Does your guitar fretting hand ever hurt from playing too much? Here are 4 easy guitar lessons that can help relieve fretting hand pain.
I love playing guitar. I love playing it so much that I used to play up to 6 hours at a time (with some breaks) as a street musician. I hurt my fretting hand from playing guitar in unhealthy ways for too long. I still play guitar 5 nights a week, I just play guitar differently now. I have come up with these 4 easy guitar lessons so that I am not in pain after my sessions. I have learned the hard way and I wanted to pass down what I learned so that it may possibly help you avoid hand pain, tendonitis and carpal tunnel.
Here Are 4 Easy Guitar Lessons To Help Improve Endurance
Fret the guitar as lightly as possible without losing tone and sustain
I know it sounds so stupid, but I never realize how overly hard I was fretting the guitar strings. I could have gotten the same tone and sustain with 1/4 the pressure I was using. I started realizing this a couple of years ago. But that didn’t stop me. I still have to constantly remind myself to check how much pressure I am using on the strings. Remind yourself in the middle of the song to check how hard you are fretting your guitar and release the pressure to the point before you hear fret buzz or a loss of sustain.
Change the chord position. Move to the same chords on different parts of the neck
Playing a repetitive chord progression while someone takes a 15 minute solo can really be bad for your hands. This is what first caused me pain in my left hand years ago. I was playing a three chord progression for someone who was singing reggae for over 20 minutes. Ever since then my left hand has had pain if I don’t play properly. What I have learned to do, the same chord on different parts of the neck. Not only does change the hand position so you don’t get a repetitive injury, it is also good guitar practice to help lock in the different chords up and down the neck.
For example, if I were to play A, D, E progression (see figure 1). I could play this progression by the neck for 16 bars.
Then, I could play the same progression off of the A on the 5th fret for 16 bars (see figure 2).
Then move back down or up the neck. I could even switch chord positions between each chord. This is an easy guitar technique every-night now.
Don’t fret the strings tightly when using a hand mutes
A lot of times I found myself fretting the guitar strings when they didn’t need to be fretted. For example, when I was play muted strums (either with a palm mute or a left hand bar mute.) When playing these muted strums, I can lightly mute the strings with my fretting hand with a bar or just my palm. I usually don’t need to fret the chords. Next time you play a percussive strum notice if you are fretting chords while you do it. You may not need to.
Don’t Overuse Bar Chords (Use Rhythm Chords When You Can)
This is an easy guitar trick for longevity. Barring a chord with your index finger for long periods of time can really cramp your wrist and hand. This is another thing that tends to cause me pain and I honestly try to avoid bar chords when I can. I think they can hurt your hand because the amount of tension you have to put on the strings to bar and how tight your thumb has to be to the back of the fingerboard. What I have learned to do lately is use easy guitar rhythm chords. Rhythm chords are like a bar chord but they don’t have the bass notes in them. For example I would play the A chord in (figure 3) instead of the A chord in (figure 4)
Figure 3 Figure 4