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Old 08-02-2023, 04:56 AM
Thisisme Thisisme is offline
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Default Takes me forever to warm up?

Iv had this problem the whole 20 years iv been playing guitar. I do hand exercises but most of the time it still takes me usually well over an hour of playing to play to my maximum level. Its not just a subtle thing its really noticeable, people who know me point it out and are just as baffled as i am. Its frustrating, im a good player and its a curse. It really hit hard when i was at a jam night and got speaking with people to start an AllmanBrothers project. I live in the UK and they aint big other here so it was my one and only chance. Anyway I wanted to show to them I have the chops which I do, i feel im good enough to play dicky betts and duane allman stuff but i cant physically play there stuff unless iv been playing for well over an hour, my fingers slip and any fast run my fingers just stop and slow down, so basically i showed to people that by far im not good enough for this position when in reality I am. It means every gig i do i have to chor away for two hours before a gig before I become fluent and literally 5 times better. It was heartbreaking. Not because im eager to show off a level of skill but because I wont be starting an Allman brothers band now

I know everyone needs time to warm up and i see it at gigs, players become much better and fluent halfway through the gig but with me its on a whole different level.
Its not fair why do I have to be like this and how does everyone else watm up because maybe thereís something i can do to help. It would be a dream to pick up my guitar and 20 - 30 minutes later i can play to me full potential
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Old 08-02-2023, 05:32 AM
Mandobart Mandobart is offline
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Does this happen to you when practicing/playing at home alone as well, or just when you play in front of others?

Is this something that affects other activities like public speaking, playing sports, etc.?
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Old 08-02-2023, 06:10 AM
buddyhu buddyhu is offline
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I imagine your will get answersthat go in many different directions, because you are baffled yourself.

Mandobart has asked some good questions…maybe the answers well help you (and us) to be a bit more clear about the possible underlying contributors.

It sounds to me like you experience a nice flow when you are “warmed up” (though it doesn’t sound like your sub-optimal playing is exclusively related to being “cold”: to me, it sounds like some other issues are being addressed when you are warming up). It sounds to me like something is disrupting your access to a flow state when your first sit down to play.

So what are some of the obstacles to experiencing flow? Here are a few factors.
  • Thinking.
  • Anxiety or tension.
  • Distractability.
  • Self-consciousness.
  • Factors that change your approach, such as not being able to hear your self and therefore playing louder, which can disrupt technique.

And, of course, there are others.

I don’t play as well as you do, but I have similar challenges. For me, learning how to manage my stage fright (and having my stage fright diminish as the result of experience) has helped. Making efforts to play in a variety of locations and in a variety of emotional states has also helped.

And meditation has helped me to be more single-pointed and less distractible.

But it will always sting when you want to play well and then can’t live up to your aspirations.

I hope the input you get can help…but this sounds like a longstanding problem, so it will likely take persevering efforts to work your way out of this frustrating problem.

I wish you well.
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Old 08-02-2023, 06:28 AM
YeOldRocker YeOldRocker is offline
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Like the others, I'm wondering if you have this problem at home, when you're practicing. Does it take an hour then, too?

Otherwise, it sounds like nerves; it takes an hour for you to settle down well enough to play the way you know you can when you're not playing in front of people. You say your friends noticed this, too, but you're still playing in front of people, even if they're your friends. Friends/family can be one of the hardest audiences to play in front of.

The only solution, if this is the case, is to keep trying in front of others until you play at least almost as well as you play by yourself. Many people play very well in their homes, but that's only part of your music skills; embarrassment and nerves when performing are part of the learning curve, too. That needs to be conquered in order to play well in front of an audience or at an audition.
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Old 08-02-2023, 06:43 AM
J Buck J Buck is offline
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I gotta say, I completely understand. I just turned 60 in March with a family history of arthritis. My fingers are stiffening up and fiddly. I suffer from a bit of stage fright as well. I only play in the worship band at church. 3-4 songs at most, strictly a rhythm guitarist. I finger a basic G chord and my left hand goes to shaking so bad I think you can see it from the try to get in early so I can just strum and pick for an hour to warm up and try and settle in. Sundays are not too bad, but we rehearse on Wed afternoons and I leave work early. Really bad then, trying to shake off the stresses of the day and traffic. I don't drink alcohol anymore, but sometimes I swear if I had a stiff drink it might help! Tried soaking my hands in hot water for a few minutes and it does help, but kind of impractical before services. There are a lot of techniques I guess to try, I'm willing to try them all.
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Old 08-02-2023, 06:52 AM
zuzu zuzu is offline
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I thought on this a bit but still can't come up with any better way to say it but that you can readily, but unknowingly, be in a state of feeling and believing you have total concentration on what you are doing, but you don't. It's like a "ghost" distraction, imperceptible to you, but there nonetheless.

There is a paradox in performing music for others; to do your best you must have intense concentration, yet be completely relaxed so you can achieve intense concentration. A distraction (especially in your head) may not seem to you to break your concentration, but it may hamper your relaxation subliminally, sort of interfering with your concentration through the back door, so to speak.

I have been performing music for others for 47 years, but am not immune to such things. But I was very fortunate to have an awesome musical mentor when I started, and looking back now I can see he was completely aware of such things and "trained" me to be able to achieve relaxation and concentration, mostly "by fire", as they say.

