument and working the wrist and fingers over many years

 

Personally I have several guitars with differing neck profiles, as well as banjos, mandolins, violins etc

 

Haven't noticed any advantages between differing necks from slim to very chunky

 

But tend to keep a strict diary and regime of practice times and gig durations to stay on the case without pain or (heaven forbid) damage to bones/joints/tissues.....

 

Having days away from playing can IMO be worthwhile too

 

V

 

:-({|=

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Even without having any hand or wrist-related medical condition, I find the different neck profiles to have, amongst other things, a very real impact on how straining especially extended play can be. This also depends on how you play (technique), the posture you employ, whether you play sitting or standing, and, of course, the size and shape of the guitar and your fretting hand.

 

Generally, I find an asymmetrical D-shaped neck profile (as featured by Les Paul Standards from 2008 onwards) to be the most comfortable to play and hold. But even a very narrow neck (think 60's Epiphone acoustics) can feel very comfy in the right hands. I'm fond of V-shaped necks as well (50's Fender Strats), but could never comfortably play—without actual pain in my very healthy fretting hand even after merely short play—baseball-fat C-shaped necks (e.g., Epiphone Inspired by 1964 Texan). Especially necks that are not rounded off towards the fretboard can be a real sore. As for the J-180 specifically, I find her compact body the perfect the size to hold. I'll see about the neck profile once she arrives.

Edited by Leonard McCoy
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Very important subject for musicians of all ages.....

 

Can be lumped together with Rheumatism and RSI

 

String players in general....violinists et al.....and flute players can develop issues.....holding the instrument and working the wrist and fingers over many years

 

Personally I have several guitars with differing neck profiles, as well as banjos, mandolins, violins etc

 

Haven't noticed any advantages between differing necks from slim to very chunky

 

But tend to keep a strict diary and regime of practice times and gig durations to stay on the case without pain or (heaven forbid) damage to bones/joints/tissues.....

 

Having days away from playing can IMO be worthwhile too

 

V

 

:-({|=

 

Very good thoughts, V-thankyou.

 

I’m sometimes stuck with several gigs in a row when a touring schedule dictates, but I always try to work on a one-on-one-off basis when possible.

 

My CTS started around 2013-my non musical passion is motorsport, and the onset of CTS coincided with me racing in a brutally cold winter endurance karting championship in an under-manned team, often doing two or three hour stints behind the wheel in freezing rain and hail, which led to chilblains and horrible muscular pain which dogged me for months afterwards, and ultimately left me with CTS which has gradually worsened over the last five years, and has got significantly worse in the last year, despite my retirement from racing last Summer.

 

I’m keen to do everything I can to avoid the operation that the doc is pushing me to have, and I’m wondering if switching to a wider neck for regular gigs would help. I have a line on a nice F25 with the 1.95” neck which I’m tempted to buy to test the theory. I have a small legacy coming my way from my late Grandad’s estate which would pay for the guitar if need be.

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Even without having any hand or wrist-related medical condition, I find the different neck profiles to have, amongst other things, a very real impact on how straining especially extended play can be. This also depends on how you play (technique), the posture you employ, whether you play sitting or standing, and, of course, the size and shape of the guitar and your fretting hand.

 

Generally, I find an asymmetrical D-shaped neck profile (as featured by Les Paul Standards from 2008 onwards) to be the most comfortable to play and hold. But even a very narrow neck (think 60's acoustic Epiphone) can feel very comfy in the right hands. I'm fond of V-shaped necks as well (think 50's Fenders), but could never comfortably play - without actual pain in my fretting hand even after short play - baseball-fat C-shaped necks (think Epiphone Inspired by 1964 Texan). Especially necks that are not rounded off towards the fretboard can be a real sore.

 

As for the J-180 specifically, I find her compact body the perfect the size to hold. I'll see about the neck profile once she arrives.

 

Really interesting stuff, Leonard! Oddly enough I find my IB ‘64 Texan one of the most comfortable guitars I own...so interesting how different things work for different folks. Hands aside, I love my J180 and can’t wait to see pics of yours when it arrives!

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Hey Jinder, man, that's rough. We were just talking about this.

 

Where my left had is in better shape then my right, I don't seem to notice much of a difference between electrics, and acoustics. My taylor has a pretty friendly slim taper neck, a bit smaller than my J200, but the J200 doesn't really bother me all that much.

 

Sounds like you are definitely in worse shape than I am. Have you at all thought about surgery? It's no longer as invasive as it once was, at least here in the US. Quick recovery too. Any good surgeons you can get a consult from can give you an idea? I'll be talking to one sometime within the next few weeks. I may go and get this done.

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I find the different neck profiles to have, amongst other things, a very real impact on how straining especially extended play can be. This also depends on how you play (technique), the posture you employ, whether you play sitting or standing, and, of course, the size and shape of the guitar and your fretting hand.

 

 

LM-what you said, just about says it all, with maybe adding some warm up finger stretches for sure if the weather is a bit cooler, plus some on-going regular regimen of hand and wrist exercises, and some scheduled rest and relaxation between daily gigs at least one day a week (or at least one day a week 24 hours off between daily gigs) and, some periodic extended off time from the grind of gigging.

 

Jinder, hope you start feeling better/healing.

 

QM aka Jazzman Jeff

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I think playing a whole range of neck sizes helps keep the gremlins surprised. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it! [smile]

 

I have a bit of CTS (right hand) from computer work (mouse-click-o-fever) over the years and currently it is fine for guitar playing, but this week I am mouse clicking with my ring finger more...resting the index/middle fingers and sometimes I even swap the miuse to my left hand. Ambidextrous guitarist! (the Better Half had full blown CTS from computers, couldn’t pick up a spoon, so I am aware of the nightmare.

