No one is perfect. However, if you started off as a self-taught musician, you may be a little more flawed than others in terms of execution of proper playing techniques.
This isn’t a terrible thing—many guitarists have poor form or execution—but it isn’t a great thing either. Poor form can lead to injuries, and injuries can lead to taking time off from your instrument for recovery.
First off, the most important thing when breaking playing habits is being able to recognize bad playing habits in the first place. While not all bad playing habits will destroy your ability to play, they will all wind up leading to consequence down the road.
So maybe you simply have poor picking form, or you wrap your thumb around the top of the neck when fretting. Both can lead to extensive wrist damage, the ultimate bane of all musicians.
Remember that your body is a network of small, delicate parts that all work as one huge piece; damaging one can lead to damaging another. Abusing your fingers can wind up damaging your wrist down the road.
When correcting a bad playing habit, you need to pay attention at all times. Why? Because you have already formed the habit; you will revert to it the moment your concentration breaks. This means, don’t try and rectify errors in form while watching television, because once you become engrossed in the storyline of the show, your body will automatically go back to what it has learned; the wrong form.
Correcting bad playing habits isn’t fun. You are going to spend a lot of time playing and watching yourself play with no source of entertainment beyond that of your eyes locking onto the problem area. This means you’ll want to take breaks often, as it will help you to renew your concentration and allow you to avoid making problems worse by playing through exhaustion.
If it helps, play in front of a video camera. When you are finished, take a good look at your form. You won’t notice leaps and bounds over night; it will take time for you to fix the issue at hand, and even more time to keep yourself from reverting back to the original problematic form in the first place.
Basically, the sum of fixing the problem is focusing; spending a ton of time practicing with frequent enough breaks that you aren’t becoming frustrated by the task at hand, and not allowing for distractions of any kind. You should find a quiet, private place to work at fixing your form so that there are no interferences of any kind.
As we said earlier, it won’t be easy, and you’re looking at a semi-long road ahead to fix your form, but the sooner you start, the easier it will be to fix. Keep the fun in your playing (don’t only work on fixing your form all day long), and good luck with your new playing habits!
JamPlay has thousands of video lessons that are conveniently arranged in structured lesson sets. With high quality instructions from world renowned bassists, Jamplay is an unparalleled learning resource. Whatever your genre preferences, you’ll find something here to help you improve your current level of playing.