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Thread: LH Pain with Hora OM

  1. #1
    Registered User Christine Robins's Avatar
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    Default LH Pain with Hora OM

    I just bought a Hora OM (23" scale). I'll be taking it to my luthier for a complete set-up (including better tuners). I'll have the action lowered. Strings are the super-lite factory ones, which I'd like to swap out for slightly heavier ones.

    The neck is quite hemispherical--like half of a baseball bat. I think this is the reason why my LH hurts after playing it for a while. I've played tenor guitars and other OMs, and have never had this problem.

    My hands are fairly large for a woman, but probably smaller than most men's hands. I'm just doing simple chords, w/o any 4th-finger stretches. Most of my fingerings use just the 1st and 2nd fingers.

    I'm trying to rest the neck in my palm, instead of leaving a space, as I would with a mando. I'm still getting LH pain.

    Any ideas for greater comfort?

  2. #2

    Default Re: LH Pain with Hora OM

    Just a thought, but have you tried changing where you hold your thumb? If it's a different shape neck than you're used to, it might be putting your thumb at an awkward angle, which could in turn affect the rest of your hand.

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: LH Pain with Hora OM

    You might try putting the OM down and going down to Squirrel's.

    Beyond that heavier strings probably aren't going to help your hand problem and I agree it might be more of an adjustment to how you are approaching the fretboard. As a many decades guitar player my hand position had to change drastically when I took up the mandolin. My callouses migrated from the end of my fingertips to the corners if that makes sense. I suspect the hand position on the OM might be closer to the guitar than the mandolin. You are retraining your hand muscles.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Registered User Bob Clark's Avatar
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    Default Re: LH Pain with Hora OM

    I'd just like to suggest that you don't over-do it. This pain might clear up as you adjust to the instrument, or it could be that this neck is not for you and you'll do some real damage. Listen to your body; this pain is telling you something. It would be a shame to cause harm that you might have difficulty overcoming.

    I would limit my playing time on this instrument. Perhaps try some gentle stretching before you play. If the pain persists or gets worse, I think I'd look for a different OM.

    Sorry to be such a downer, but it's easy to cause real harm without meaning to. Then what happens to your playing?
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  6. #5

    Default Re: LH Pain with Hora OM

    I had a beautiful looking and sounding Fylde Cittern. It caused me fatigue and a bit of pain when I played it. My Gernandt is the same scale, 23.5, but I can play it all day. The Fylde had a much wider nut and a chunkier neck profile so that might be what you're feeling as well.

    Either way listen to your body. Make adjustments, or get a new mando but don't just play through pain.
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  7. #6

    Default Re: LH Pain with Hora OM

    I think there can be a tendency with OMs sometimes to fret harder than necessary which might lead to pain as well. I play mine more in the style of a guitar in terms of fingering/hand position.

  8. #7
    Registered User NotMelloCello's Avatar
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    Default Re: LH Pain with Hora OM

    I'm trying to rest the neck in my palm, instead of leaving a space, as I would with a mando.
    Having it setup by an experienced pro will make a lot of improvement, I'm sure. But if the neck is big - use your thumb, and arch your wrist like playing a guitar. Talk to your luthier about it...
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  9. #8
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: LH Pain with Hora OM

    Another vote for maybe needing to change your hand position. Since you play other OMs without pain, it's probably the neck profile. I know old Gibson guitar V necks and my left hand can't work well together. Just carefully experiment and see if you can find a better hand position.

    Good luck. Although I'm pretty sure the setup with help at least a little bit.
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  10. #9

    Default Re: LH Pain with Hora OM

    Is your Hora OM the all acoustic one with the banjo-esque bridge or the acoustic-electric with the fixed bridge?

  11. #10
    Registered User Christine Robins's Avatar
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    Default Re: LH Pain with Hora OM

    Quote Originally Posted by Seter View Post
    Is your Hora OM the all acoustic one with the banjo-esque bridge or the acoustic-electric with the fixed bridge?
    It's the all-acoustic with the banjo bridge.

  12. #11

    Default Re: LH Pain with Hora OM

    In that case it might be worth your while to upgrade to a better bridge, I'm not sure what options are available for flattop OMs though.

  13. #12

    Default Re: LH Pain with Hora OM

    Quote Originally Posted by Christine Robins View Post
    It's the all-acoustic with the banjo bridge.
    I upgraded my Hora Mandola to a better bridge from the banjo bridge. The tone change was remarkable. I didn't notice any play-ability improvement though.

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    Default Re: LH Pain with Hora OM

    Is there a reason you don't have your luthier change the neck profile so it does fit your hand?

  15. #14
    Registered User Christine Robins's Avatar
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    Default Re: LH Pain with Hora OM

    Quote Originally Posted by George R. Lane View Post
    Is there a reason you don't have your luthier change the neck profile so it does fit your hand?
    I've considered that. I used to have a Big Muddy with a very rounded neck. I had a luthier shave it down to a V-shape, which I found much more comfortable.

    Anyone here have this done on an OM? Estimate of cost? Would it weaken the neck too much on this lightly-braced instrument?

  16. #15
    Registered User DougC's Avatar
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    Default Re: LH Pain with Hora OM

    A neck profile change should cost just a little more than the mandolin. Can you bring this to your luthier?

    I'm giving up my beloved Larivee P01 guitar because the neck shape just does not work for me.
    A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.

  17. #16
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: LH Pain with Hora OM

    Quote Originally Posted by DougC View Post
    A neck profile change should cost just a little more than the mandolin. Can you bring this to your luthier?

    I'm giving up my beloved Larivee P01 guitar because the neck shape just does not work for me.
    A friend of mine had a beautiful Larivee that sounded wonderful and was damn near impossible to play. It was almost like playability didn't enter the equation when it was designed or built. Between the neck width and height and the height of the frets and the way they trimmed the fret ends things just got in the way. I've played others that were excellent.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  18. #17
    Registered User DougC's Avatar
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    Default Re: LH Pain with Hora OM

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    A friend of mine had a beautiful Larivee that sounded wonderful and was damn near impossible to play. It was almost like playability didn't enter the equation when it was designed or built. Between the neck width and height and the height of the frets and the way they trimmed the fret ends things just got in the way. I've played others that were excellent.
    Interesting...I have never heard of a Larrivee not set up right. Sadly, this one is one of the best guitars I have ever played. (And I've played some $10 - 20,000 guitars.) It seems like a boastful hyperbole or self delusion. In any case it does not matter. I came back to guitar after a number years and now my wrist has pain with this profile neck. It is similar to classical guitars I suppose. Do they call it a 'D' shape? I don't want to just 'own' the treasure. But I think six strings may be a thing of the past.
    A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.

  19. #18
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: LH Pain with Hora OM

    I've always loved this story about Guy Clarke. The last line is classic.

    In fact, when I told him that I had a guitar that I really [like] except that the neck was too thick, his response was "You got a penknife?"
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  20. #19
    Registered User DougC's Avatar
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    Default Re: LH Pain with Hora OM

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    I've always loved this story about Guy Clarke. The last line is classic.
    Very good. I appreciate a man of many talents.
    A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.

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