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Thread: Thumb Pain

  1. #26
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    Default Re: Thumb Pain

    Quote Originally Posted by pops1 View Post
    Sherry let the neck rest in your palm right between your thumb and your index finger. Try playing that way, your thumb will go along side your neck and not really have any pressure on it. As Jim says it's different with a violin and a mandolin doesn't need the thumb behind the neck.
    NO! Cradling or palming the neck will severely restrict the mobility and reach of your fingers. The basic rule is: your left hand is there to stop the strings, not hold or support the neck. My approach therefore has always been to secure the mandolin in place, using a strap or points or a portion of my right forearm, then just bring my left hand to the neck and start playing. The thumb lands where it lands, mostly on the side. Going up the neck, it may trail behind, barring (which I rarely do) it will slide in below the neck. I don't worry about that since I have almost no control over it (e.g., extending my hand, palm up, the thumb will stand at an angle to my palm; I can fold it inwards but not outwards.)

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  3. #27
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    Default Re: Thumb Pain

    Quote Originally Posted by ralph johansson View Post
    NO! Cradling or palming the neck will severely restrict the mobility and reach of your fingers. The basic rule is: your left hand is there to stop the strings, not hold or support the neck. My approach therefore has always been to secure the mandolin in place, using a strap or points or a portion of my right forearm, then just bring my left hand to the neck and start playing. The thumb lands where it lands, mostly on the side. Going up the neck, it may trail behind, barring (which I rarely do) it will slide in below the neck. I don't worry about that since I have almost no control over it (e.g., extending my hand, palm up, the thumb will stand at an angle to my palm; I can fold it inwards but not outwards.)
    I may have stated it wrong, but the video of Mike Marshall showing how to hold the mandolin is exactly what i was talking about.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  4. #28
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    Default Re: Thumb Pain

    Quote Originally Posted by pops1 View Post
    I may have stated it wrong, but the video of Mike Marshall showing how to hold the mandolin is exactly what i was talking about.
    I heartily recommend that video, but you did use the words "palm" and "rest".

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    Default Re: Thumb Pain

    Quote Originally Posted by ralph johansson View Post
    I heartily recommend that video, but you did use the words "palm" and "rest".
    I did and I should have said to rest just between the thumb and first finger and not mentioned palm. Just trying to get her to the right place without a pic.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  6. #30
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    Default Re: Thumb Pain

    I'll add that the neck shape, for me, can greatly affect thumb pain. In my case, I played a newer Weber mandolin with a very CEE shaped neck. I called it a 'baseball bat'. Prior to this most of my mandos had a more VEE shape but I never really noticed that much. After playing the CEE neck for a few weeks I developed a terrible thumb pain at the finger print and all over the thumb joint area of my hand that would persist even when not playing. I also developed a little tendonitis in my left elbow. As an experiment I stopped playing the Weber and went back to a very slim (1/16") nut VEE shaped mando and the thumb pain disappeared. I certainly can't say this is causal, but it worked for me. I sold the CEE shape and now look for very pronounce VEE neck profiles. I can even feel thumb pain if I play other more CEE shaped necks just for a few minutes now (could be phantom pain, I don't know). YMMV, of course, but I was amazed at this 'experiment', despite it having zero degrees of freedom and an n of 1.

    I'm sure proper hand position is a HUGE part, and I have also made a better effort to strive for better left hand position on the neck. But I 'believe' there's something to 'if the neck fits, play it' (or, more importantly, DON'T play it if it DOESN'T) approach.

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  8. #31
    Registered User Pete Martin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thumb Pain

    Sorry I didn't see this sooner. Sherry, watch these two videos and see if they help.

    Left hand ergonomics
    https://youtu.be/xrs2549QNsg

    Holding the mandolin
    https://youtu.be/0mDNJnKVO6A

    Best of luck!

    Pete
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  9. #32
    Registered User Pete Martin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thumb Pain

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  10. #33
    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thumb Pain

    Thanks for the videos, Pete. I know I've watched one previously, but not the other two. Can't find #5 (pinky exercises) on your website. Can you please post it or direct me to it?

