When it comes to practicing the guitar in between your guitar lessons, it's fun to devote hours on end to working on a particular song, riff or solo. When you're in the groove, the last thing you want to do is suffer from fatigue in your picking hand or arm — or, worse, develop a repetitive strain injury that forces you to set the instrument aside for a while. A simple way to lessen the risk of such issues is to use a guitar pick that feels comfortable in your hand. Some players opt for ergonomic guitar picks, while others find comfort with standard picks. Whatever you prefer, use these tips to stave off fatigue and pain so that you'll be feeling fresh by the time of your next lesson.
Use A Loose Grip
Some players make the mistake of gripping their pick too tightly. While this can seemingly prevent dropping it, it will also unnecessarily tire out the muscles in your hand, wrist and even your arm. While the amount of force you expend to hold the pick between your thumb and index finger must feel natural, try reducing the pressure. In most cases, a very light grip will still allow you to strum the strings or pick individual notes as desired, but without straining your muscles.
Don't Float Your Arm
Your hand, wrist and arm will develop fatigue quickly if you make the mistake of floating your arm away from the body of the guitar. This means you're hovering the arm a fraction of an inch off the guitar's body. There's no harm in letting your arm, wrist and hand rest on the body of the guitar. It won't negatively affect your playing and, in many cases, can actually improve the rhythm of your strumming/picking hand. Many players favor placing the inside of the wrist on or behind the bridge of the guitar. If you keep this part of your hand light pressed against this area, you can them strum by simply articulating your hand.
Subtle Strumming Works Best
While your guitar heroes might occasionally make exaggerated strumming motions on stage, perhaps even waving their strumming arm in a windmill-like motion, this is an advanced technique. Don't try to emulate these habits — you'll end up with a sore arm and will also likely feel frustrated with your end results. You really don't need to move more than your hand to effectively play the guitar; there are very few necessary techniques necessitate the full movement of your arm. Keep your strumming and picking subtle and you won't have to worry about fatigue.