It’s been a couple of weeks since I could make the time to have a look at what’s been going on here on the JG Community Forum and I thought I would share a topic that has become a real focus for me in the last several weeks.
I am now about 4 months into my “return to playing guitar” after a four year hiatus and, since my last period of regular guitar practice, have become acutely aware of all the tension that I was previously carrying in my body when I played/practiced guitar previously.
It’s now clear to me that this tension – a product of “trying really hard to play it right” is just an absolute killer when it comes to playing in a fluid way. So. . . I was wondering how many of you have noticed where tension occurs in your body when you are practising a new riff/chord/scale/slde, etc. ?? Where do you notice it? What specific body parts?
If you look around the internet there’s lots on this topic and was hoping to start a discussion around muscle tension, where we feel it, how we stop (or avoid) it and any recommendations you all might have for addressing problem areas of tension in your body when you are playing / practicing.
For me; I notice that I carry a lot of tension in my shoulders (particularly when trying to get a new lick or riff or change down, I’ll tense my shoulders up). My picking hand can get tense if I am trying to alternate pick a quicker series of notes. My thumb gets tense when I am trying to fingerpick individual notes with it and of course my neck gets tense from looking down at strings or fretboard or where ever feels required for a longer period of time.
This tension has only negative consequences for my playing – I don’t see any positives about it.
I have some strategies of my own that I’ll share but I’d love to get a sense from this community of how big an issue you think this is and what you do about it. . .
I am pretty sure it’s not just me. . .and that many of us do the “tensing up thing” during practice or playing in front of people.
Anyway, let me know if this is something that you’re familiar with. . .