    I know I have a problem with left hand pressure. It's really hard for me to let up, but I know it will help me if I do.

  11. #34
    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thumb Pain

    Quote Originally Posted by chris.burcher View Post
    I'll add that the neck shape, for me, can greatly affect thumb pain. In my case, I played a newer Weber mandolin with a very CEE shaped neck. I called it a 'baseball bat'. Prior to this most of my mandos had a more VEE shape but I never really noticed that much. After playing the CEE neck for a few weeks I developed a terrible thumb pain at the finger print and all over the thumb joint area of my hand that would persist even when not playing. I also developed a little tendonitis in my left elbow. As an experiment I stopped playing the Weber and went back to a very slim (1/16") nut VEE shaped mando and the thumb pain disappeared. I certainly can't say this is causal, but it worked for me. I sold the CEE shape and now look for very pronounce VEE neck profiles. I can even feel thumb pain if I play other more CEE shaped necks just for a few minutes now (could be phantom pain, I don't know). YMMV, of course, but I was amazed at this 'experiment', despite it having zero degrees of freedom and an n of 1.

    I'm sure proper hand position is a HUGE part, and I have also made a better effort to strive for better left hand position on the neck. But I 'believe' there's something to 'if the neck fits, play it' (or, more importantly, DON'T play it if it DOESN'T) approach.
    Chris, can you elaborate on the CEE and VEE shapes?. I don't know what I have, but I can tell you the backside of the neck is very rounded.

    My instrument is an Alvarez A-100. Had planned to upgrade this year, but a local teacher says there's nothing wrong with mine, so why replace it. Also, I played it for nearly 5 years before the pain started with "forcing" 3 finger chords (and pressing too hard in the process).

  12. #35
    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thumb Pain

    Pete Matin's pinky exercises (they're very helpful):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2wyX...ature=youtu.be

    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

  13. #36
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    Default Re: Thumb Pain

    Quote Originally Posted by Ranald View Post
    Pete Matin's pinky exercises (they're very helpful):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2wyX...ature=youtu.be

    Thanks, Ranald. I just now realized you posted the link! Can't watch the whole thing right now, but I can tell you my 2nd and 3rd fingers are joined at the hip, wanting to do everything together. Fortunately, reaching with the 4th finger is not a problem for me. Anyway, looks like this is a great video, and not just for the pinkie.

  14. #37
    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thumb Pain

    Quote Originally Posted by Sherry Cadenhead View Post
    Thanks, Ranald. I just now realized you posted the link! Can't watch the whole thing right now, but I can tell you my 2nd and 3rd fingers are joined at the hip, wanting to do everything together. Fortunately, reaching with the 4th finger is not a problem for me. Anyway, looks like this is a great video, and not just for the pinkie.
    Thanks, Sherry. My sweetheart gave me a D'Addario Varigrip Hand exerciser a few days ago, with finger buttons that can be pushed all together or one at a time. My pinky is weak as the result of a broken wrist and related injuries. I know that's not your issue. I've been using the device for a few days and find it helpful, though I have to be careful to limit myself to about five minutes at a time so I don't overdo it. I can't give you a six-month report though. Another exercise I find helpful is to lay my left hand palm down on a surface, and lift the fingers one by one, then bending the finger and pressing down as I would on the strings. Over time, my fingers have become used to moving independently. However, when I look at this week's Mandolin Mondays video (#243), I know that I can't bend my fingers like Josh Turner does. I'm old and arthritic now, but I'm not sure that I ever could.
    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

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  16. #38
    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thumb Pain

    Ranald, I'll try that exercise you mentioned. You might check out my "Developing Finger Independence " thread. I've been doing Brad Laird's finger exercises.

  17. #39
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thumb Pain

    I read the above post, went to Amazon, and bought one of those D'Addario hand exercisers yesterday. What do you know, I already have it today along with a little stool for my foot.

    I learned that my pinky is even wimpier than I thought.
    (I've also done those Pete Martin pinky exercises, but not in awhile.)

    Thanks, Ranald, for that suggestion

    Sherry, I will have to look at those Brad Laird exercises, too.

    Sue

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