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mccartymind

Hand/wrist fatigue/soreness on new guitar

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Well, you'll want to arrange your visit so that a competent tech is ready to set it up right there.  You don't want to have to leave it and come back. There are set Gibson specs for this set up, and it doesn't speak well of the shop to not have sent it out the door with it dialed in. That gives you a clue as to their potential competence in repair so think ahead.

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1 minute ago, jedzep said:

Well, you'll want to arrange your visit so that a competent tech is ready to set it up right there.  You don't want to have to leave it and come back. There are set Gibson specs for this set up, and it doesn't speak well of the shop to not have sent it out the door with it dialed in. That gives you a clue as to their potential competence in repair so think ahead.

 

Well, they're a Gibson dealer up here.  The action is only slightly high and mostly it's my getting used to.  They may be incompetent but not sure.  I will reach out and see what he says.  When I was there I was complaining more about the neck thickness so he wasn't thinking action.  Anyway, I get your point.  I will keep all of this in mind.  I appreciate it greatly.

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I suspect a proper set-up, plus some hand stretches and warm-ups, would go a long way to helping you. I have similar problems from time to time.

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Action is too high, get a setup.

As part of that make sure the nut sluts are cut right, Gibson's are always too shallow, this makes the action too high, most noticeable on the first 2 or 3 frets.

Also the bridge (saddle) may need to have some material removed.   

None of this is uncommon.

if you have a ruler that shows 64s of an inch, you'll be looking for some where around 5/64s bottom of Low E to top of 12th fret, and 4/4s high E.  If you check now I bet your closer to 7/64s or 8/64s on your low E.

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The action looks alright. It takes some getting used to (Gibson) acoustic necks. Proper technique can also play a role in this, as does nut slot height for cowboy chord action.

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On 5/25/2020 at 7:22 AM, kidblast said:

Action is too high, get a setup.

As part of that make sure the nut sluts are cut right, Gibson's are always too shallow, this makes the action too high, most noticeable on the first 2 or 3 frets.

Also the bridge (saddle) may need to have some material removed.   

None of this is uncommon.

if you have a ruler that shows 64s of an inch, you'll be looking for some where around 5/64s bottom of Low E to top of 12th fret, and 4/4s high E.  If you check now I bet your closer to 7/64s or 8/64s on your low E.

This all seems spot on to me.

The only thing I would wish I could see if I was making a judgement was the neck angle.

@mccartymind - I would do some serious measuring if you have the simple tools. If not, perhaps a friend might. $25 will get you feeler gauges and a 64th inch machinist's type ruler. There are ways to measure everything you need to measure. Have those numbers with you when you speak to the tech. "Within Gibson Specification" and set up well for personal preference are two entirely different things. The first is designed to be big enough to suit a wide variety of playing styles and setup preferences. Secondly, it greatly reduces the whole warranty return thing. It gives the retailers something plausible to get out of having to accept a return, or at least more ammo to talk you out of it. 

With measurements in hand, you can have an entirely different conversation. That conversation changes from a possible return or a "please have mercy and help me!" type of thing to a "how can we get these measurements from point A to point B?". Guess which one will solve your problem. BUT, it is something you will likely have to pay for if it's anything more than a twist of the truss rod nut. Free setups are negotiated pre-purchase.  In the very least, you are protecting yourself. There really is no reason to not take measurements and do some research on what they mean to you.All that can be done without twisting the first screw.

Lastly, as many have suggested, having a higher set up guitar from the factory is the norm. It's very easy to assume that there may be an inherent nature of the guitar that causes issues - eg neck shape - when it might be nothing more than setup. You could even be losing out on a guitar shape that is perfect for you without even knowing it.  

 

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3 hours ago, PatriotsBiker said:

This all seems spot on to me.

The only thing I would wish I could see if I was making a judgement was the neck angle.

@mccartymind - I would do some serious measuring if you have the simple tools. If not, perhaps a friend might. $25 will get you feeler gauges and a 64th inch machinist's type ruler. There are ways to measure everything you need to measure. Have those numbers with you when you speak to the tech. "Within Gibson Specification" and set up well for personal preference are two entirely different things. The first is designed to be big enough to suit a wide variety of playing styles and setup preferences. Secondly, it greatly reduces the whole warranty return thing. It gives the retailers something plausible to get out of having to accept a return, or at least more ammo to talk you out of it. 

