#1
Hi guys,

I have this problem where i over think (things like am i strumming right/did i hit that string hard enough etc) when i am playing the guitar. Anyone got any tips as to how i can stop over thinking when i am playing? I know it probably is hindering my progress. I have tried to play with a clear mind but it just doesn't work..

Thanks
#3
Overthinking is actually very helpful for practice if you organize it properly. Set aside a half hour or so for analyzing your picking, then for fretting, then another for scales and so on...it'll give you the confidence while performing since you'll know that you're doing things right. Just don't leave any unanswered questions in your playing.
How long have you been playing?
#4
The way I do it is by practising everything I want to play over and over again to the point where the whole thing is muscle memory and I barely need to thing about it. I know thats what Nolly from Periphery does too. He said he just practises everything to the point where he's so confident in how he plays that he doesn't need to look as his bass, he can just enjoy playing the shows.

EDIT: but what was said before is really useful, you want to focus on all of that stuff first before you start paying less attention to what you're playing
Misha Mansoor:
Uplifting quote disguising failure as something to be proud of.
#5
Quote by Basti95
Overthinking is actually very helpful for practice if you organize it properly. Set aside a half hour or so for analyzing your picking, then for fretting, then another for scales and so on...it'll give you the confidence while performing since you'll know that you're doing things right. Just don't leave any unanswered questions in your playing.
How long have you been playing?


See, that's the thing. I only started playing like 4/5 months ago. When i say over thinking, i am refer to the fact that i am even overthinking while playing simple down strums (stuff like "did that sound right? Did i strum properly? was that with my nail?". This isn't good as my friends have told me that it's hindering my progress. I can't even go like 5 mins of playing a simple down strum without overthinking. My friend's tell me that i should just play and not think as it will all come to me, naturally.
#6
Hm...practicing over and over only helps if you're playing it perfectly every time though. You still have to break it down so that every note is as good as you can make it. There are solos i've been playing for years and still wouldn't say i'm all that confident with. All i'm saying is it's hard to correct mistakes that are ingrained into your playing from repeating those mistakes over and over. Whereas if you learn a song really slowly and carefully without speeding up until you KNOW you can do it, you'll be working towards playing that solo perfectly.
#7
Quote by Basti95
Overthinking is actually very helpful for practice if you organize it properly. Set aside a half hour or so for analyzing your picking, then for fretting, then another for scales and so on...it'll give you the confidence while performing since you'll know that you're doing things right. Just don't leave any unanswered questions in your playing.
How long have you been playing?


Ah, that's a really good technique! The whole setting aside half hour to analyze!! Should help over analyzers like me
#8
Quote by Basti95
Hm...practicing over and over only helps if you're playing it perfectly every time though. You still have to break it down so that every note is as good as you can make it. There are solos i've been playing for years and still wouldn't say i'm all that confident with. All i'm saying is it's hard to correct mistakes that are ingrained into your playing from repeating those mistakes over and over. Whereas if you learn a song really slowly and carefully without speeding up until you KNOW you can do it, you'll be working towards playing that solo perfectly.



The problem isn't about me not remembering the song order or anything like that. It's just the over analyzing over small things like strumming etc
#9
Quote by cloud360
See, that's the thing. I only started playing like 4/5 months ago. When i say over thinking, i am refer to the fact that i am even overthinking while playing simple down strums (stuff like "did that sound right? Did i strum properly? was that with my nail?". This isn't good as my friends have told me that it's hindering my progress. I can't even go like 5 mins of playing a simple down strum without overthinking. My friend's tell me that i should just play and not think as it will all come to me, naturally.

What you need to do is relax. It sounds so passive-aggressive... I mean physically relax. 1) Make sure that you're always breathing regularly. 2) Make sure that you're not tensing up anything in your body without realising and 3) very important, make sure you're perfectly relaxed from your shoulders to your fingertips.
Unnecessary tension held me back two or three years. You have to train yourself to play while being as relaxed as you can (try going completely limp like a wet sock: that's what you're aiming for, except of course you do have to move in order to play lol). Don't get hung up on technique, because as long as it feels right i.e. you're relaxed and you're hitting the notes straight and true, you're fine.
#10
Slow down.

play things slowly and accurately and increase the speed gradually, without sacrificing accuracy.

best of luck.

(I always slow things down when I have trouble).
#11
In what was is over thinking hindering your playing? And how much experience in guitar do your friends have, enough so that you want to follow their advice?
#12
I've been playing guitar almost 5 years and I over-think when i record myself playing guitar. It's a ****ing nightmare. I do the stupidest shit that would never happen in 1000 years when just dicking around by myself at home.
#13
You stop overthinking by getting better.

I honestly don't think this is a problem, what you're describing is perfectly normal for a beginner. Ignore your friends because they have it ass-backwards, "overthinking" isn't holding you back, what's holding you back is simply inexperience and not being very good at the guitar.

