Understand Your Hands

A look at the physiology of guitar technique. 

By understanding the anatomy of the muscle fibers, tendons, nerves and joints, you can diagnose exactly why you're having trouble playing certain songs, licks, chords etc. Finding the root cause of a technique problem allows you to optimize your practice time to focus on those areas.

To learn more about your physiology & guitar technique check out the 

Hand Mechanics Workshop

If you’re even remotely serious about improving your guitar playing, then one of the very best things you could do is to explore the anatomy of your hands. 

By learning how the muscles, tendons, and nervous system work you can actually pinpoint technical and mechanical problems in your playing very quickly. 

If you can find the exact flaw in your playing that’s stopping you from playing that scale at 180 BPM or that’s preventing you from changing chords rapidly enough to play your favorite song, then all that’s needed is to design an exercise that solves that particular mechanical problem. 

Over the last 25 years of playing (15 of them at a professional level) I have spent countless hours analyzing how one of my fingers is moving or watching my wrist rotate during picking; constantly asking myself, “how can I streamline that movement?” 

We are, of course, talking about improving technique, and what is technique exactly? It is the way in which you complete a physical motion on the guitar. Show more

If you watch the best guitarists play, whether that’s Paco De Lucia, Steve Vai, Joscho Stephan, or whomever, what you’re watching is the perfection of a technique combined with muscle mass. 

When someone is playing ultra fast, or extremely cleanly it’s because they perfected the correct technique, and then used that proper technique to build the muscle fibers associated with that motion.

Now, we are going to discuss how to build specific fibers to accomplish certain tasks that rely mainly on that fiber. For example, a swimmer and a football player will have very different workout routines and will target a very different set of muscles. 

Similarly, a guitarist must choose whether to target Type I or Type II muscles in his or her hands. The decision, on which muscle group to focus, is dependent on the motion you are trying to improve. Show more

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