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Taking a Break/Tired Hands

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by SvenHock, Jan 17, 2008.

  1. SvenHock

    SvenHock Member

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    I'm sure this subject has been beat to death but I feel that our health, especially our hands health is way more important than buying the next coolest amp/guitar or learning that cool arpeggio at 10,000 notes per second.

    Ok, my thing right now is: I have been putting in 4-5 hours a day of practice for quite a while now. I have made progress, not as much as I like but progress as I have worked on stuff I cannot do or have not been doing very well. My hands are not in pain but they do feel "not strong" I do not like to use the word weak but I think they may need a rest.

    I feel like if I take a rest for a day or so (I actually think I may need more than that) I will lose what I have gained. My thinking also tells me a break will be good and I will gain more than lose because I will have my strength back.

    Keep in mind, I'm 45, in good shape (could lose some pounds) eat right, try to get as much rest as possible and ride a bike close to an hour each day weather permitting. Reason I mention the age and stuff is I'm not 16-18 anymore where our hands could take more abuse than the age I am at now.

    I would like to hear from as many players as possible especially seasoned pros like Ken Rosser, Harry J and many others too numerous to mention how they handle things like this or even if they have these issues. Please excuse my poor use and choice of words but I think everyone knows what I'm trying to get across.
     
  2. Hooper

    Hooper Member

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    My suggestion, and what I do, is visit a massage therapist and have her/him concentrate on your hands,fingers, lower and upper arms and shoulders. You won't believe the relief you will get. I am 51 and don't heal as fast as I used to and boy this really helps me recover more quickly. And drink lotsa water afterwards.
     
  3. gennation

    gennation Member

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    Stretch, stretch, stretch...make it a habit. It's the one thing that is never taught to guitar players. Your hands go through a lot year after year.
     
  4. Clifford-D

    Clifford-D Member

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    I say take a break only if you do feel even a little pain.
    Otherwise play through it.

    What about technique? What makes your hand feel weak?

    Sometimes you can edit big chords down to manageable nuggets.
    Thus reducing the difficulty.

    Maintaining a straight wrist is important for me. That means the
    neck is close to my upper torso/face. It doesn't hang low.

    What kind of music/guitar are you playing??
     
  5. SvenHock

    SvenHock Member

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    What makes my hands feel weak? Well, I have been working on 3 note per string exercises for one, working on my alternate picking and legato as well. The legato is a major workout for my left hand and thats to be expected. I also work on string skipping, sweep arpeggios, hybrid picking etc.

    Now, I do not work on all these things everyday. I try to alternate pick one day, legato the next and so on. I do not adhere to a 100% strict practice regimen as I find that to be a waste of time as far as holding my attention span. For example, one hour alternate, one hour sweeps, one hour hybrid, one hour string skipping and so on. The next day I work on legato, learning tunes, sequences and so on. You get the basic idea?

    I have several different guitars I play but I lean towards a 2006 Charvel strat. It fits my hand well, is very versatile and I like it because of the neck, not real slim but no baseball bat either. The band that I play in covers music from the late 60's to date rock. A varied mixture of stuff where your playing killer sounding/tone type stuff like Alright Now by Free right up to Megadeth so I have to cover many bases.
     
  6. KRosser

    KRosser Member

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    Good question...

    Yeah, sometimes my hands get tired...I generally try to take it easy on them when that happens for a day or two...

    We tend to think of practicing or playing sometimes as a manual activity, but I don't think that practicing that primarily involves pushing the hands harder really works, at least for me.

    Ear practice and mind practice is just as important, if not moreso. Push them and the fingers will follow.

    Of course, I'm saying this having never heard or seen you play so I'm kinda just stabbing in the dark here, but...does this ring familiar at all?
     
  7. willhutch

    willhutch Supporting Member

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    I find that a day or two off now and then helps rejuvenate my hands and forearms, which do get sore if overused.

    I think you should think longer term - considering guitar playing as a part of your lifestyle. Maybe 4-5 hours a day is too much for good health over the long term. Perhaps you would do better with 2 hrs everyday and not even needing to ask this question.

    There are diminishing returns with practice time. The mind loses focus after a while and continued rehearsal is of limited value. One hour of quality time is better than two hours of unfocused practice - and much easier on the hands. AND, recent brain research which has been shared and discussed on this forum indicate that gains are solidified during sleep and that simply thinking about the act of playing is almost as beneficial as actually doing it. This makes the case for more frequent practice of shorter duration.

    Maybe some of your practice time could be replaced with other useful things - listening to music, practicing your singing, ear training, booking your band, exercising, etc.
     
  8. SvenHock

    SvenHock Member

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    Thanks Will for the advice. I've played for years but have not seriously practiced since the 80's so I'm basically starting over to a point as far as I'm concerned. Not all of us have played professionally/seriously for as long as some have and asking the questions I have asked seem to me to be way more important then some things I see posted here. The advice I have been given will only insure that hopefully, I will be able to play for years to come, with a healthy mind and hands.
     
  9. SvenHock

    SvenHock Member

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    Yes, familiar and crystal clear. :)
     
  10. The Captain

    The Captain Supporting Member

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    OK, I'm extrapoloting here from general "tiredness" complaints that I hear all the time in my medical practice.
    THe main issue her eis the amount of time you are spneding. It is natural to feel tired at teh end of a long session of any kind of activity.

    As a simple analogy, I ask people, "at the end of a long journey, does your car have a full tnak of fuel or an empty one?"
    Quite somply put, you are wearing yourself out. The fact aht you can play for so long menas your endurance is probably pretty good, and your technique is probably very good also. You have not mentioned pain, so I deduce that you are not injuring yourself, just running out of gas.
    Now, there may well be plenty of guys that can play for longer, but they are have probably bee in training for longer as well.
    As the other Ken suggested, you may benefit from breaking your time into segments where your hands and arms get a rest and you do other things.
    Regards
    The other Ken
     
  11. Lucidology

    Lucidology Member

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    Don't forget Ear Fatigue ...

    Letting one's ears rest is crucial ...
     

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