Never Neglect This Advance Warning!

Do you want to avoid sloppy playing, or wasted time while you practice? Of course you do, so you need to start paying attention to a few of the early warning signs... Pain and poor playing are two of the easiest and earliest ways to detect that your guitar playing is about to become unproductive, (long before the negative side effects start becoming apparent). The good news is that it doesn’t have to be a surprise... 

In this post, I’m going to discuss how you can spot the advanced warning signs of a couple of areas of guitar playing that you'll never want to neglect.


What if you had warning signs that would indicate to you that you need to be more careful about your practice schedule and the guitar exercises that you’re involved with during every playing session?

Well, the good news is that we do have warning signs. The two big ones are pain from the musical groups, and the other is not being smooth with our skills. But, out of those two, the appearance of pain is still the most obvious.

Warning Signs:
  • Pain (in the hand, wrist, arm)
  • Sloppy performance

One of the scariest things that can happen to a guitar player is the development of pain in the; hand, wrist or arm. And, this is even more complicated if you’re a professional player who’s working every day to earn a living - making a living playing sessions and gigs.

We need to learn what we should become aware of in order to spot the early warning signs (like sloppy performance), and at the same time maintain good "long-term" guitar playing.

One of the most important and often neglected areas for guitar players is the basic fitness and the general overall strength in the hands and arms.

When your grip becomes weak, and when the arms are weak, it directly impacts the effectiveness of our hands on the instrument.

A number of years ago I had a fitness trainer who was taking lessons with me, and I asked him, what he thought was an easy way for guitar players to keep their hands in good shape. He said, without any hesitation, buy a chin up bar!

Chin-ups are excellent for guitarists
The great thing about the simple exercise of the chin up is it focuses on the muscle groups that we need and constantly use as guitar players.

Chin-up bars are inexpensive and do wonders!

Chin-up’s build phenomenal grip strength in your; fingers, hands and forearms and all of those areas are constantly used by us when we play the guitar.

Vastly improve your grip-strength

The amount of muscles that are used in the chin-up movement will help you to develop everything that you need to have in order to maintain superior strength and ability across all of the muscles that are constantly in use when you play the guitar.

The best part of it all is that with good strong muscles in your; hands, wrists and arms, the likelihood of pain, or injury, or even the appearance of problems like tendonitis creeping in - will be greatly diminished... and with the implementation of the next topic - hopefully completely avoided.

The next important area that you can never neglect is keeping your level of tension way down and I’m talking “as low as possible.” If you want more clarification, just ask a symphony player.

Symphony players must stay very relaxed at all times

Tension causes stress on the muscle groups and it is the number one cause of sloppy guitar playing. So, the warning sign here is definitely going to be centered around noticing when you stumble /flub-out during your playing, and how high your tension level seems to be at the point of those failures.

When you’re tense, you play badly. But, when you learn to remain relaxed, your playing is going to become smooth and your sense of recall for musical parts will be very clear.

We naturally play better guitar solos when we're relaxed
This also means that if you enjoy lead guitar, then staying relaxed will increase your ability to play better improvisations and you’ll also play better in live situations (up on-stage).

Keep in mind that tension begins from the central nervous system, your brain is the starting point. And, that is why you need to constantly (daily) continue to remind yourself to stay calm and relaxed. This also means finding /searching for new ways to remain relaxed.

Once you can learn to quickly enter into a more relaxed physical state and do so automatically, you’ll notice a big difference in your guitar playing. Discovering ways that will help keep you calm and more balanced are the keys to implementing this idea.

Maybe it is going to be through exercise, or going for more walks. Maybe it is through spending time with people who are important to you, or finding more time for yourself.

You need to discover several unique ways that are the right ways for you to keep yourself as balanced /relaxed as possible.

So again, the early warning signs of too much tension are going to be “when /if” you start to badly and continuously stumble in your guitar playing. When you play poorly, play sloppy and when you cannot focus well. This also includes getting angry too easily or too quickly.

Whenever you’re unable to play smoothly, or play with a clear mind, do a self-check for tension. Because tension is most likely – the root cause of your poor guitar playing.

In wrapping up I want to make it clear that playing problems (like the ones we’ve discussed here in this post), are avoidable.

Being incredibly weak in the hands, wrists and arms is going to cause you problems. It’s all about neglect, and the warning signs will be pain.

When it comes to playing smoothly, if you neglect paying close attention to how relaxed you are - ultimately you’re going to experience tension problems.

You’ll play badly, you’ll flub-out notes, you’ll stumble through parts and your ability to remember musical ideas are all going to be warning signs that you’re too tense, and you need to relax more.

Being more relaxed is how you free up your state of mind, feel better and in the end have your music flow more easily and more smoothly.

Everything begins from the central nervous system. Musicians need to be aware of the advanced warning signs our bodies give us to be able to create great music out of the guitar.

And, to create great music takes a level of strength and health from the muscles combined with being relaxed so when all the tension levels are low and we can more easily access our skills, our creativity we’ll simply flow better.

If you’d like to learn more about topics like this one and many others, join my members site as a free member and start looking through my, “Guitar Courses.”

I’ve spent over 25 years working with hundreds of guitar students creating thousands of detailed step-by-step guitar lessons for both my website members and my private students.

The result is the most comprehensive guitar course that covers every aspect of beginner to advanced playing ideas to help you improve your playing.


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