Maybe I should have realized this a while ago…

Guys, my hand is tired. I pulled out the Godin today to work with Rocksmith, and decided to spend the time in the Guitarcade. I thought it was a good day to just focus on drilling some techniques, and the Guitarcade is great for that.  It was sort of an impulse that led me back to Castle Chordead. I haven’t looked at it for a while.

I started out my practice sitting in front of the desk, which I don’t typically do. I practice standing as much as possible for a few reasons:

1. You don’t exactly see people sitting a lot while playing electric guitar. Sure, you CAN do it, but I think it’s probably a better idea to practice the way you would anticipate playing if you were actually good at it, to try to emulate (to some extent) what you most often see.

2. Because I injured my tailbone last winter, and while I’m fine now for all practical purposes, sitting to play for too long can still cause some mild discomfort.

3. The human body isn’t actually built to sit for as long as we typically do anyway.

Still, it’s Saturday, and I guess I was feeling lazy. Plus, I’m breaking in the Windows 10 upgrade, and decided I’d try Rocksmith on it’s own first before attempting it via hdmi. That way, if there was a technical problem, it would be obvious where the source of it was. I was having an issue even FINDING Rocksmith under the new windows OS (Hint: windows files it under S, for Steam. Don’t waste your time on the search function. It will not find the program.)

Well, working this way at the desk can get cramped. I ended up shifting around a lot. If you’ve been reading this blog, you know I’ve had some issues with power chords, and you know I’ve noticed playing the high end of the neck feels cramped and seems harder than playing the low end, in spite of the frets being closer together.

…so then…I tilted the guitar neck a little bit away from my body, and things got way easier. …oh. Duh.

This is honestly something I never noticed while watching the pros. I’m going to have to look at my next concert and see if that is, in fact, how they’re holding their guitars – on a slight angle from the body.  To date, I’ve been holding mine perpendicular to my body. So if you looked at the geometry of it, my body to the guitar angle would look something like a capital T. With a little tilt, my elbow isn’t as close to my ribs, and it seems like my arm has a little more space to move, which definitely seems to make the higher frets less complicated.

(An aside: I’ve just now noticed I no longer find referring to the higher frets as being those closest to the body as awkward. Higher notes. Higher numbered frets. Higher frets. Easy. I wonder when I stopped wanting to call the frets at the top near the headstock higher, when my head stopped marrying ‘high and low’ to the concept of ‘top and bottom’.)

Doing this, I cleared level 2 of the minigame. Cool. I won’t lie. I paused a few times before going into the boss battle. My hand still got pretty tired. Some of the switches were quick, and while I’m improving with power chords, they’re still not a cake-walk. My hand and wrist do feel worn out after a few minutes of them. Still, I got to the boss on the level and was determined to get through it. It took a few tries. I kept losing to him on the very last chord due to just general clumsiness, but I made it happen.

I’m going to have to try this ‘slightly angled’ approach to holding the guitar more in the next several practice sessions and see what else it affects, but I think this is very likely something I should have realized much, much earlier in this process.

I did a google search and found this:

Hug the body of the guitar with your strumming arm close to your right side, not flat against your stomach. If you do it right, the neck of the guitar will be pointing out, away from your body at about a 45 degree angle. This will give your left arm plenty of room to move around and create easier access to the higher frets. You don’t want to be jabbing yourself in the side with your elbow while you play.


So, it seems like I’m onto something, but something I now feel like a dummy for not catching onto much earlier. I suspect it might actually solve some of my flexibility issues, as I further experiment with it, but only time will tell.

Until Next Time, definitely had an ‘absentminded professor’ moment on this one. Now that I’ve noticed, further experimentation is pending.

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