A big problem that a lot of guitar players have, without realising it, is muscle tension.
Try this short experiment:
Take your left arm and tense it up as much as you can. Now, while it is tensed up, try and wiggle your fingers.
Now completely relax that entire arm and let if flop down by your side. Now try and wiggle your fingers as fast as you can. In which scenario was it easier to wiggle you fingers? The one where your arm was relaxed.
Now this translates to our guitar playing too. Muscle tension restricts how we can move our hands and fingers, as-well as reducing our stamina.
Our arm is the obvious place to look for unwanted muscle tension, but it can exist anywhere in our body. Unnecessary tension in your back, neck, legs, even your jaw; can negatively affect your guitar playing.
Next time you are playing your guitar, shift your mental focus from what you are playing, and slowly scan through your body, searching for any bizarre muscle tension that you may not have been consciously aware of. Then try and relax that muscle group.
This isn’t to say that when we play guitar we shouldn’t be using any muscle tension – but we do want to make sure that we are using the right amount of tension in the right muscle groups at the right time, and that we are not unnecessarily tensing muscles that we should not be.
This is just one of the many strategies that we employ to make sure you can reach your guitar playing goals as quickly as possible, diagnosing and fixing problems as and when they arise.