#1
I have been playing guitar for 5-6 years now. I am not a bad player, but my issue is my arms and hands still get really stiff whenever i go to play. I know this is usually a beginner issue and usually goes away once you get more experience and get better, however i play almost every day and still feel incredibly tense when I play.

Any suggestions?
#2
Warm up properly every day before a practice session. Pick only with your wrist. Make sure your shoulders are completely relaxed. You can also try stretching your fingers, wrists and arms a little bit before practice.
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#4
dont quote me but always think to hold the pick light as a feather... im not sure if its correct all the time though ...
#5
Can we see a picture of you holding the pick, or even better a short clip of you playing something?
#6
Quote by Kevätuhri
Warm up properly every day before a practice session. Pick only with your wrist. Make sure your shoulders are completely relaxed. You can also try stretching your fingers, wrists and arms a little bit before practice.



Don't say to only pick with your wrist, with tremolo picking/fast alternate you don't want your wrist to move
#7
Quote by Knight Elijah
Don't say to only pick with your wrist, with tremolo picking/fast alternate you don't want your wrist to move


What... ?

Yeah you do. That's exactly when you need to pick only with your wrist, if you don't want carpal tunnel and surgeries at the age of 25.
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#8
Quote by Knight Elijah
Don't say to only pick with your wrist, with tremolo picking/fast alternate you don't want your wrist to move


Sure, because lets just look at this noob alternate picking with his wrist.. If only he was using his arm he'd not be so awful.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CpJNUGHxC3M
Last edited by vayne92 at Oct 26, 2015,
#9
Quote by Kevätuhri
What... ?

Yeah you do. That's exactly when you need to pick only with your wrist, if you don't want carpal tunnel and surgeries at the age of 25.

+1 to this

Immobilising a joint is pure tension. Holding the wrist rigid and vibrating at the elbow is the kind of beginner's cheat code to fast alternate picking, but there's a whole host of issues with it. The most obvious is, yes, you're immobilising a joint, which means lots of tension, but beyond that it's detrimental to two of the really crucial skills that make you a decent picker: economy of motion and dynamics. The former is pretty much the fundamental mantra of playing fast well, while the latter is what separates beginners from decent players - being able to vary the attack to suit the situation. With a rigid wrist, you're essentially picking from about 30cm away, so good luck achieving decent control over what your right hand is doing. Also messes with palm muting. All-round bad idea.

The rule of thumb is switch strings with your elbow, do the picking with your wrist, where the finer control is.
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#10
Quote by Kevätuhri
What... ?

Yeah you do. That's exactly when you need to pick only with your wrist, if you don't want carpal tunnel and surgeries at the age of 25.



Well to be reasonable I believe you should be able to do both. Michael Angelo Batio says that anyone who is able to tremolo at speed and be consistent keeps their wrist straight, now I'm not saying their aren't other ways but saying you shouldn't tremolo with your arm and a straight wrist is not correct. There are different applications

Actually I'm revising my statement, I do both when I tremolo/speed pick. If you look at Paul Gilbert in that video he is using both his arm and wrist. There's a balance but saying one is right and the other is incorrect is wrong. Both at the same time is what many do. Sometimes one more so than others. But I think you do need to be aware about any tension that is happening anywhere
Last edited by Knight Elijah at Oct 26, 2015,
#11
Quote by Knight Elijah
Well to be reasonable I believe you should be able to do both. Michael Angelo Batio says that anyone who is able to tremolo at speed and be consistent keeps their wrist straight, now I'm not saying their aren't other ways but saying you shouldn't tremolo with your arm and a straight wrist is not correct. There are different applications

Actually I'm revising my statement, I do both when I tremolo/speed pick. If you look at Paul Gilbert in that video he is using both his arm and wrist. There's a balance but saying one is right and the other is incorrect is wrong. Both at the same time is what many do. Sometimes one more so than others. But I think you do need to be aware about any tension that is happening anywhere


You did say bluntly that "you don't want your wrist to move" and argued with my advice about using the wrist, hence the negative response.

I still stand by my point, locking your wrist for fast picking is uncomfortable at best and dangerous at worst. I wasn't joking about carpal tunnel syndrome and surgeries. A locked wrist has it's uses. Fast alt and tremolo picking aren't among them.
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#12
Quote by Kevätuhri
You did say bluntly that "you don't want your wrist to move" and argued with my advice about using the wrist, hence the negative response.

I still stand by my point, locking your wrist for fast picking is uncomfortable at best and dangerous at worst. I wasn't joking about carpal tunnel syndrome and surgeries. A locked wrist has it's uses. Fast alt and tremolo picking aren't among them.


I admit I over generalized a bit with my first post. But actually I believe it is much harder to use the wrist when people are planting, and a lot of people plant. I recently got over the habit of planting and my wrist feels more free. That's actually when I thought about it and realized that now I do use more wrist.


To address the stiffness topic though, I get that feeling when I wake up and try to play. A good stretch is to lay your hand Palm down with fingers spread out on a flat surface (wall or table) and bend your fingers/wrist/hand up gently back so the tendon is stretching. I do that in the middle of practicing too, it helps with cramps. It sounds weird but if you do it you can feel the stretch.

I actually have a problem where if I don't pop my fingers I can't play anything fast enough. As soon as I do they loosen up. I don't know how I feel about that lol
#13
Quote by Knight Elijah
I admit I over generalized a bit with my first post. But actually I believe it is much harder to use the wrist when people are planting, and a lot of people plant. I recently got over the habit of planting and my wrist feels more free. That's actually when I thought about it and realized that now I do use more wrist.


Yeah, planting does limit the things you can do technically. It makes stuff like hybrid picking more difficult as well, as it effectively reduces the amount of fingers you can use.

Quote by Knight Elijah
To address the stiffness topic though, I get that feeling when I wake up and try to play. A good stretch is to lay your hand Palm down with fingers spread out on a flat surface (wall or table) and bend your fingers/wrist/hand up gently back so the tendon is stretching. I do that in the middle of practicing too, it helps with cramps. It sounds weird but if you do it you can feel the stretch.


Stretching is good, definitely recommend that TS tries it out. He can also try the Petrucci finger massage if he wants to However, I'm not sure about the effectiveness on that.

Quote by Knight Elijah
I actually have a problem where if I don't pop my fingers I can't play anything fast enough. As soon as I do they loosen up. I don't know how I feel about that lol


I've made a habit of popping my fingers and do it like every ten minutes unconsciously. No idea how it affects my guitar playing, I just do it since it's relaxing.
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*note that by fan i mean that guy who wants his friends to know he knows this totally obscure hip band that only he knows about with 236 views on youtube. lookin' at Kev here