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Guitar wrist pain and watches


I like guitars. I like watches. But wearing a watch is not the best thing to do when playing guitar. I'll explain what I do to get around that so I can wear a watch while playing and avoid wrist pain 100%.

In my recent adventures with fret hand pain, I decided to take an extra step where watches are concerned. This step has everything to do with the strap.

The fret hand pain I had wasn't specifically in the wrist, but over time it might have been due to what I discovered.

Here are some things I found out.

Metal watch bracelets "fall up" and create a pressure point

Metal bracelets aren't worn tight because that creates ugly marks on your wrist. For everyday wear, having the bracelet slightly loose is totally normal and you'll never have a problem. But when playing guitar, it does cause a problem because then the watch travels up the forearm and then gets tight. That's where the pressure point is created.

The grip from that tightness can really mess with your wrist as you move your fingers around during guitar play.

I absolutely will not wear a metal bracelet anymore during guitar play for that reason.

Leather, resin (rubber) and nylon watch straps do not lay the watch flat enough on the wrist

When not using metal and instead going with leather, resin or nylon, more often than not this results in the watch not laying down flat enough. The end result of this is that the watch is "leaning up" at a slight angle during guitar play, which creates a small pressure point on the underside of the wrist.

This isn't anywhere near as bad as what happens when you wear a metal bracelet, but still, it does introduce a pressure point that can cause pain from longer guitar playing sessions.

Solution: More surface area fixes everything

Determined to find a way to be able to somehow wear a watch that didn't create any pressure points during guitar play, the solution presented itself in the form of increasing surface area on the wrist.

There are two ways to do this.

Method 1 is to wear a sweatband and then strap the watch around it. This adds more surface area, allows the watch to lay flat and the band is super comfortable to wear.

Method 2 is what you see in the above photo, a cuff bracelet. This goes by several names. Sometimes it's called a gauntlet strap. Other times it's called a bund strap. This one in particular is probably the one most guys would want because it has the right look and also will fit many watches and smartwatches (because let's face it, smartwatch bands are just terrible.)

Given that I prefer smaller timepieces, I went with one that fit the Casio. The one I'm wearing in the photo is the AW49HE model. It's cheap, but the blue dial looks nice, the little digital part at bottom shows digital time and is also where to set an alarm or use the stopwatch. It's a basic 36mm size that works.

The cuff strap I have absolutely does not pull or push on my wrist in any negative way while playing guitar. Mission accomplished.

As a bonus, the cuff strap immediately made my cheap AW49HE look more upscale. The strap that connects to the watch is nylon, but the rest is leather and that's what physically touches the wrist. Brown leather looks cool as long as it's subtle, and mine definitely qualifies as such. I didn't want anything garish or gaudy on my wrist, so what I went with totally works.

There is however a negative. In hotter weather, sweat does make this type of strap stick to the skin and there's just no way around that. For outdoor day gigs, it would not be a good idea to wear the leather cuff strap, so I will most likely be buying some sweatbands and use a resin strap watch over it. Most of my resin strap watches are black, so a black watch over a black sweatband would be my choice. Obviously, this won't look as good as leather, but it would get the job done.

I would of course sweat playing outside in the heat, but a sweatband is designed for soaking up sweat, so it would be used for its intended purpose. And I still get to wear a watch while I play.

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