With measurements in hand, you can have an entirely different conversation. That conversation changes from a possible return or a "please have mercy and help me!" type of thing to a "how can we get these measurements from point A to point B?". Guess which one will solve your problem. BUT, it is something you will likely have to pay for if it's anything more than a twist of the truss rod nut. Free setups are negotiated pre-purchase.  In the very least, you are protecting yourself. There really is no reason to not take measurements and do some research on what they mean to you.All that can be done without twisting the first screw.

Lastly, as many have suggested, having a higher set up guitar from the factory is the norm. It's very easy to assume that there may be an inherent nature of the guitar that causes issues - eg neck shape - when it might be nothing more than setup. You could even be losing out on a guitar shape that is perfect for you without even knowing it.  

 


Fair enough and maybe I will. I’m less convinced now that the string height will solve my problem. It’s causing a tendinitis/carpal tunnel reaction in my entire arm. It’s not just sore it actually hurts and I only played it ten minutes yesterday. Im gonna wait for my arm to settle down and then see. But what I did notice yesterday was that the neck just doesn’t feel comfortable in my hands still. It just feels bigger and sort of in my way — like I’m having to work too hard. My fingers reach all the strings and I can just play the guitar but it’s not getting comfortable (and causing pain). I might have to wait to find a J45 with a shallower neck depth.  Bummer cause I dig the sound and they don’t have another at this time. 

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30 minutes ago, mccartymind said:

What is the standard way of measuring the neck depth so I know what doesn’t work for me? 

It's easier to do with strings removed, but you can usually just slacken the strings all the way to slip a measuring device underneath them.

Use a digital caliper if you have one, and measure the depth of the neck just behind or in front of the first fret and the 9th fret. Then go on wildwoodguitars.com and look at their acoustic Gibson listings for comparison. The decimal numbers given on that website for each guitar, for example .90-.99 , measure the depth of the neck (excluding the fret) at the first and the 9th frets in decimal inches. You can buy an inexpensive digital caliper at any hardware store, such as Harbor Freight or Home Depot in the US, or online at Amazon, for example.

It is a useful tool to own for any number of purposes unrelated to guitars. You don't have to spend a lot of money on this, even though you can if you are a machinist are someone who does small-scale precision work day in and day out. My igaging 100-333-8B cost all of $30 on Amazon, and it is a great tool for not much money. If you're a machinist, you might spend $150 or so on a Mitutoyo or Starrett, but you don't need something like that unless you are a precision tool junkie.

If you're concerned about scratching the neck, put a small piece of tape on each of the jaw surfaces and zero out the tool before measuring.  All of them have that zero-set capability, as you always re-check your zero point before every measurement.

As a metric reference, .90"= 22.86 mm, .99"=25.15 mm.

It is much more than neck depth that determines comfort levels. For the same depth dimensions, a neck could be a D-section or V-section (for example) with a significantly different circumference and "feel" compared to another neck of that same depth but a different sectional shape. Realistically, you need to play a number of different neck shapes to find what works best for you, but you need to start that comparison process with an uninjured hand for it to be meaningful.

wildwood

 

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The big question is does your hand or wrist still now hurt when playing another one of your guitars where previously it didn’t hurt.  
 

1) If so, that would mean you may have injured your hand or wrist, potentially coincidently when you bought the J-45 or even from the J-45 during the excitement/stress of purchasing a new guitar.  If so, let it rest and heal, looking up proper care on the internet (or through your doctor) for tendinitis, a term you mentioned.  
 

2) But, if you feel hurting it was actually caused from the J-45 and wasn’t a coincidence or from initially playing on it too hard, return it.  
 

3) . If the J-45 hurts your hand/wrist playing it, but, otherwise it’s presently fine playing another guitar In your home, then it’s obviously the J-45 not being a good fit for you to own for whatever reason.  Return the guitar while you can under the dealer’s warranty and buy another guitar now or at a later date that is a better fit for you.

Seems to me it’s got to be one of these.  You would have knowN right off the bat if the J-45 was causing the pain, which it seems maybe you did infer in one of your initial  posts, but I am not really certain,    Good luck and I’m sure you use your good judgement.  

Hope this helps!

 

QM aka “Jazzman” Jeff

 

 

Edited by QuestionMark
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2 hours ago, QuestionMark said:

The big question is does your hand or wrist still now hurt when playing another one of your guitars where previously it didn’t hurt.  
 

