Many aspiring rock guitarists develop bodily pain as a result of intense practice. Whether you are mastering riffs alone in your basement or playing in a rehearsal space with the rest of your band, hours of focused playing can leave you stiff, sore and sometimes even numb. Just like any other physical activity, playing the guitar can take a toll on your body, and excessive strain can lead to permanent damage. Here are some ways to avoid the stiff neck, sore back and aching wrists that often plague guitarists.
1. Use proper posture.
Hunching over your guitar, holding it too high or placing your body in other unnatural positions can take a toll on your back, neck, shoulders and arms. When you play sitting down, use a chair with a hard, level seat. Keep your feet on the floor rather than crossing one leg over the other, which can result in improper alignment and place too much stress on your back and hips.
2. Take frequent breaks.
Just like using a keyboard or machinery, playing guitar involves many repetitive motions that can lead to pain in the tendons, muscles and joints, especially in the thumbs, wrists and elbows. Additionally, tensing your neck and shoulders while you play can leave you with a stiff neck or even a sore back. Add the weight of a heavy electric guitar and you can easily overexert yourself. While it's easy to get lost in the music and keep on playing, you also need to rest the working muscles so you don't strain them. Put your guitar down between songs, change positions and gently stretch and flex your arms and hands. This will help keep blood flowing, prevent cramping and stiffness and can help prevent the inflammation that causes tendonitis.
3. Use a wider strap.
If you are prone to back pain or have back problems, playing guitar while standing can make it worse. Some guitarists find that using a wider guitar strap helps distribute the instrument's weight more evenly, reduces pressure on the lower back and prevents pain.
4. Use an ergonomic pick.
Fast, complicated riffs require precision picking, and many guitarists subconsciously grip their picks harder when learning and practicing new ones. The tight grip places more strain on the tendons of the wrist and thumb. Not only can this result in pain, tingling and numbness, it can also contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis. An ergonomic pick will help keep your hand in a more natural position to reduce stress on your wrist and thumb and will prevent fatigue. Ergonomic picks are designed to enhance your grip, so your picking hand won't have to work as hard and you'll still avoid slippage.
Practicing and perfecting new riffs can be almost hypnotic and make you forget about your surroundings. It can also make you less aware of improper positioning and posture, both of which are major contributors to bodily pain. Be sure to give your body breaks and rest periods when you practice, and try an ergonomic pick to keep your practice sessions pain-free. Contact a business, such as DG Inc, for more information.