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> Back Practicing Guitar Again After Taking A Break
liveOASISforever
post Jan 13 2015, 08:46 PM
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Hi Everyone

I have not posted here in a while. I ended up stop practicing daily about 4 months ago. Reason for stopping was the constant discomfort in my picking hand and arm due to not being able to keep my arm relaxed and free from tension.I was always feeling pain and tightness and continued to practise through it which of course is the worst thing I could do. It was really getting to me and I found myself gradually not practicing as much which turned into the guitar not getting picked up for 2 to 3 days at a time and when I did I was just noodling about for 20 minutes and then putting the guitar back down again.

At the beginning of December I started to get back into playing the guitar daily and enjoying it again smile.gif I decided that I really need to address the issue with tension which only happens in my right arm and hand. I started experimenting to see ways in which the tension was eased off. Standing up certainly helps, keeping my back straight as possible also helped instead of my back being curled over.

I thought that the tension was coming from my forearm and leading into my hand but I now think that its starting from my shoulder. Another thing I realised is that I kind of hold my breath when I play which is certainly not helping my issue. The best solution I found so far was playing the guitar in the classical position. I feel my arm isn't crunched up as much and its fully extended and loose although it feels kind of weird playing like that.

Anytime I feel the tension getting really bad now I just stop playing straight away and give my arm a rest and try to relax then pick the guitar back up again. I am determined to overcome this problem and be able to focus more on practicing. smile.gif

Has anyone got and tips or advice to help or experienced severe tension
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Kristofer Dahl
post Jan 13 2015, 09:22 PM
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I had to take a long break from the guitar (6 months I think) when I was younger. My problem was similar but affected the fretting hand instead. And for me the solution/problem was simpler than I realized.

* Bad posture when playing

* Lack of physical activity (more specifically weight lifting and similar, that focus on your arms /shoulder / back)

The problems come back after just a week or two if I disregard any of these, up to this very day. I am kinda grateful for it though, because it forces me to bestayin shape in order to to play guitar (and I really want to play!). And being in shape helps me feel good about myself in general, and handle long computer work sessions etc.

By the sounds of it, your analysis is correct, I would just add regular strength training (every other day) followed by a good protein meal (meat/egg/fish n stuff) to rebuild your muscles quickly for your next practice session. You will not only regain your ability, but probably find you can top it thanks to strength training.

Use this problem to you advantage: when you can't play - work on your arrangement, writing & software skills. I can guarantee you this will make your playing sound better than other students. Simply because guitarists focus so much on their technical ability they forget about the other skills needed to play killer music!


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liveOASISforever
post Jan 14 2015, 08:20 AM
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QUOTE (Kristofer Dahl @ Jan 13 2015, 08:22 PM) *
I had to take a long break from the guitar (6 months I think) when I was younger. My problem was similar but affected the fretting hand instead. And for me the solution/problem was simpler than I realized.

* Bad posture when playing

* Lack of physical activity (more specifically weight lifting and similar, that focus on your arms /shoulder / back)

The problems come back after just a week or two if I disregard any of these, up to this very day. I am kinda grateful for it though, because it forces me to be in shape in order to be able to play (and I really want to play!). And being in shape helps me feel good about myself in general, and handle long computer work sessions etc.

By the sounds of it, your analysis is correct, I would just add regular strength training (every other day) followed by a good protein meal (meat/egg/fish n stuff) to rebuild your muscles quickly for your next practice session. You will not only regain your ability, but probably find you can top it thanks to strength training.

Use this problem to you advantage: when you can't play - work on your arrangement, writing & software skills. I can guarantee you this will make your playing sound better than other students. Simply because guitarists focus so much on their technical ability they forget about the other skills needed to play killer music!


Thanks for your reply Kris

Some very good tips in there. I am happy that you found a solution to your pain smile.gif

I am really into my fitness, mostly cardio and workout 6 days a week. This year a decided to add a weight routine for two days of that 6. My food intake is mostly based of eating meat, egg and fish and also take protein shakes. Hopefully with the added weight lifting workout it can help me too smile.gif

Your last suggestion is excellent. I really should focus on things like that when I feel to much pain to play instead of getting annoyed with myself. I really need to expand my theory knowledge which I always tell myself that I will and seem to always fail.

Cheers Kris
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Kristofer Dahl
post Jan 14 2015, 09:58 AM
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Cool!

Cardio workout is excellent for your general health, keep up with it.

For guitar, what matters is the blood circulation in the muscles used when playing. And although cardio probably helps, it is nowhere near as effective as targeted weight lifting and/or push-ups etc. My main tool is something this:

https://www.google.se/search?q=tr%C3%A4ning...tag&spell=1

I find it really handy as I can use it even when I am not in the right mood for demanding exercises (like push-ups), and it doesn't take much space, it's cheap, you can exercise all sorts of muscles etc. During periods of intense playing I actually use it on a daily basis, generally right before I eat lunch. When I use it everyday I tend to exercise softer than when I use it every other day.