1) If so, that would mean you may have injured your hand or wrist, potentially coincidently when you bought the J-45 or even from the J-45 during the excitement/stress of purchasing a new guitar.  If so, let it rest and heal, looking up proper care on the internet (or through your doctor) for tendinitis, a term you mentioned.  
 

2) But, if you feel hurting it was actually caused from the J-45 and wasn’t a coincidence or from initially playing on it too hard, return it.  
 

3) . If the J-45 hurts your hand/wrist playing it, but, otherwise it’s presently fine playing another guitar In your home, then it’s obviously the J-45 not being a good fit for you to own for whatever reason.  Return the guitar while you can under the dealer’s warranty and buy another guitar now or at a later date that is a better fit for you.

Seems to me it’s got to be one of these.  You would have knowN right off the bat if the J-45 was causing the pain, which it seems maybe you did infer in one of your initial  posts, but I am not really certain,    Good luck and I’m sure you use your good judgement.  

Hope this helps!

 

QM aka “Jazzman” Jeff

 

 


Yes I know the J45 caused the pain. What I was mostly interested in was if others had that with a new guitar but eventually got used to the new shape. My old acoustic is 11/16 at the nut and longer scale and lower action. The J45 neck thickness is slightly more than my fender but also wider and I think this is causing me the most problem. I was just hoping I would adjust. But that might not happen. We will see. I played wider nuts but shallower neck depths on Martins a couple weeks ago and had no issues and I was in the store playing various guitars for a couple hours straight. I want a wider nut cause it’s obvious to me now that I play better with one.

Edited by mccartymind

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2 hours ago, mccartymind said:


Yes I know the J45 caused the pain. What I was mostly interested in was if others had that with a new guitar but eventually got used to the new shape.
 

 


Yes.  
 

My 1994 Gibson 100th year anniversary Gospel Reissue in my collection has an extremely wide neck, leaning much more towards a classical guitar neck.  Every time I play it, I have to adjust my playing to it, but with 15 minutes I’m adjusted to it.

My 2016 Epiphone Masterbuilt Century (A 1930s archtop reissue) has a baseball bat type neck.  I have a 1936 Epiphone Masterbuilt Zenith from 1936 that I like a whole lot, but do not feel comfortable bringing it to gigs.  So, when I am so moved to do so, I instead bring the Olympic reissue. When I play it at lengthy gigs I have to adjust my playing so my hand doesn’t fatigue/cramp, but adjusting my playing makes it work fine for an occasional retro guitar mood.  I like the guitar, so I do it, but recognize it is not the easiest guitar to play at lengthy gigs.

My 1965 Gibson LG1 has an extremely thin neck.  I adjust my playing for it, and usually with 15 minutes I no longer notice the thin neck.

I had painful tendinitis once for three months that started when I was playing my 1972 Gibson SJD.  I set that guitar down for 3 months and played a different guitar (with a thinner body (the Gospel) where I could keep my right arm in a comfortable position on the guitar.  I also read up on tendinitis and wore a tendinitis band on my right arm under my shirt and exercised my fingers on one of those guitar hand exercisors.  When I was better I put the SJD back in rotation.

I was going to buy a new Gibson L-00 Studio, but just didn’t like its neck.  It was too chunky to my liking.  (Doesn’t mean  it’s not good for someone else.) So, instead I bought a used Epiphone EL-00 Limited Edition Mahogany model with a slim taper neck that I liked much better.  (That’s the guitar in the two video posts I’ve posted during the past 1 1/2 months.)

I have a 2006 1964 Gibson CS J-45 in my collection.  It was my main gigging guitar.  One day the bridge uplifted.  I immediately contacted an authorized Gibso repairman and brought it to him.  He fixed it under Gibson’s new guitar warrantee.  It was back in my hands in about 4-6 weeks.  I wasn’t going to play it once the bridge lifted until it was fixed.  Luckily, I had other guitars to use for my gigs while it was under repair.
 

Have I ever taped my thumb and/or the muscle between my thumb and index finger to help me get through a gig that I was obligated to play despite the muscle soreness?  Yes.  But, I am always careful to not over do it.

As I’ve gotten older, I now hold all of my guitars on a slightly slanted angle rather than a parallel angle to my chest.  It makes it more comfortable  to play, so I just do it.  Beats being uncomfortable.   Gotta do what one has to do.


On every guitar I’ve ever bought have I started adjusting the set up upon buying it or within a week, to make it better suit my playing style?  Yes.