It may be that it just takes you awhile to get to your comfort zone. If you can play as fluidly as Duane and Dickey, I suspect your muscle memory to be developed enough for your hands to follow orders pretty much any time.

Something to try: put on music that has nothing to do with the Allmans, classical or metal or something not in the key of your Allman licks, at the same volume or a bit more as you are, play your licks over that music. And do it cold, right from the start. See if you can hold your solo solidly together with that going on.
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Old 08-02-2023, 08:12 AM
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Guitars44me Guitars44me is offline
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Smile Talk to your Doc

Have you talked to your Dr. to see if there is a physiological issue that can be addressed somehow?

I would. And perhaps some physical therapy can be arranged…

I have had PT for neck, shoulder, hip and carpal tunnel stuff over the last ten years. In every case it helped a LOT, and I am super grateful for their expertise and help.

Lots of articles on yoga and stretching for guitarists. I recall a few in AG magazine.

Off to stretch now….

Sure sounds frustrating! Good luck, and keep searching for help. Don’t settle….

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Old 08-02-2023, 09:00 AM
jaymarsch jaymarsch is offline
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Default Takes me forever to warm up?

Iím curious if you have the same issue when doing other tasks that require a similar level of hand dexterity. It could be so many things and unless you go to a doctor, itís all guesswork at this point. It might be helpful to narrow it down and find out if itís neuromuscular, physiological, psychological or a combination.
I had horrible hand shaking when I would perform and figured it was psychological and then finally mentioned it to my doctor and it turned out that I actually had Essential Tremor. Once I made that discovery, I was able to take small doses of a Beta Blocker before performing and it alleviated 90% of my stage fright symptoms. So, it might be prudent to dig a little deeper as to whatís at play here. Best of luck in finding a solution.
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Old 08-02-2023, 09:20 AM
Arapaho G Arapaho G is offline
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I don't usually play in front of people for the same reason. It does take me a while to warm up, but I know my problem with playing in front of others is nerves and nothing else. I also recently found that I may think I've got a song down but really don't. I did some recording and found that it took A LOT of takes to get what I thought I already had. It also made me nervous just being in front of a camera that I knew I could just stop and start over whenever I wanted. I don't know how much you play in front of others, but maybe doing it more often would help.
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Old 08-02-2023, 09:49 AM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is online now
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Hi thisisme,
it is also me and probably many of us.

Life is wretched for the musician :
We practice x 99, then fight to get the gig, or whatever, pack up the gear drive to the venue (or place of execution), unload your stuff, try to prepare, and wait, and wait.

Ive been in large theatres where practising in dressing rooms or green rooms was forbidden, 'lest it be heard onstage or FOH.

Then, the five minute call (or less, an you are ON!)

For musicians "on tour" they do the same thing almost every day for maybe two,three months, and the numbers and arrangements get slicker, and evolve - muscle memory is being over exercised to become automatic.

In the dying medium of "folk clubs" at least you knew that the audience were looking and listening to you.

For us "ordinary" folks who now only play in song circles, or - horror of horrors - the dreaded "Open Mic" you have to sit and wait your turn then suddenly you are "on" but there's the plugging in and the sound check (if you're lucky), and then the 2-4 songs and get off asap. The audience may, or may not listen and will often continue talking - you are no more an individual than an old '45 on a juke box.
We are disposable "turns" - background music to the consuming of bad alcohol.

Turn us on and let us go. But..... there are times when you can get through, make them stop drinking, start listening, and it is about YOU!

Find ways to be unique, and SELL the song.
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I'm here to try to help and advise and I offer one to one lessons/meetings/mentoring via Zoom!
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Old 08-02-2023, 12:49 PM
Earl49 Earl49 is offline
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If you suspect that it may be an element of stage fright or nervousness, I have found that practicing while the red "record" light is on gives me nearly the same perceived pressure as playing in front of an audience. Don't listen to the tapes the day of a gig. You'll inevitably fixate on a few minor mistakes and miss the overall good performance. That will make you even more self-conscious on stage.
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Old 08-02-2023, 01:16 PM
Gordon Currie Gordon Currie is online now
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Originally Posted by Thisisme View Post
Iv had this problem the whole 20 years iv been playing guitar. I do hand exercises but most of the time it still takes me usually well over an hour of playing to play to my maximum level..[snip]..It would be a dream to pick up my guitar and 20 - 30 minutes later i can play to me full potential
Most replies are assuming that you have some variant of stage fright.

I do not see that even with the slightly shaggy dog story of the Allman Brothers jam session.

I suspect that your warm up routine is not effective, based on the "had this problem the whole 20 years iv'e been playing" statement. You may 'do hand exercises" but that doesn't mean they are the right ones for you.

Everyone has different physiology and our hand exercises needs to reflect this reality.

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Old 08-02-2023, 06:57 PM
truckgoodbar truckgoodbar is offline
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Stretching and warming up is all good, but for me, getting in the right head space has a lot to do with it. Being in that relaxed state where your sub-conscience takes over and the music and licks flow out of you is my ideal space. Too much concentration generally does not work for me. It usually messes me up. It's that state of being aware, but also being detached that I strive for. I just have to get out of my own way.
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exercises, guitar, warm up

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