Physical issue playing guitar

Discussion in 'Beginners/FAQ' started by Reignerrr, Jul 17, 2018.

  1. Reignerrr

    Reignerrr SS.org Regular

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    I've been practising guitar since like 5 months, and something annoying that happens to me is when i play in classical position my left trap start to feel super tight and pumped, like if i was doing shrugs, i don't know if this is normal???
     
  2. kindsage

    kindsage SS.org Regular

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    Look up some stretches and make sure you stretch before and after practicing. We’ve all got body imbalances or tight muscle groups. Looks like yours is around your traps.
     
  3. 7Mic7

    7Mic7 SS.org Regular

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    Hey man! congrats on picking up the axe!
    In my opinion its totally normal because you are soliciting back muscle that you don't usually use when sitting staight like that.
    I advise you to stretch your back and arms/wrist a lot every 20 min and try to really relax the most you can.

    Its better to be sore from good posture than being like me : I played for 15 years with my guitar on my right leg and developed some nasty back and wrist problems because i was anchored on my guitar.
    Now, I do a lot of back exercise and stretching and try to implement the classical position in my practice time ( should always play like that but my old position is still my home you know..) . I can really feel my body way more relax but I also have the same problem as you. The back muscle being to weak so I need breaks every now and then.

    The rule of thumbs is to stop whenever you feel tight or if it hurts and relax until its gone.
    Never overplay unless you wanna have some lasting problem :p

    Hope this helps
    Peace
     
  4. prlgmnr

    prlgmnr ...that kind of idea

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    Try not to look down at your hands.

    This might have nothing to do with your problem, but none the less.
     
  5. lurè

    lurè Thy Art Is Mambo

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    +1 for a stretching routine.
    Try some stretching exercices whenever you feel pain on your trap during playing.

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  6. LiveOVErdrive

    LiveOVErdrive CNC hack

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    Also really focus on relaxing all your muscles while you play. Don't tense your shoulders,your arms, or your hands. This will be hard at first but in the long run it's gonna let you play much faster and better. Tension kills.

    If you can't play something while relaxing your body, slow it down.
     
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  7. A-Branger

    A-Branger SS.org Regular

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  8. Soya

    Soya Poor person Contributor

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    And when in doubt, do more heavy shrugs to go for that Goldberg look.
     
  9. Lemonbaby

    Lemonbaby SS.org Regular

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    +1 Forget all stretching if you don't start by consciously releasing tension. Player sometimes tend to literally hold some of the neck's weight with their left hand while playing. This causes serious issues. Make sure the guitar sits in the right position by itself i.e. when you take both hands off it.
     
  10. Viktor Zethelius

    Viktor Zethelius SS.org Regular

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    Yup totally agree with previous answers here: it´s critical to have the right posture when playing any kind of instrument really to have the most low-pressured n natural grip in your hands as possible. And yes streching your arms and fingers before and after ur playing is very good to get the right feelings for your muscles in your fingers when playing.

    Other things that are equally important though:
    Do RUNNING, SWIMMING N STRECH GOOD MIN 2times/week ;) (especially swimming have helped me a lot in music)
     
  11. ixlramp

    ixlramp SS.org Regular

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    The actual issue is that a strat or superstrat or almost any mainstream guitar design is a very bad design for playing sitting down. In classical position the guitar is too far to the left and most players will twist their back and shoulders to the left and have their right leg down and angled out to the right. Just look at pictures of people playing a superstrat in classical position, 95% have bad posture.

    No amount of body preparation will completely solve this. Guitar design is essentially very bad and dictated by superficial rock band fashion.

    On the right leg the guitar is just a little too far to the right.

    The leg cutout location is dictated by balancing the guitar with a slight upwards neck angle, this location is dictated by the poor neck-heavy design, not by a good left-right shift for the optimum playing position.
    Strats and superstrat body design is essentially still an acoustic guitar from hundreds of year ago, plus a couple of cutouts.
     
  12. Crundles

    Crundles SS.org Regular

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    A while ago I would've said that's a bit aggressive, however I recently traded my Schecter SGR C-7 (26.5 scale 7-string superstrat) for a friend's BC Rich Stealth NT (24 and 5/8 scale 6-string star-shape).

    I really liked the schecter, but I always had some purely physical issues playing it - the carve top was really cutting into my forearm, my shoulder tensed up and hurt when playing on my right leg, and the guitar slipped off my left leg when in classical.

    I've never liked star shapes before, so I was a bit skeptical about the BC Rich, but... holy moly is this thing a hundred times easier to play in classical. It stays steady, doesn't slip, the cutouts are exactly where they need to be, the top doesn't cut into my forearm, it's magical. Only problem is I tend to rest my elbow on the upper brigde horn because it's in the way, which crooks my entire picking arm a bit until I notice it and consciously correct it. This has also made me pretty sure a headless with similar body cutout positions, and less aggressive upper body would be my dream guitar.

    ON TOPIC:
    1. Stretch before playing, and get up every ~30 minutes
    2. Make sure to pause every few minutes and consciously relax your body - people tend to tense up while playing and not notice because they're concentrating on playing correctly
    3. Get a mirror/record yourself, to be able to look at your position and evaluate any mistakes post-practice
    4. Play slow, especially when practicing new/difficult things - I find a metronome helps me personally, because I can set it to a low tempo and it's obvious when I'm going too fast

    Pausing to consciously relax really helps when combined with a mirror, because when you pause you can take a look at your current position, relax your body, and then see how your position shifts. You may be looking at the fretboard too much, you might be lifting your left shoulder to compensate for the neck angle, you may be pushing your shoulder back or forward to compensate for the guitar position, etc etc - being able to look at yourself will probably help you quite a bit, at least in figuring the problem out.

    Good luck!
     

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