Tech Tip:Chords - Hand Cramping

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Chords - Hand Cramping

Bill Steele


Q: My hand cramps when playing bar chord rhythms. Is this normal, if so, how long will it last? Are there any exercises I can do to strengthen my hand?


A: Ahh yes......The dreaded bar chord cramp!!! After all the years I've played guitar I still get the occasional "bar chord cramp" when doing a rhythm that uses all bar chords. I remember in the beginning it seemed like my hand was going to fall off!!!


The good news, the cramp should become less painful and less frequent as your experience progresses and your hands become stronger. Doing consistent exercise routines will help to develop hand strength and coordination and help to ease the pain. One of my favorite exercises is called "Finger Flexing" which is playing frets 1 - 4 - 3 - 4 on each string four times consecutively. Remember to use alternate picking and hold your first finger down, this helps to open your hand up.


They say, "No Pain, No Gain." I guess this expression was made by a guitarist playing bar chords.


Hope this helps!

Yours in Music,
John McCarthy
Rock House