 

I wouldn’t jump up too big a neck, Jinder. Go up a bit at a time. Try an OM18v or a Waterloo at a shop. F25 with 1.95 might be too big a jump.

 

 

 

BluesKing777.

Edited by BluesKing777
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I don't have any CTS thankfully, but my recent experience with a Gibson J-165 put me off. I have a Taylor with a 1.75 nut and their standard neck, and a Collings, also with a 1.75" nut and a mild V shape. I can play either one for hours.

The Gibson had a slightly smaller nut, 1 11/16 I think, and a very much thinner profile neck. I could never play it more than 30 minutes at a time without my hand cramping and my wrist hurting. It just didn't work for me. I think everyone is different and some do better with fatter necks and other's thinner, but its self-defeating to try and force yourself to play a neck that ultimately is uncomfortable, no matter how much you like the guitar. I loved the sound that came out of the J-165 and I tried for 2 years to adjust to the neck, but ultimately I gave up and got rid of it.

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My best surmise is that it depends on the size of one's left hand plus whatever ails the wrist. Big hands and decades of wear and tear induced arthritis make Taylor necks agony for me to play. Used to manage the late '60's Gibson or Epi narrow fingerboards OK, but not any more. My '42 J-45 is about ideal, most 1950's necks (I'm referencing '51 J-185 and Southern Jumbo, '55 J-45, '54 LG-2 3/4) are pretty comfy. Early 1960's Gibson necks are still OK. Generally speaking, the chunkier the better - a bit of a departure from the needs of some of my friends with smaller hands and different wrist issues.

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I've noticed i am better off playing modern C shape strat type of necks, or 60s slim taper necks, although i have a few LPs with 50s round type of neck and im fine with them, so i dont know what's up

i have a 90's telecaster that has a more fuller C shape neck and oh man does it get me in pain, i barely play it anymore msp_bored.gif and recently tried one of the new strats with a big full neck (it was the gold american strat) and i couldnt stand it to play more than 3 minutes, didnt feel immediate pain but i felt my hand a lot of discomfort and i know when to stop to avoid pain

Someone mentioned the V shaped necks, i have a strat with soft V neck and i find it very comfortable

Maybe its a matter of what size your hand is, maybe? i have small hands!

i would recommend trying different types of necks and feel whats best for you, i hope you get better

Edited by FemmeParallell
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Thanks all. For reference, I’m 200cm/6’7” tall, around 280lbs/20stone and have hands to match! Not quite shovels but not far off.

 

Must have been a tight squeeze in that racecar!

A fatter neck shouldn't be a problem for you then. Fingers crossed that you find a solution to relieve the carpal tunnel.

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Thanks all. For reference, I'm 200cm/6'7" tall, around 280lbs/20stone and have hands to match! Not quite shovels but not far off.

 

Sir you sure are tall! i am 170cms , not sure how much that is in feet/inches, got the small hands from my dad side of the family msp_thumbdn.gif hahaha, but thats ok im a girl so..

Anyways, makes sense with your hands being bigger that you find fuller necks more comfortable...just try different kinds to see what suits better

peace!

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Thanks all. For reference, I’m 200cm/6’7” tall, around 280lbs/20stone and have hands to match! Not quite shovels but not far off.

 

 

 

In the ways of internet and dating site problems on talk shows, Jinder could be 5’2 and never leaves the house! Kidding!

 

If you are really that big, Jinder, my Oz football team desperately needs you......though they end up with far worse than Carpal problems, wow. Crunch, hit by a guy the size of a bus, he’s down, face down and bleeding from the eyes and ears and mouth...etc. and everyone claps him off..... bit like playing at the biker concert....

 

eg:

 

 

BluesKing777.

Edited by BluesKing777
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Thanks all. For reference, I’m 200cm/6’7” tall, around 280lbs/20stone and have hands to match! Not quite shovels but not far off.

Well, I'm impressed! At 6'3/240 lbs, I can shrink the visual impression of a J-200 pretty well, but you should be able to make it look like an 0-size Martin! Very cool! I see an excellent (to me, anyhow) robust guitar neck in your future👍

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Well, I'm impressed! At 6'3/240 lbs, I can shrink the visual impression of a J-200 pretty well, but you should be able to make it look like an 0-size Martin! Very cool! I see an excellent (to me, anyhow) robust guitar neck in your future👍

 

It’s often been said that i make my SJ200 look like a ukulele! Although my wrist issues have meant that I’ve been playing seated for the last 18mths which minimises the effect a little.

 

Speaking of which, I bought the F25...the smallest guitar I own with the biggest neck! I put a deposit down and am going to collect it late next week/early the week following, all being well. I was offered a ridiculously good PX deal on my Epi EL-00 and IB ‘64 Texan and don’t have to find much extra to make the deal.

 

It’s a ‘68, doesn’t have the opinion dividing white “golpeador” guards and looks to all intents and purposes like a 12 fret LG-3. I think it will fit into my arsenal of Gibsons perfectly and really fulfill a purpose. If the neck doesn’t help with my CTS it will still be a really sweet small body for recording and writing.

 

I’ll miss the Texan, but in truth it’s been out of its case very infrequently over the last year or so and my Maple AJ does everything the Texan did (long scale slope with mega projection) but better, so it deserves to go to someone who will play it.

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