hey im a pretty decent guitarist but it seems like whenever i try to play in front of people (friends, family, random people, etc) my fingers just lock up and i completely mess up songs i play perfectly by myself, but the minute they leave or i start playing alone again i can play it fine. any ideas as to why this is and what i can do to improve my playing in front of people?
Im the same i can play, create and do some cool things on guitar on my own but as soon as im with anyone its all gone and i mess up playing simple things and start feeling embarresed. In my case i normaly leave the guitar and do something else.
I've had this problem too, its all a confidence issue. Practice visualizing yourself kicking some ass in front of a ton of people. Like imagine yourself executing perfect solos while people are watching, if you are struggling with performance anxiety doing so is often difficult, but once you can its a big step in the right direction. Also concentrate on your mechanics, are you doing anything differently than when you are by yourself? If you only practice sitting down with the guitar on your right leg...when you stand up hand position becomes a big issue. Get into the music, don't worry about what people think, and it'll all come together.
well i pretty much play standing up all the time but typically when i play in front of people im sitting down, plus i do really outlandish stuff when im alone (jump around, yell, sing, etc) but when i play in front of people im just sitting on a chair or the floor all quiet not saying anything, just playing. and i might hit a wrong note then my fingers literally lock up and ill just reptitively hit wrong notes and then i just look like an idiot. When im all alones i just jump around my room and hand is flying up and down the fretboard and i do just find.
I'm not really experienced in playing in front of others, but I think one of the best things you can do is just keep playing in front of others and try to relax. Even if you screw up, you gotta keep getting back up there and playing for others, which should allow you to improve. It's just a matter of comfort, you won't become comfortable playing for others if you don't do at all.
its natural to feel nervous when in front of others and for your body to react negatively to that..

but from there its all you.. you just have to tell yourself to relax, and tell yourself that you know you can play these songs, so you wont really be worried about messing up..

thats about all anyone could tell you.. its how you control your own body
whenever i play in front of my friends or whomever, i usually start off with something simple and just goof around on the guitar for a couple min or so. Then ,eventually, you'll become comfortable and slowly you step into the main course and deliver. :-P
Ibanez RG1570 and RG1527
Black Ibanez Acoustic
30w Roland Cube Amp
Boss Metal Zone
Ex7 effects pedal
its plain and simple. pratice more if your playing infront of some one, every one has this problem. when you are alone, it seems like your playing it really perfect, but when your infront of people and your a beginer, you feel like your being judged because whatever your playing sounds simple to most people, however it is harder for new guitarist, therefore to them, you sound like crap unless its perfect, this can add alot of pressure, so i dont recomend offering to play for anybody your not close w/ (new friends, or really good musicians whom you are trying to convince that you know what you are doing, this will double the pressure and totally screw you) when playing for others, keeps a level head and look at your fingers if your new enough to get by with that, if your not, look around or act like your counting, avoid glancing at audinces until yoru playing something very very inpressive
I freeze up too. My reason is because I'm in front of my MOM'S friends, and they're all... "zomg y is playn fast so cule" And I pull Steve Vai stunts with my guitar. Like watch Vai play Bad Horsie in the live at the astoria, london dvd. That's what i do. I slam the guitar, anything to get a cool note.

But I'm just afraid they'll think I'm stupid. I think I suck, but everyoen else sais I have talent.
i don't really know what your talking about because i've nevr had taht problem i actually enjoy playin infront of people more then alone even sometimes i think i play better with people then alone. a little trick i use is i make sure that everyone around me is relaxed and laughing and having a good time i just start out and make some jokes or whatever then i let it rip and start jamin for real sing with it too if you can make up words its all in fun or if you want to show them you know the song just make them all relaxed and go for it it'll work out at least it does for me