Tension, as you might already know, is one of the major reasons why guitar players do not see themselves improving even after playing the stringed instrument for years. The Big question being, “how does one detect it?"
If your main objective is to become a good guitarist, then you will understand why it is cardinal for you to be able to detect tension in your body and how to get rid of. Obviously, getting rid of it is not as important as knowing what caused it in the first place.
Detecting it is straight forward if you can keep your senses open (which is what you should be doing at all times) to the way you play and every little sign your body gives you during your play time. Here are a few things to keep an eye for:
When you sit down to play your instrument and/or during the playing process; you feel very uncomfortable or uneasy; that is a good sign that tension is right about to creep in. Your body might begin or feel as if it belongs to someone else.
Shoulders are very important too. If you start to feel sharp pains in the shoulder(s) corresponding with your fretting fingers or strumming (picking) fingers; that is a good sign that you might have tension. It would be a good time to stop playing and do something about it.
Reduced Play Time
If you were able to play for 2 hours in one sitting, and then your time reduces tremendously, that is a good sign that tension is in. Usually this might happen if you are trying to force yourself to play a note for a long period of time without resting or taking a break to relax.
Slowed Finger Movement
Slow finger movements are a sure fire way of knowing that your body is tensed up. As a guitarist you will agree that the ability to move your fingers fast will make or break your guitar playing. Not only that, it also makes it difficult for you to execute difficult notes or chords.
Now that you know the signs to look for, it is time to know what causes them. Many a time, tension comes about when one is stressed out. The best way to get rid of stress is by looking at your life or day and figuring out what might have caused you to get stressed out in the first place.
I will not get into figuring out what causes stress as that is not the purpose of this article. But I will tell you this though; it is pretty easy to figure out on your own what the cause(s) of your stress might be. Usually it is something that you are not happy about and/or worried about.
Once you can tell that you are getting tensed up, it will then become easy for you to know the things that you are supposed to avoid. After all, your main objective is to play your guitar and you most certainly do not want body tension to get in the way of your happiness.
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