Do I more often play the guitars in my collection that are more comfortable for me play than the others, regardless of value, model, or what others think, etc? Yes.
 

Do I sell guitars I don’t play as much?  No.  Because I still play them sometimes, to keep me on my toes.  Playing a different guitar usually seems to bring out different musical things in me for some reason.

That about covers the full gamut of experience for me.   That’s just my experience.   Others have their experiences.  My suggestion is to follow your own path.  Guitars can be expensive, so try to add guitars you enjoy playing in your collection that can be keepers and can work to help you make better music coming out of you.  I’m not what else to say from what I said in my prior post in this string and in this one, except use your good judgement regarding the J-45 and for everything you can to stay healthy so you can keep playing and keep following your own musical muse.

QM aka “Jazzman” Jeff

 

Edited by QuestionMark
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I would definitely tweak rather than settle. Don't let it put you off the guitar though, most new Gibsons I've owned have needed a bit of a massage to get into the playing window that I like best. When I had a Gibson affiliation back in '07-'09, I was told that they leave the factory with a slightly high setup as it's easier for the new owner to bring down an action that is too high for their preferences than it is to raise one that's too low. The whole "you can sand a bit off but you can't sand it back on again" thing!

I've struggled with carpal tunnel syndrome and shoulder issues for the last ten years and sympathise entirely with your pain getting in the way of your enjoyment of playing. I find the right setup is critical, and I'm sure a good pro setup on your J45 will have it both playing exactly as you want and sounding at its best.

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1 hour ago, Jinder said:

I would definitely tweak rather than settle. Don't let it put you off the guitar though, most new Gibsons I've owned have needed a bit of a massage to get into the playing window that I like best. When I had a Gibson affiliation back in '07-'09, I was told that they leave the factory with a slightly high setup as it's easier for the new owner to bring down an action that is too high for their preferences than it is to raise one that's too low. The whole "you can sand a bit off but you can't sand it back on again" thing!

I've struggled with carpal tunnel syndrome and shoulder issues for the last ten years and sympathise entirely with your pain getting in the way of your enjoyment of playing. I find the right setup is critical, and I'm sure a good pro setup on your J45 will have it both playing exactly as you want and sounding at its best.


thanks I appreciate that. I really hope so. I am loving this guitar but my arm is getting worse. I need to give it several days off and wait for the action to be adjusted. I still may have to return it and wait for a slimmer neck J45 to show up. I was looking at a D18 as well and while I eventually want one I now know for sure I need a J45 right now. It’s exactly the sound I’ve been searching for.  

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On 5/28/2020 at 8:08 PM, mccartymind said:


thanks I appreciate that. I really hope so. I am loving this guitar but my arm is getting worse. I need to give it several days off and wait for the action to be adjusted. I still may have to return it and wait for a slimmer neck J45 to show up. I was looking at a D18 as well and while I eventually want one I now know for sure I need a J45 right now. It’s exactly the sound I’ve been searching for.  

 

It's a leftfield suggestion, but I can't help wondering if a '60s J45 might suit you better. I have a '67 which has a 1 9/16" nut width which is a little narrow for some, but suits me fine even though I have hands the size of shovels. It's a fast and comfortable neck which is a bit more nimble than the current 1.725" Gibson necks (which I also own several of and enjoy).

I wouldn't go later than '68 as the necks returned to 1 11/16" at that point, but anything from '64 to '67 will get you in the slim necked ballpark. They're great guitars, too...my '67 is loud and articulate, with a great cut to the top end and nice full bass.

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32 minutes ago, Jinder said:

 

It's a leftfield suggestion, but I can't help wondering if a '60s J45 might suit you better.

Yep. . . "there's a J-45 for that". And something from that era would most likely work well for the OP. However- wouldn't he be wanting to try something with a fixed saddle, as opposed to an ADJ to more closely approximate the one he's already liking the sound of ?

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I returned it.  They lowered the action and did it right, adjusting the truss rod and the saddle.  It helped but as I played other guitars there again to test how they felt in my hand and went back to the J45 something just wasn't right.  I can't explain it.  I played wider nuts on Martins that felt fine and I played other Gibsons that felt fine.  I played an SJ200 and a J45 Studio and they seemed to be fine.  Granted I didn't take them home and play for awhile but I didn't play the J45 I bought long in the store before I noticed it bothering me.  So I don't think it was the thickness because I don't think it was actually that thick.  And it's not the width cause I played wider nuts.  But it "felt" too wide in my hand for some strange reason I cannot figure out.  I just decided it wasn't worth forcing.  I did love the sound but I've only played two J45s in my life and have only really now determined that is the guitar I want.  

