Guitar muscle memory

Muscle Memory In Relation To Guitar

By Erick Gerber
In October 5, 2017
43 Views

Muscle Memory has been defined as the ability to reproduce a particular movement without conscious thought, acquired as a result of frequent repetition of that movement. In relation to guitar playing, this either helps us get better quicker or makes learning very repetitive which can quickly lead to boredom. So how can learning about muscle memory and being aware of what it, benefit us as guitar players?

Muscle Memory is learnt through a lot of repetition over a period of time. It is a specific type of skill that has been practised so long that it becomes innate, like driving a vehicle or walking without having to look down all the time. So, by continually playing a phrase or sequence of music, muscle memory helps you to get your hands around it from a memory standpoint, as well as getting your hands to follow certain patterns on the guitar. This is very helpful as muscle memory is an unconscious learning. It is not like learning new words where you have to keep remembering. It is a memory that becomes innate. So, in the beginning, it could feel monotonous to practice the same tricks over and over, but you will soon realize that the guitar becomes repetitive and the muscle memory activation then aids forward progress and makes it much easier. So there are a few things to keep in mind whilst practising guitar which will help build and activate muscle memory. For starters, practice slow. Never attempt new riffs or ideas at full tempo. Play them slow and let them sink into your fingers, whilst being fully aware of what you are playing.

 

The misconception of muscle memory is that it does not reside in the muscles. It lives in the brain. Muscle memory is memory for the muscles, and not memory in the muscles. Repetition of licks and riffs creates neural pathways in the brain, which literally becomes hardwired to perform the practised licks and riffs with ease. The brain then no longer has to focus on it to make it happen, so the playing feels easy to you. You can then start playing things without thinking about it.

 

Subscribe to our newsletter here – https://www.guitarexcellence.co.za/ne…

© Guitar Excellence 2017 All Rights Reserved

Profile photo of Erick Gerber

Plays for “Red Helen” and “Truth and It’s Burden”. Can make his guitar sound like an accelerating car. Currently doing his BMus Honours degree with the University of Chichester. Sucks at Guitar Hero. Can solo behind his head. Has gigged extensively throughout South Africa.

Leave A Comment