Tension in neck while playing?

Discussion in 'Music Theory, Lessons & Techniques' started by noUser01, Sep 28, 2014.

  1. noUser01

    noUser01 Still can't play.

    Messages:
    3,588
    Likes Received:
    284
    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2012
    I've noticed whenever I work on speed with sweep picking and alternate picking I have tension in my neck, despite trying my best to stay relaxed. It's weird because I can't tell a difference between when I'm just sitting here doing nothing and when I'm actually practicing. I don't feel any more tense or less relaxed, I just notice over time I get some pain. It's never been a problem where I had to stop playing or anything, and I've been told I have good technique. I try to play slow and focus on being relaxed but still feel tight and painful in my neck.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. redstone

    redstone SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    1,483
    Likes Received:
    74
    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2012
    Location:
    France
    Check if you hold your breath when playing or don't breathe normally.
     
  3. noUser01

    noUser01 Still can't play.

    Messages:
    3,588
    Likes Received:
    284
    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2012
    I've noticed that I do a good job of breathing most of the time but it's not natural. It's like I have to focus on breathing in a specific rhythm and can't breathe naturally. I either hold my breathe or I focus too much and end up breathing oddly, can't seem to make it 100% second nature all the time.
     
  4. 80H

    80H Banned

    Messages:
    588
    Likes Received:
    196
    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2010
    Location:
    Literally getting called a djent hipster, Californ
    Likely an indication of a posture problem more than anything else. Check out common posture problems, and be sure to look up what good posture is & why it's good. Poor posture creates compound problems in that one part of your body has to do extra work to compensate for one part that slacks, and then the whole system adapts to the new standard. However, when the new standard is poor posture, it creates a downward spiral that can lead to sh!t like scoliosis and all that jazz. Only a doctor or someone similarly trained will know for sure, as a personal examination is the best way to be sure about these things.
     
  5. Decon87

    Decon87 SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    302
    Likes Received:
    4
    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2014
    Location:
    New York
    Slow it downnn. Get yourself a metronome and just play nice and slow so you're not tensing up and freaking out. Play it a bunch at a really easy pace. Once you've got it down easy, bump up the speed by 5BPM. Do it again, nice and easy keep it going until you're nice and comfortable.

    Just keep bumping it up by 5BPM until you've got it down pat. This really helped me relax when I was tensing up while trying to sweep. Not only will it help you relax but it'll help clean up your sweeps and keep them in time.

    And also, as 80H said, posture is always extremely important. Whenever I play hunched over my guitar, all of my muscles get sore much more quickly then if I just sit up straight and relax.
     
  6. wizbit81

    wizbit81 SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    323
    Likes Received:
    56
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2011
    Location:
    Leeds, UK
    if you're not doing it already, put your guitar on your LEFT leg, neck angled up, sit up straight and have the guitar at a good height.
     
  7. redstone

    redstone SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    1,483
    Likes Received:
    74
    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2012
    Location:
    France
    Do you have the same issue when you focus on something else, exams, driving, videogames etc ?
     
  8. noUser01

    noUser01 Still can't play.

    Messages:
    3,588
    Likes Received:
    284
    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2012
    I'll keep an eye on this, but for now it seems like it's gone away. Been playing daily since I posted this and no issues whatsoever. Maybe it's because I'm more aware of it now?

    As a side note, I'm wondering if the issue is not posture because of what I do, but rather poor posture because of what I don't do. It dawned on me today, I sit a lot because I practice a lot - what about my wallet? I hear sitting on your wallet is awful for you, so I've started taking it out of my pocket when I practice. Perhaps it's not related to this issue, but it would explain why it happens some days and not other, why it's not a consistent issue.

    Either way, I definitely need to stop doing that.
     
  9. 80H

    80H Banned

    Messages:
    588
    Likes Received:
    196
    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2010
    Location:
    Literally getting called a djent hipster, Californ
    It all depends man, your wallet could definitely do it. It'd take a lot of time though. What you want is the most optimal distribution of weight possible, and if anything I say sticks, just remember distribution of weight under gravity. Your weight is distributed towards the Earth by gravity, and as that pressure pushes you down, it exerts force on every part of your body. If everything is evenly distributed, you're probably fine. It's when your neck bones or your elbows or your knees are compensating that shit starts to get outta whack. This is exacerbated by modern-day repetitive tasks, and playing an instrument on top of a job that requires repetitive motion is very unnatural & difficult for the human physiology.

    The bones move slightly as part of the adaptive process (think braces), and that little bit of even distribution is lost. Then you get stuck in a progressive system of making an adjustment here and an adjustment there, and then pretty soon your body is all kinds of fused and misshapen parts that makes it harder to have good posture because your body has been busy optimizing the little quirks of bad posture that make up your day-to-day routine. Just because it went away doesn't mean anything; if a disc is at risk or the roots of the ulnar/median nerve is getting compressed or pinched, you need to fix that asahfp (humanly fking) because those can degenerate into permanent damage. Permanent damage is balls dude. Careful.


    You might also just some r&r and better meals. It's kind of a funny contrast.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.