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excersises to relax the right hand?

RicardoRicardo Cornwall UKNew
edited June 2007 in Gypsy Picking Posts: 41
Hello , I was wondering if anyone could advise of an excersise to train the right hand to stay relaxed. My rest stroke is coming on, but I can't help tensing up after a while even though I know it stiffens the sound. I can play much faster when the hand is relaxed, but find that if I am tired, my wrist stiffens. This is also the case when I am nervous before playing in public. Any advise most welcome - especially on the combatting nervous tension!
Not now dear, I have a terrible Djangover.


  • chip3174chip3174 New
    Posts: 135
    Well you have the one thing that all of us guitarists must persevere to eliminate: excess muscular tension. Most of the time, this tension results in some type of confusion, normally because we are simply playing too fast before our muscles are ready to go that fast. If this is the case, it is important to go back to the rudimentary excersices and the moment the excess tension appears, stop immediately. Then go back to the same excerise but much slower. Hopefully your muscles will relax. Try to focus on the beauty of your tone, the quality of your projection. If you do this everyday, eventually you will have programmed your muscles correctly and playing will be much easier for you.

    On Performance Nerves: Everybody has them, from the beginner to the advanced player, so you are not alone. A few things that have helped me:

    1. Warm water-try running some on your hands before you play.
    2. Eating banannas about 30 min. ahead of the performance.
    3. Look at a songlist and anticipate how much fun it will be.
    4. Call a friend, or tell some jokes, humor can be a great unifier amongst bandmates.
    5.Take some deep breathes, do some light finger stretches.

    Hope this helps, didn't mean for it to go on so long!
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,971
    Hi Ricardo,

    Chips advice is excellent. I'd also recommend paying special attention to your pick grip. I find that most people grip the pick too hard, which results in excessive muscle tension.

    Other then that, it's really important to ALWAYS play relaxed during your practice sessions. That will ingrain relaxed motion into your muscle memory, which in turn will allow you to play relaxed in a more high stress performance situation. Remember, you play how you practice, so always practice with control.

    One other thing...lack of volume causes people to tense up and play harder. If you're playing amplified, make sure that you have lots of volume for your leads. I use a volume pedal to give a boost for leads.

    If you're playing acoustic, don't try to fight the rhythm player. If the rhythm player is paying attention, he'll adjust his volume to yours. If he doesn't, fire him!:D

    Good luck!

  • aa New York City✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 800
    have you tried hand relief?
    Learn how to play Gypsy guitar:
  • RicardoRicardo Cornwall UKNew
    Posts: 41
    Thanks for the advice, I will try all the suggestions and report back. Big thank you to Michael for publishing the books - I started with Gypsy picking and found it a great tool.
    Not now dear, I have a terrible Djangover.
  • DiggerDigger New
    Posts: 77
    a wrote:
    have you tried hand relief?

    Yes, but not during a gig.
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