ive been playin the guitar for a long time and just now i have been starting to get upper arm and neck pains.I hold the pick right so that isnt the problem.Is it because im sitting on a low chair when i play or is it because im not stretching before playin???This pain occurs mostly in fast songs like that was just your life and master of puppets by metallica which require alot of muted downpicks.
relax your hands when you play
if it makes you play slower dont worry and train relaxed playing until you can reach the desirable speed
You are probably tensing up your picking arm too much for the constant down-picking at speed. That will aggravate the nerves in your arm and neck. It could also cause you to pinch the nerve, which will be a new experience in pain if you do it. Learn to play the songs with a more relaxed arm and grip. Once you do, you will also probably be able to play faster.
"Maybe this world is another planet's hell?" - Aldous Huxley
Do this before playing:
1) warm-up: play something easy, maybe some scales and easy chords, at slow to moderate speed, for a few minutes. Try something that won't put your hand or fingers in awkward positions (harmonic minor is out :-));
2) stretch fingers, wrists, arms, back and neck;
3) finish your warm-up by playing something easy at higher speeds.

This should be enough for your body to be prepared for something fast.

Now, about your low chair, it's certainly contributing to your neck and upper arms problems, because you're probably tensioning them to keep with the guitar level.
Sit up straight with your hips rotating slightly back (as if preparing a thrust; sorry, I can't explain it better). Set your guitar in the classical position, getting books or whatever under your leg if you need to have the guitar a bit higher in order to sit up straight.
And then, try and relax your shoulders and neck when playing. This is serious business, lots of people get a lot of long lasting injuries from playing through the pain; Essentially ignoring your natural alarm systems. Also, aches caused by stressing your neck and upper back muscles too much, can lead to awful headaches, pinch nerves in joints (which could lead to CTS for an example) and even depressions.
And no, I'm really not kidding.
Last edited by Y00p at May 18, 2010,