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Hand/wrist fatigue/soreness on new guitar


mccartymind
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I purchased a J45 yesterday. I find the neck a bit thicker than I’m used to and it’s creating a lot of ache and tension in my hand, wrist and arm. I’ve played a 1 11/16 nut for 25 years. I realize my Fender neck isn’t much slimmer but all the changes with the J45 are challenging my muscle memory. I don’t have small or large hands. I think it’s slowly getting better. 
 

Have others experienced this when getting a new guitar with it resolving over time? Or is it already a bad sign?  I really want this guitar. My sense is I will get used to it, but my left everything aches quite a bit. Granted it’s day 2.  : )

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I have old hands that tire easily. I'm told I have to learn to back off on the amount of pressure I use to press strings, but I have mostly vintage guitars that could likely use a fresh set up.

I think the string tension off the nut is the tightest, so starting off with a capo'd fret I get a bit of relief. Width doesn't bother me, narrowness does. I also play all my guitars tuned down a step D-D with heavier (13s) strings.

Hand fatigue can be traced to many variables.

Edited by jedzep
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All kidding aside, I played electrics exclusively for about 40 years and struggled when switching to acoustics. The Taylors were real comfortable and sounded great plugged in but did not cut it in an acoustic setting. I started pigeon holing myself to a certain neck shape/size that felt comfortable and didn’t hurt my hand but that felt like it was limiting my choices. I decided to start exercising my hands/wrist  and it worked. I can now pick up a chunky baseball neck or a mandolin and not have issues. I still have my preferences but pain is not a factor. As a side note, the grip strengthening helped my golf game. 

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2 hours ago, mccartymind said:

I purchased a J45 yesterday. I find the neck a bit thicker than I’m used to and it’s creating a lot of ache and tension in my hand, wrist and arm. I’ve played a 1 11/16 nut for 25 years. I realize my Fender neck. . . 

Are you coming from playing a Fender electric for those 25 years? Many people who haven't been playing acoustic guitars have the same issue when they switch over to the acoustic side of things. JedZep had some good ideas to ease your transition with the idea of using a capo, or tuning down a little.

6 minutes ago, jedzep said:

Don't fall for Dave F's BS. I sent him two guitars already and he changed his email.

Dave's feeling his oats today. I'm sure you'd get the guitar back. Eventually. (unlike my Hotel California of guitars- they check in, but they don't seem to check out)

OP McCarty- any chance you could upload a pic of your new J-45, to imgur.com, with link to here, hopefully?  An offset angle shot might allow a guess if maybe something has changed in the setup/string height. The action on this Hummingbird Maple looks a little high, but "BBCode" button shown in the below pic copies the image to your computer & allows it to be directly embedded into your thread:

M3h72Ze.png?1

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11 minutes ago, 62burst said:

Are you coming from playing a Fender electric for those 25 years? Many people who haven't been playing acoustic guitars have the same issue when they switch over to the acoustic side of things. JedZep had some good ideas to ease your transition with the idea of using a capo, or tuning down a little.

Dave's feeling his oats today. I'm sure you'd get the guitar back. Eventually. (unlike my Hotel California of guitars- they check in, but they don't seem to check out)

OP McCarty- any chance you could upload a pic of your new J-45, to imgur.com, with link to here, hopefully?  An offset angle shot might allow a guess if maybe something has changed in the setup/string height. The action on this Hummingbird Maple looks a little high, but "BBCode" button shown in the below pic copies the image to your computer & allows it to be directly embedded into your thread:

M3h72Ze.png?1


no, Fender acoustic. I also played a bunch of other acoustics for several hours in a store the other day and had no issues. Something about this guitar is straining some muscles. My problem is I waited too long to buy a good guitar or have more than one guitar!

ill work on posting a picture

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28 minutes ago, Dave F said:

All kidding aside, I played electrics exclusively for about 40 years and struggled when switching to acoustics. The Taylors were real comfortable and sounded great plugged in but did not cut it in an acoustic setting. I started pigeon holing myself to a certain neck shape/size that felt comfortable and didn’t hurt my hand but that felt like it was limiting my choices. I decided to start exercising my hands/wrist  and it worked. I can now pick up a chunky baseball neck or a mandolin and not have issues. I still have my preferences but pain is not a factor. As a side note, the grip strengthening helped my golf game. 


I read that somewhere else and will be doing some warm up stuff which I’ve never done in my life. I play pretty much everyday.

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How is the action adjusted on a J45? I will send Alex it to a luthier but is this something I can slightly do myself or no? I don’t want to mess with much in case I need to return it. Don’t want to but of it doesn’t improve might need to.  I bought it from a store 2 hours away so I can’t just take it there and have them adjust it. 

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17 minutes ago, mccartymind said:

How is the action adjusted on a J45? I will send Alex it to a luthier but is this something I can slightly do myself or no? I don’t want to mess with much in case I need to return it. Don’t want to but of it doesn’t improve might need to.  I bought it from a store 2 hours away so I can’t just take it there and have them adjust it. 

