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Live performance - playing too hard

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Ash Jazz, Dec 29, 2013.

  1. For some reason I play much harder when playing live and sometimes run into an endurance problem as a result.

    Does this happen to you?

    Do you just grunt through it or consciously try to back off?
  2. TrevorOfDoom

    TrevorOfDoom Supporting Member

    Jun 17, 2007
    Austin, TX
    Be conscious of your zeal.
    Think of it as a marathon, not a sprint.
    Hit hard when you need to, speak softly where needed, and above all else, play for the song.
  3. BBox Bass

    BBox Bass Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2011
    NW Pennsylvania
    I was guilty of this for awhile, and I always regretted it the next day. My solution was to turn my amp up to the point of being too loud if I dug in too much. I also lowered my action so that plucking too hard would cause fret clank. Both forced me to pay closer attention to what my right hand was doing.
  4. Martin89


    Nov 8, 2010
    Glendale, AZ
    Unofficial Endorser: Ibanez, D'Addario, Zoom
    Having a lot of headroom will help reduce this if it's because you can't hear yourself. If you just do it because you're having a good time a limiter might be effective or cause you to dig more. Maybe lay off the limiter so your dynamics are more noticeable.
  5. NailDriver

    NailDriver Supporting Member

    Dec 27, 2008
  6. b-bottom


    Dec 18, 2006
    Knoxville TN
    I play a lot harder and put a lot of energy into the performance.

    If you're getting winded and having endurance issues then my suggestion is to start running or at least walking more to build up endurance.
  7. Funny, not winded. I'll be crankin' along and my fingers will cramp and I'll start missing notes. My hands are in pretty good shape and don't tire easily. I just have this really bad habbit of playing super hard when at a gig.
  8. okcrum

    okcrum in your chest

    Oct 5, 2009
    Verde Valley, AZ
    RIP Dark Horse strings
    Not being snarky, but I had to learn to practice as hard as I gig.
  9. Thats not being snarky at all. That is a totally interesting perspective and one I hadn't thought of. I rather expected people to talk about what they do to keep their playing under control, like; "I often find myself trying to get louder by popping the strings more instead of letting the amp do the work, now what I do is..."

    I think what I'm dealing with is a mind over matter issue. I probably should be using the more economical type playing I use while recording so that I get the best sound out of my instrument, stay in the pocket, have speed on tap, etc. I have no doubt pros have disciplined themselves regarding this early on in their carreers.
  10. That is very solid advice, thank you, and makes a lot of sense. I will give that a try.
  11. I think I am sensible when setting the volume but just want to hear myself more when getting into it so I compensate by hitting harder. This is not a good idea. A pro will want to sit in the mix not on top of it.
  12. obimark


    Sep 1, 2011
    Playing "harder" is NOT playing "harder"- MOST PROS play with a light touch, and only dig in for certain parts. HArd lesson to learn- I play with a light touch whether it is pick or fingers, and only hit harder on accents... Dynamics....
  13. halfjackson


    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston, MA
    Practicing without an amp can help you get into better hard playing at gigs shape. But I agree with the previous posters that you might want to let the amp do the heavy lifting at gigs, and dig in when you need to.
  14. In addition to what ever has suggested above:

    Don't underestimate the importance of BREATHING while playing gigs. It's easy to let your adrenaline take over and your muscles tense up at a gig, and paying attention to your breathing can help relax you.

    It's simple, yet effective, and something you can start to apply immediately.
  15. halfjackson


    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston, MA
    + ∞

    Becoming a better breather will help you in pretty much every aspect of your life.
  16. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    Been there. More than once I have bruised my fretting fingers or made my plucking fingers sore. Since, I have practiced learning how to play furiously with a light touch. It does wonders for your articulation.
  17. DrJKO


    Sep 21, 2010
    I haven't read all the feedback on this one so I do not know if this has been discussed.... Could it might be that you are nervous, filled with adrenaline which together makes you tense up? I haven't experienced the exact same thing as you during a gig yet (our songs aren't that very complicated if you have done your homework) but when I read about the importance of being relaxed and not tense up while playing it changed my awareness about hard I was pushing down my fingers to the frets. To sum up what I am trying to say: Try to relax during the gig and practice the songs alot before the gig!
  18. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
  19. You have to stay conscious about it and stop yourself. Make sure you got enough amp headroom so you dont have to dig in to be heard live. When I was a kid I played in a fusion band, loud drums, guitars etc etc. I didn't have enough amplification and as a result I dug in way too much to the point where I'd break strings and as a result came down with a pretty bad RSI.