Also I want to say: if it does take you a while to get this problem in control, and you are forced to focus on other types of musical practicing (mentioned above) - I think it is very likely you will be thankful for this problem in a couple of years, even though it might not feel like that right now.


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Mertay
post Jan 14 2015, 09:38 PM
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Ben had a nice video on his youtube channel explaining picking in nice detail.

Seems you are getting most of the strength from your shoulder instead of elbow.


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liveOASISforever
post Jan 15 2015, 08:24 AM
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QUOTE (Kristofer Dahl @ Jan 14 2015, 08:58 AM) *
Cool!

Cardio workout is excellent for your general health, keep up with it.

For guitar, what matters is the blood circulation in the muscles used when playing. And although cardio probably helps, it is nowhere near as effective as targeted weight lifting and/or push-ups etc. My main tool is something this:

https://www.google.se/search?q=tr%C3%A4ning...tag&spell=1

I find it really handy as I can use it even when I am not in the right mood for demanding exercises (like push-ups), and it doesn't take much space, it's cheap, you can exercise all sorts of muscles etc. During periods of intense playing I actually use it on a daily basis, generally right before I eat lunch. When I use it everyday I tend to exercise softer than when I use it every other day.

Also I want to say: if it does take you a while to get this problem in control, and you are forced to focus on other types of musical practicing (mentioned above) - I think it is very likely you will be thankful for this problem in a couple of years, even though it might not feel like that right now.


That looks like a cool exercise tool Kris. Simple and effective. Its a good idea to exercise softer when you use it daily because doing a intense muscle workout your muscles really need that day off to recover smile.gif

Yeah I definitely need take a positive out of this and take your suggestion onboard. I really believe its what is holding me back with my guitar playing and once I can get the tension under some sort of control I can really focus on timing which I really want to get better.I feel when I am having problems with the pain its hard to focus on anything else making it extremely difficult to improve

QUOTE (Mertay @ Jan 14 2015, 08:38 PM) *
Ben had a nice video on his youtube channel explaining picking in nice detail.

Seems you are getting most of the strength from your shoulder instead of elbow.


I will give Bens video a watch smile.gif

I think most of my strength is coming from my shoulder also. I have noticed that my right shoulder is always pushed forward which is tightening my upper arm.

I am experimenting a lot with adjusting my body position to see which feels the least strain on everything.
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Kristofer Dahl
post Jan 15 2015, 10:14 AM
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Reading through the thread again, I want to add that since you experience these kinds of problems it is super important to be completely relaxed in your whole upper body (along with having good posture).

You can check this by lowering the bpm of the stuff you practice with a ridiculous amount.

So let's say your practicing at 100 bpm - try to relax you body, shoulder, arms and hands.

Then switch to 50 bpm - try to relax the same way. If you find it noticeable easier to relax now - then part of the problem could be that you are pushing speed too much. You should be able to relax regardless of what tempo you are practicing - otherwise you might not only get an injury - but your practicing won't be nearly as effective as it could be.

I should probably add that I have recently completely switched to only practicing those ridiculously slow bpm speeds, and it has an incredibly cool effect on my technique. I can't wait to see where it will take me!


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liveOASISforever
post Jan 16 2015, 08:25 AM
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QUOTE (Kristofer Dahl @ Jan 15 2015, 09:14 AM) *
Reading through the thread again, I want to add that since you experience these kinds of problems it is super important to be completely relaxed in your whole upper body (along with having good posture).

You can check this by lowering the bpm of the stuff you practice with a ridiculous amount.

So let's say your practicing at 100 bpm - try to relax you body, shoulder, arms and hands.

Then switch to 50 bpm - try to relax the same way. If you find it noticeable easier to relax now - then part of the problem could be that you are pushing speed too much. You should be able to relax regardless of what tempo you are practicing - otherwise you might not only get an injury - but your practicing won't be nearly as effective as it could be.

I should probably add that I have recently completely switched to only practicing those ridiculously slow bpm speeds, and it has an incredibly cool effect on my technique. I can't wait to see where it will take me!


I believe pushing speed is definitely playing a factor. I find my hand really tensing up when playing on the low E string because of the angle my hand is at.

I have being practicing this lesson here https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/ls/Picking-Hand-Basics/
Playing the 16th notes at 120BPM is to fast for me at this stage. So I will do what you suggested and apply it within this lesson.

I will start at 50BPM play it at that tempo until I feel completely relaxed and comfortable. I will add 10 BPM and try get aim for what I felt like when playing at 50 BPM. I will continue this all the way up to 120BPM to see how effective this method is smile.gif

Thanks for your help Kris smile.gif
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Hajduk
post Jan 16 2015, 09:15 AM
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Good to see you back! smile.gif


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liveOASISforever
post Jan 16 2015, 08:53 PM
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QUOTE (Hajduk @ Jan 16 2015, 08:15 AM) *
Good to see you back! smile.gif


Thanks mate smile.gif It is good to be back
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