This "overthinking" stage you're going through is unavoidable and important when your learning and finding your way around the instrument. The more you play and practice, and the more you analyse your playing in the exact way you're doing now, the better you'll get at things and they'll gradually start to become more instinctive. You can't force it to happen though, it takes a lot of time and work, and your friends should know better having gone through the exact same process themselves.

Why do learner drivers drive like shit? Because they don't know how to drive, they're hesitant, clunky and also quite often terrified of making a mistake. And those are the exact same reasons that you suck, because you don't know how to play the guitar and are learning how to do it.

5 months is nothing in guitar when you're going from zero, you won't be comfortable with the guitar yet and it probably still feels like a big, awkward lump of wood that doesn't belong there. You aren't going to make any significant progress until it starts to feel natural, and the only way that happens is by continuing to work with it. One day it will sort of "click" and you'll realise that the guitar suddenly feels like it's supposed to be there. There's nothing wrong with the way you're currently approaching things though, attention to detail is crucial if you ever want to make real progress with the guitar.
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#14
Overthinking can indeed be partially solved by obsessive practice, but i don't think it solves the problem completely. Overthinking in a particular situation (e.g. guitar playing) might mean you are most likely overthinking other aspects of your life as well, which is not healthy.

As Basti95 said, you need to relax. It sounds easy, but it's not really that easy. Overthinking most likely comes from fear of failure.

As Franklin Roosevelt said (I think it was him): "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself".
#15
my drummer overthinks things.....basically it has to do with not enough knowledge, practice and enjoyment....you have to get to a Point where you can except your own faults as a guitarist and not overplay your own abilities and enjoy what your doing....and the other 75% of your time you challenge yourself and practice to get better.

remember if your setting your goals way above your limits you will stumble before you reach them and there´s alo to be said for technique....but if your nit-picking about your strumming and not "feeling" the song it will never matter how good you are.....just try and relax and enjoy!!


...and if all else fails have a couple of beers.....won´t help the technique much but it really stops you from thinking ;-)
I believe in god, jesus and the holy ghost.....or as i call them Angus, Kirk and Lemmy
#16
don't beat yourself up.....overthinking is actually a good sign, even if it's painful. The best remedy is making sure you are doing something everyday about the shortcomings you notice.
#17
Quote by vayne92
I've been playing guitar almost 5 years and I over-think when i record myself playing guitar. It's a ****ing nightmare. I do the stupidest shit that would never happen in 1000 years when just dicking around by myself at home.



Record yourself more often!! It's common to tense up or not get the right psychological mindset as soon as that red lamp comes on. You need to record yourself a lot more, until it becomes more natural and relaxed, and you eventually care a lot less.

Plus, it's very educational to listen back to your own playing, you'll hear a lot of things you can improve upon that you often miss when just playing.
#18
Quote by innovine
Record yourself more often!! It's common to tense up or not get the right psychological mindset as soon as that red lamp comes on. You need to record yourself a lot more, until it becomes more natural and relaxed, and you eventually care a lot less.

Plus, it's very educational to listen back to your own playing, you'll hear a lot of things you can improve upon that you often miss when just playing.


I understand the benefits of recording, i just psych myself out by getting nervous and then screwing up things i never normally would.
#19
yeap, it is a hard work to focus on one thing in one time. first of all, we must keep simple in our life, find out the real thing we want, just be simple dont mind other people's opinion
#20
Try not looking at your hands. Obviously, you can't do this for playing that requires you to leap about the fretboard, but if it's doable, close your eye and focus on the sounds.
#21
Sounds like you're over thinking; over thinking ..You should listen to what your playing, if it doesn't sound right then you have a reason to do some "over thinking" because you will need to fix what does not sound correct. If it sounds alright though then carry on. If you can't tell if it sounds good or bad then ask someone else's opinion.
#22
Your problem isn't over-thinking. It's insecurity.

Which is totally understandable as a beginner, and probably healthy, lest you convince yourself of your own awesomeness and fail to develop.

Confidence comes with practice, so set aside the time to practice and pick apart your playing. You'll find that after about an hour of that, your brain is fried, and that's when you can just sit down and play.

The more you practice both "real practice" and jamming, the more you'll get better at doing them simultaneously. Ideally, one does not interfere with the other.
Last edited by cdgraves at Nov 22, 2013,
#23
If you've been playing for just 5 months then you need to think about everything otherwise things you do badly will stay bad.So you're not over thinking as that's impossible to do when learning something new to the point it becomes a natural thing. ..sounds like you just need to relax your body as has been said already. .but not your mind yet ! .If your freinds say you're over thinking its probably because they're happy in their ability & slowed /stopped learning .You can never stop learning though
#24
wow, so much advice. Thanks everyone! Much appreciated! Yeah, i think i'm just gonna set time to think and analyses and then time after to just strum.