Occupational Health Problems of Classical Guitarists

Nabeel Zuhdi, Kris Chesky, Sajid Surve, Yein Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


AIMS: Classical guitarists may experience unique occupational health problems due to a constellation of biopsychosocial demands associated with the physical characteristics of the classical guitar, performance techniques, repertoire, and performance practices consistent with the classical music genre. Unfortunately, epidemiologic studies of classical guitarists are limited. The purpose of this study was to examine musculoskeletal and non-musculoskeletal problems in classical guitarists. METHODS: A sample of 190 classical guitarists completed a web-based survey. The survey assessed demographics, music-related variables, musician identity, non-musculoskeletal problems, and site-specific pain. Novel interactive body and hand maps were deployed to assess site-specific frequency, intensity, influence on playing, and quality of pain. RESULTS: A total of 168 subjects (88.9%) reported experiencing classical guitar-related pain in the past year at one or more musculoskeletal sites. The left thenar (25%) was the most prevalent pain site. Pain at the right upper back was reported to influence performance the most. Classical guitarists reported problems with non-musculoskeletal problems at rates similar or higher to other instrument-specific groups. CONCLUSION: Classical guitarists are an understudied group of musicians who experience occupational health problems. The novel assessment protocols developed for this study produced outcomes that may be helpful to both clinicians and pedagogues. Med Probl Perform Art 2020;35(3):167-179.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-179
Number of pages13
JournalMedical problems of performing artists
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2020


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