#1
I hear all this talk of playing slowly and relaxed, and that's fine. I'm trying really hard to do it. I firmly believe that it'll work, but I have a problem.

As the title says, my muscles shake. Really bad. As it stands, I haven't played much at all for about 2 years and the frustration of this only reminds me of why I always put it down. No matter how much I try, it seems I can't overcome it. This especially happens on the lower strings which are naturally harder to pick through. After trying drop-tuning in the hopes that it would help out getting used to slightly less tension on the strings before "graduating" to standard, I've noticed that it's actually worse. I'm at a complete loss. Trying to pick lower strings and keep my arm still enough to be accurate on the next stroke just feels impossible. I know there must be something I could change or focus on more, but I just can't seem to figure it out on my own. Just hoping to get some ideas flowing. Any suggestions?
#2
I empathise ... I have a smilar issue with my 3rd and 4th fingers on my fretting hand, after nerve damage from weight training way back.

Are you talking about your fretting hand, or your picking hand?

Which muscles: shoulder, upper arm, forearm, wrist, hand, fingers, thumb??

Have you had any injuries to that arm? Do you get the same if you try the same motion away from guitar?
Last edited by jerrykramskoy at Feb 28, 2016,
#3
Forearm of my picking hand. I suppose I should've been a little more specific, but I think the idea is the same.

I had ulnar nerve impingement which was totally irrelevant to guitar playing, but all the same.

I'm certain it's related to something about my technique on the lower strings. My muscles are significantly more stable without it. I suppose it's more of a twitch than a shake. I know that there's going to be practically insignificant and definitely unavoidable tension in the right arm simply to counteract the tension of the string itself, but this is such a pronounced twitch that I end up hitting an extra two strings sometimes. Again, I know it's simply a reaction to the tension of the strings, but...Well, the rest is incredibly redundant.
#4
Make a video of you playing something so people can see the technique you're using. That's the best way to identify bad technique. Otherwise it's a guessing game unless you see a real doctor.
#5
Idk some people make picking harder than it needs to be. There are a lot of little things to take account of but eventually you should not be thinking about it. Planting for example, is good to exercise and articulation in general should be something you do naturally, but at a fast enough speed you don't really plant even though exercising it still improves your speed.

I think you're way overthinking it maybe. You gotta dance man. Strum some chords. Let the rhythm of the song flow through you. Then return to single notes and keep that same rhythmicness and play as few notes as possible. Play to a groove and place just a few notes in the rhythmic spots. Don't' overthink it, your hands should be guided by emotion. The technique is what you're actually doing but it doesn't always matter. You can sound terrible with good technique and great with poor technique.

In fact you might wanna try some bad technique. Try out anchoring. I've found that even a few minutes messing around with a different technique really affects my playing. Anchoring isn't recommended but learning how it is done gives your hands some extra experience points
#6
Quote by baileyguitarguy
Forearm of my picking hand. I suppose I should've been a little more specific, but I think the idea is the same.

I had ulnar nerve impingement which was totally irrelevant to guitar playing, but all the same.

I'm certain it's related to something about my technique on the lower strings. My muscles are significantly more stable without it. I suppose it's more of a twitch than a shake. I know that there's going to be practically insignificant and definitely unavoidable tension in the right arm simply to counteract the tension of the string itself, but this is such a pronounced twitch that I end up hitting an extra two strings sometimes. Again, I know it's simply a reaction to the tension of the strings, but...Well, the rest is incredibly redundant.


I had ulnar nerve issues also ... in the end I was operated on. Have you have the impingement released?

For me, pre-opn, I gradually lost the control of the 3rd and 4th fingers over a few years, and the muscles wasted ... part of the issue was that, with the ulnar nerve being trapped, the fine-control was gradually replaced by coarse-control, as the nerve signals weren't doing the job ... move one of these fingers, and the other moved also, quite a lot. In the end, my little finger was sticking up in the air and I could not control it to get onto the frets ... it refused to go down, no matter how much I concentrated. Also, the ulnar nerve controls blood supply to the 3rd/4th fingers, so because it was trapped, the blood supply diminished, amd the muscles wasted on those fingers.

Post-opn, it felt like I had a new hand ... full control back as the nerve signals were working properly. Muscles returned. All good until scar tissue kicked in. Now I'm somewhere between normal and affected .. still have some control issues but on the whole, good. I can play with near to virtuoso technique, though I rarely bother.

So, I strongly suggest you see a hand specialist, and get some nerve conduction tests done.
Last edited by jerrykramskoy at Feb 28, 2016,
#7
Assuming it is not a nerve issue, then it will be your muscles subconsciously trying to tense up in preparation for playing. This will happen if you played with a lot of tension and it's burned in to your muscle memory.

You can, and will get over this if you persist at very slow speeds.

If it's a nerve issue though, well, I got no idea.
#8
Quote by karstaag666
Make a video of you playing something so people can see the technique you're using. That's the best way to identify bad technique. Otherwise it's a guessing game unless you see a real doctor.

This is what I was afraid of, yet expecting at the same time. Unfortunately, it's not something I can do without using someone else's computer right now, so brainstorming ideas is about all I can do. I'll try to get one when I can.

To whoever was suggesting that I'm overthinking it - I think you may be right. I think I get so enveloped in technical issues that I just zone out everything else - including musicality at times.

About my nerve - It was not released surgically. I still have pain on occasion, but it's never when I play guitar. Rather it's when I type because I hold my hands in such a weird way where I pinch that nerve a lot. However, since I recovered from it so quickly (only took about 2 weeks where it should've apparently taken at least 4), the doctor decided that it wasn't severe enough to bother with any sort of surgery. That said, this is why I'm so afraid of having bad technique. I simply can't afford to allow it without hurting myself very easily. I'm sure you can all understand my fears in that regard.
#9
Quote by jerrykramskoy
I had ulnar nerve issues also ... in the end I was operated on. Have you have the impingement released?

For me, pre-opn, I gradually lost the control of the 3rd and 4th fingers over a few years, and the muscles wasted ... part of the issue was that, with the ulnar nerve being trapped, the fine-control was gradually replaced by coarse-control, as the nerve signals weren't doing the job ... move one of these fingers, and the other moved also, quite a lot. In the end, my little finger was sticking up in the air and I could not control it to get onto the frets ... it refused to go down, no matter how much I concentrated. Also, the ulnar nerve controls blood supply to the 3rd/4th fingers, so because it was trapped, the blood supply diminished, amd the muscles wasted on those fingers.

Post-opn, it felt like I had a new hand ... full control back as the nerve signals were working properly. Muscles returned. All good until scar tissue kicked in. Now I'm somewhere between normal and affected .. still have some control issues but on the whole, good. I can play with near to virtuoso technique, though I rarely bother.

So, I strongly suggest you see a hand specialist, and get some nerve conduction tests done.


I went through this too, the muscle at the base of thumb also wasted away. I had to have my nerve re-located and pleased to say, like Jerry, all good now.

To back up what Jerry said, if you have any doubt in your mind, go and get the conduction tests. I wish I had done it sooner as recovery would have been quicker (it took over 2 years for me).
#10
that shaking is the power of the blues coursing through your veins.

other then that though you need to seek professional help. a physical therapist or acupuncture? maybe have a teacher watch you play for a bit to look for weird posture problems.

a medical evaluation seems like a basic no-brainer.
Last edited by ad_works at Mar 2, 2016,