If you have something that can give a 1/4 turn or so (clockwise, in your case) on the 5/16" hex nut residing under the truss rod cover at the headstock, you most likely wouldn't do anything to avoid the ability to return the guitar, but you might save yourself a 4 hr round trip to have them do that very same thing in-house. If you don't want to mess with it, maybe there's a repair guy local to you who could take a look-see.

Also- you mention that you just got the guitar yesterday. Acoustic guitars should have a day or two to acclimate before making setup changes. Is it humid where you are? That could cause the top to "puff up" increasing the action height.

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The neck relief has to be considered along with string height measurements. Pics don't really speak unless a ruler is included. I struggle if my height is more than 2/16ths down low and more than 1 eighth inch at the tenth or twelfth.

Find a shop to set up correctly or you're guessing.

Edited by jedzep
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10 minutes ago, 62burst said:

If you have something that can give a 1/4 turn or so (clockwise, in your case) on the 5/16" hex nut residing under the truss rod cover at the headstock, you most likely wouldn't do anything to avoid the ability to return the guitar, but you might save yourself a 4 hr round trip to have them do that very same thing in-house. If you don't want to mess with it, maybe there's a repair guy local to you who could take a look-see.

Also- you mention that you just got the guitar yesterday. Acoustic guitars should have a day or two to acclimate before making setup changes. Is it humid where you are? That could cause the top to "puff up" increasing the action height.

 

I live in British Columbia.  Tends to be drier but it's spring and has been a bit more rainy lately.  I will wait a bit before I explore alterations.  Thanks for that.  Should I keep the guitar out of the case to better acclimate?

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Sounds like you bought it at a retail guitar shop. They should have looked at the action before selling it.  It is clearly too high.  I'd get there tomorrow, and have something with you to measure it with, compared to the action on your comfortable Fender.  You can get a 'feeler gage' for measuring spark plugs at a Walmart, etc.  If NEW, new - it is under warranty. And, the shop should have at least a 3 day return policy - if they can't fix it for you whilst you wait.  Gibson, and others, set their action a little high at the factory because it' easier to lower than raise.  With a truss rod adjustment. But, as Jedzep just noted - it might not be the truss rod/bow in the neck, but the whether the factory set neck angle in total is 100% kosher.  If they had any other J45s - compare the string height (relief).  For that matter, with feeler gage in hand, compare it to a comfortable Martin or Taylor there and suggest the store tech duplicate that height.  Do not let them shave anything off the bottom of the saddle.  That will lower the string height, but it will just be kicking the can down the road, masking a badly set neck.   Good Luck - get there tomorrow !  A four hour car ride is worth avoiding warranty issues. 

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The problem could be caused by any number of things - nut height, guitar setup or the neck size, shape.

Don't touch the guitar - get in the car and take it back to where you bought it and have a discussion about your hand problem and try some of the other guitars at the shop! Take your time and play all of them if you can.

 

BluesKing777.

 

 

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16 minutes ago, fortyearspickn said:

Sounds like you bought it at a retail guitar shop. They should have looked at the action before selling it.  It is clearly too high.  I'd get there tomorrow, and have something with you to measure it with, compared to the action on your comfortable Fender.  You can get a 'feeler gage' for measuring spark plugs at a Walmart, etc.  If NEW, new - it is under warranty. And, the shop should have at least a 3 day return policy - if they can't fix it for you whilst you wait.  Gibson, and others, set their action a little high at the factory because it' easier to lower than raise.  With a truss rod adjustment. But, as Jedzep just noted - it might not be the truss rod/bow in the neck, but the whether the factory set neck angle in total is 100% kosher.  If they had any other J45s - compare the string height (relief).  For that matter, with feeler gage in hand, compare it to a comfortable Martin or Taylor there and suggest the store tech duplicate that height.  Do not let them shave anything off the bottom of the saddle.  That will lower the string height, but it will just be kicking the can down the road, masking a badly set neck.   Good Luck - get there tomorrow !  A four hour car ride is worth avoiding warranty issues. 

 

Thanks for that, that's helpful.  I have 30 days luckily so I can go next weekend.  

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7 minutes ago, BluesKing777 said:

 

The problem could be caused by any number of things - nut height, guitar setup or the neck size, shape.

Don't touch the guitar - get in the car and take it back to where you bought it and have a discussion about your hand problem and try some of the other guitars at the shop! Take your time and play all of them if you can.

 

BluesKing777.

 

 

 

They only had one J45.  I could start to tell my hand was fatiguing in the store.  I talked with the retail guy about it.  At this point we tossed it up to being an adjustment from what I'm used to.  He didn't offer to adjust it at that time.  I will reach out and suggest that now.  There's still some adjustment from what I'm used to.  Wider neck, slightly thicker, shorter neck, stickier neck, and slightly higher action.  I'll head back there in the next couple weeks if this continues.  If it settles enough I'll just have a luthier in town adjust it.

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