I'm totally open to buying a vintage model but I guess since I've never owned a good guitar I wanted to buy a new one to start and buy vintage later.  Do all of you mostly buy used guitars?  And then sell them if they don't work out?  My problem is there isn't another J45 around where I live for me to play or buy at this point.  I could order one and take the gamble but then I'd most likely need to be prepared to sell it myself if it didn't work.  I'm hopeful since I played other Gibsons today that seemed fine.   The store is going to try and get another from Gibson but since they've been closed due to COVID he's not sure on the timeline.

Anyway, I'm bummed cause that guitar sound was already inspiring me to write songs on.  But I also know that when I don't listen to myself I regret it later and I just didn't want a guitar to feel that awkward in my hand even if its all in my head.  : )  Goes to show how important it is to just play guitars until they feel right.

Thanks for your thoughts and feedback it has been helpful.  Let the hunt begin!

Edited by mccartymind

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7 hours ago, 62burst said:

Yep. . . "there's a J-45 for that". And something from that era would most likely work well for the OP. However- wouldn't he be wanting to try something with a fixed saddle, as opposed to an ADJ to more closely approximate the one he's already liking the sound of ?

There are plenty of J-45s from 1960-1965 with non-adjustable bridges, maybe later as well. The necks got skinnier in section starting in about 1960-1964, even with the 1 11/16" nut width. If the OP wants a vintage J-45, he should look in that period. Otherwise, a modern with one with one of the thinner profiles might work.

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I like narrower neck profiles, and I’ve learned that I do not want to be fighting the neck in order to enjoy a guitar’s tone.  I’ve found that I’m simply not very adaptable beyond a certain range of neck profiles, so this is where playability overrides tone in my book.

My favorite profile is what was frequently seen on Gibson’s early ‘60s acoustics (that Nick touches on above), with a 1-11/16” nut width & slim ‘C’ profile that stays fairly narrow up the neck.  Over the years, I’ve found this neck on a number of Montana-made models, but the one thing every almost every Montana model misses is the fat frets used in the ‘60s, which for me is the cherry on top of the perfect profile.  Those I’ve found on only one model thus far:  a 2006 LG-1 with X-bracing (20 made for the USA).

So I say it’s okay to go with what works best for you - You don’t have to fight it.  My advice would be to return this guitar asap.  There are tons of guitars out there to choose from, and you will find the right one if you remain patient (& always have a good return policy!).

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22 minutes ago, bobouz said:

I like narrower neck profiles, and I’ve learned that I do not want to be fighting the neck in order to enjoy a guitar’s tone.  I’ve found that I’m simply not very adaptable beyond a certain range of neck profiles, so this is where playability overrides tone in my book.

My favorite profile is what was frequently seen on Gibson’s early ‘60s acoustics (that Nick touches on above), with a 1-11/16” nut width & slim ‘C’ profile that stays fairly narrow up the neck.  Over the years, I’ve found this neck on a number of Montana-made models, but the one thing every almost every Montana model misses is the fat frets used in the ‘60s, which for me is the cherry on top of the perfect profile.  Those I’ve found on only one model thus far:  a 2006 LG-1 with X-bracing (20 made for the USA).

So I say it’s okay to go with what works best for you - You don’t have to fight it.  My advice would be to return this guitar asap.  There are tons of guitars out there to choose from, and you will find the right one if you remain patient (& always have a good return policy!).


I did. Returned it yesterday.

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8 minutes ago, mccartymind said:


I did. Returned it yesterday.

Ha! Sorry I somehow missed the post where you explained that in full.  My wife has come to terms with the fact that I am not Mr. Observant!

As for buying new or used, I’ve done both many times, but never without a favorable return option.  I’m just not willing to take a total leap of faith.

Best of luck in your search for the right one!

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1 hour ago, bobouz said:

Ha! Sorry I somehow missed the post where you explained that in full.  My wife has come to terms with the fact that I am not Mr. Observant!

As for buying new or used, I’ve done both many times, but never without a favorable return option.  I’m just not willing to take a total leap of faith.

Best of luck in your search for the right one!


I might buy a used one I found from a private seller. If I don’t like it I’ll just resell it. Has some custom appointments like Waverly tuners, a bone saddle and a fire striped pick guard (which I don’t like). Another 2018. 

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