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One perennial problem I've had for as long as I can remember is that any time I play a song that uses the first fret a lot (e.g. the verses for Metallica's "Jump in the Fire" come to mind) I end up hurting my wrist real bad.

12 years of playing tells me that it's not something that's simply going to go away with time. It seems the issue is mostly with having to stretch my index finger across the neck, and the pain is primarily in my wrist right at the base of the round part of the palm.

Does anyone have any advice on what I can adjust to alleviate this issue, aside from playing songs that are predominantly in F?

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2 Answers 2

I'd say it depends almost entirely on your wrist position. If you're bending your wrist a lot, consider rotating your left arm down so your wrist isn't bending. I'm sure you've tried this, but... No pain should be the norm.

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The question that immediately came to my mind is, how low do you have your guitar on your strap?

If you're doing anything resembling a gun-slinger, you might want to raise it, because it directly affects the angle of your left wrist.

It will feel weird at first, but you will adjust to it quickly. Give it a try for a day or two and see how your wrist feels.

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+1 - yes, either raise the guitar, or rotate it so the head is higher. –  Dr Mayhem Mar 6 '11 at 0:43

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