If you want to learn how to play guitar there are a few things you should do and a few things you should not do.
Guitar Things You Should Not Do
While “no pain, no gain” may be a good mantra for the body building workout community, it’s definitely not a good rule of thumb to live by in guitar playing. Sure, as a beginning guitar player you will experience some discomfort as your fingers and wrist get used to playing. Your fingers will hurt from the strings cutting into them until you build up calluses. Your wrist will hurt as you learn chording positions because these are positions that your hands are not used to making.
But some pains and sensations can indicate serious problems ahead. If you experience a painful popping sensation in your wrist, this could mean that you are developing – or have – tendonitis. You’ve over-strained your tendons and the surrounding muscles and caused them to swell. If you continue to try and “play through it” you could develop a serious injury that could mean not being able to play guitar at all for a while.
One sensation that may not be painful but certainly odd, is the sensation of your hand falling asleep WHILE you’re playing. If ever experience a tingling sensation in your fret hand or fingers while you’re playing you should stop and tall your guitar teacher about it. If you are teaching yourself, or learning remotely from online materials or books, you should simply stop and consult a doctor.
The sensation of your hand falling asleep can mean the early stages of carpel tunnel syndrome. Carpel tunnel syndrome comes from repeated muscle movements, especially if those muscle movements are inefficient and producing undue stress. Sometimes this means that you are using bad form when holding chords or playing scales.
Guitar Things You Should Do
The best thing you can do as a beginning guitarist is to take lessons. This is the best way to ensure that your approach to playing is healthy, accurate, and knowledgeable. You can teach yourself guitar without any formal, structured training, but it can take a very long to time to reach a level that just a few good lessons can get you.
A qualified instructor can teach you what you need to know properly from the start, and can provide valuable insight as your skills grow to address such questions about why you might be experiencing certain pains or sensations while playing.
Although taking lessons in-person from a qualified instructor is the best route to take, it’s often costly and impractical. Luckily, there are many high quality options for learning guitar online via downloadable materials, instructional videos, and eBooks.