Most common mistakes (Guitar Ergonomics)

Most common mistakes (Guitar ergonomics PAS)

Most common mistakes I have seen when treating guitarists;

  • Guitarist adapt the body to the instrument and not the instrument to the body, which results in poor posture and the development of injuries.
  • Lack of understanding of the primary control (head, neck and the back) and how apply this when practising and performing (and teaching!)
  • The head is dropped forward and constantly turned to the fretting hand. Drop the eyes instead.
  • Lack of warm up and cool down.  Whole body stretching exercise are essential for a healthy body and musician.
  • Practise sessions are too long with lack of attention to body feedback resulting in an increase in pain and fatigue. Mental awareness is decreased resulting in poor outcomes.
  • Lack of goal setting for each practise session = poor achievement.
  • No real understanding and method of how to measure progress.
  • Too many repetitions when practising, especially scales and difficult bars.
  • Guitar is too big compared to the size of the player (height and hand size).
  • Too many hours spend on typing on laptop/PC. Poor posture.
  • Poor breathing technique.
  • Classical guitar – right handed player:
  • The guitar being held and balanced by the right and left arm instead of the legs and right side of the body when using a footstool. Upper body does not need to be involved when balancing the guitar.
  • Left hand (fingerboard):
  • Lack of understanding that the hand, wrist, arm, should and back should work as single unit to insure that the larger muscles are used and not the smaller.
  • No understanding of the concept of partial relaxation; the whole right (and left) hand complex needs to be relaxed when moving from one shape or position to avoid fatigue and pain.
  • Left hand hyperflexion leading to pain in hand, wrist, arm and back.
  • Left hand: too much pressure in the thumb increasing pain and lack of freedom in the left hand.
  • Left hand too far extended away from the body to reach 1st position due to wrongly balanced guitar.
  • Grapping of the fretboard resulting in pain and lack of freedom of movement.
  • Right hand
  • The right arm fixed on the guitar body resulting in pain and lack of movement and hyperflexion of the wrist.
  • Hyperflexion of the hand resulting in pain and lack of freedom of movement.
  • Planting of fingers, especially the thumb.
  • Use of the rests stroke resulting in lack of freedom of movement.
  • Electric guitarist (Right handed):
  • Similar to above and:
  • Poor playing position on the bed or worse.
  • Strap is too thin so it ‘cuts’ into the shoulder when standing up with the guitar.
  • Left hand
  • Use of thumb over the guitar neck and onto the fretboard = development of pain.
  • Forgetting to relax the left hand after string bending and come back to natural positioning of the hand onto the fretboard.
  • Right hand
  • Little finger attached to the guitar body as a means of a contact point.
  • Holding the plectrum too tight in the right hand.
  • Over rotation of the wrist when using a plectrum.
  • Wrist bending inwards touching the guitar body as a means of a contact point.
  • Poor fingerpicking technique.

2020