Guitar Player Hand Injuries

Guitar Player hand injuries can be a serious matter, and… if not taken care of, can ruin your fret hand forever. Yes! This means no chance for a career for some, and to quit playing all together for others. There are many exercises you can do to avoid this debilitation injury. So please… take a look at some of the instructional material below from Sheet Music These books and cds will help you learn exercises and tips on how to gain accuracy and speed without compromising your hand. I know… “you really never have the time, right!” MAKE TIME!!!! You must warm up! If you’ve ever played sports such as track and field, football, baseball, especially soccer and basketball, you know you have to warm up first or there’s a greater chance of injury if you don’t. Warm –up those hamstrings, stretch that back… yada, yada, ya… Same goes with playing your guitar. John Petrucci goes over this in his guitar lesson video “Rock Discipline.” Remember the ol’ saying… Ya gotta walk before you can run. Note: If you have constant pain in your handz, please consult your physician. Or, get your butt down to the clinic... Whatever! One more thing… Take care of your calluses on your finger tips by not biting them off! Just file the dead skin off from time to time. Furthermore, keep your finger nails trimmed and try to stay away from hang nails too. Mostly, if you play guitar for a living... right? A guitar player is no good to the band when their hand hurts because he or she hasn’t taken the simple advice given. Plus, this causes everybody time and money. So… do your part and protect those god given jewels from a guitar player hand injury. If you dig this guitar site and want to support it… please check out some of my affiliates and I’ll be able to keep the lights on around here!

- Scott

Avoiding Injuries When Playing Guitar
By Trevor Maurice

"To avoid any sort of injuries when playing guitar a common sense approach is recommended. Just what do I mean by that?"

Well, there are many simple and obvious precautions you can take that will prevent most injuries.

To start with you can adopt the proper technique, posture and hand position.

A good book like Scott Tenant's Pumping Nylon or David Braid's Play Classical Guitar can give you sound basic fundamentals in this area.

With technique keep your movements simple or, as my teacher used to say... "Employ an economy of movement."

If you have less movement you will naturally have less friction and tension and therefore less chance of injury.

Teachers of guitar vary in their interpretation of posture and hand position but in classical guitar at least, there is generally widely accepted agreement on this subject.

You do need to be aware of your posture and hand position when a beginner or intermediate as you are learning habits that will last a lifetime.

I remember my teacher constantly pushing my shoulder down as I played. As I became tense my shoulder would "ride" upwards as my body would tense up.

He was giving me vital feedback on leaning to relax as I was learning basic technique.

It pays to have a good, alert teacher who can short circuit any problems as they appear!

Another point of note is when you begin to play guitar you can often overdo it.

Indeed, Anthony Glise writing in Classical Guitar Pedagogy states...

"Virtually all guitarists injuries are from over-use (simply practicing too much) or misuse (not warming up properly), playing pieces that are too difficult, improper hand positions, overstress, etc."

These are all things that the beginner and intermediate player are prone to.

You must develop your capabilities in line with your common sense and resist the urge to go "too fast too soon."

To quote the cliché..."You gotta crawl before you walk!":)

While we're on the subject of common sense, you need to take breaks in your practice routine.

You know how time flies when you're engrossed in a new and exciting piece. We all have the tendency to play through the pain at times but you must learn to avoid this sort of practice if you want to avoid long term injury. It might be wiser to break your practice sessions into smaller blocks and spread it out over the day rather than all in one hit.

I know we're all "time-poor" these days but is it worth the risk?

Only you can answer that one.

Make sure you build strength and flexibility in your hands and indeed, your body.

You can do this via a healthy lifestyle that consists of diet, stretching (including yoga), meditation and just plain relaxing and taking a break.

If you do all of this and find your still in pain - STOP!

As they say on the advertisement for a prominent pain reliever... "Pain is nature's warning."

If you find you get long term pain, use your common sense again and seek proper medical advice. To play through pain is downright silly.

I hope this brief discussion can give you some direction in this area. :)

Trevor Maurice is an Australian, living in beautiful seaside Maroubra, in the eastern suburbs of Sydney.

He's been involved in playing guitar (mainly classical) for longer than he cares to remember and has also taught the instrument for many years. He is teacher trained, having a Diploma of Education (Majoring in music)

He has also taught Primary (Elementary) school for many years and had a long-held dream to build a quality website for the classical guitar that is of use to anyone even slightly interested in this beautiful instrument. He has now made that dream a reality with the highly rated...

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"Remember, an arpeggio is just the notes of a chord played separately the same way you would play a scale." - Scott

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