Few Things To Avoid Tendonitis

Hi everyone,
today I will talk about tendonitis, a problem I hope none of you will ever have to face. Every budding shredders (and the others too...) should be aware of that trouble because when it happens believe me, it's painful and it takes a very long time to heal.
Globally it appears when you have a bad position while playing and/or when your hands are not warm enough and you try to play too fast a lick your fingers are not used to, (stretch exercises in most cases). Of course someone can play in a bad position, never warming up and for all that never develop tendonitis... It depends also on your global health, medical history, etc... I will just talk about some risks that players should not take.

Ok first of all, don't forget that playing several hours a day requires a lot from your hands, wrists and arms. So before touching your guitar (especially if you just woke up; I know some of you are in this case...) it's better to warm up your hands. This doesn't have to be long. Just hold your left wrist with your right hand and make small circles with your left hand. Then do the same with the other hand.
The other useful exercise is to put the palm of your left hand on a table (you have to stand up before you lazy guys!) and to make slowly a 90-degree angle between your arm and your hand. Then do the same with your right hand.
Any other warm-up exercise is welcome.

You should also better choose to sit on a chair to play. First it will give you the will to practice your instrument because if you're too comfortably settled on your soft couch it's harder to learn (sorry...). Then your back will be straight; this will spare you many trouble including tendonitis.

When you begin to play, don't start with sixteenth triplets at 150 bpm, you have to play slow to warm up your fingers. It depends on your level: for a beginner playing any scale in 16th notes at 60 bpm is almost impossible while a better guitarist would find it boring (even if it's very useful for him...). You just have to feel what is the right speed to start your exercise, lick, etc... Playing slow is also essential because it teaches you accuracy and it's especially helpful if you want to play fast. So take your time, your guitar is not gonna leave you for Rusty Cooley because you play slow...
When you have finally warmed up (you know it when your fingers move easier than before) you can start learning any crazy lick you want but still be careful if it's a stretch exercise...

When you have finished to play, redo the two exercises I explained before.
If you can do without them before playing, it's absolutely essential after, even if you have spent only 10 minutes in sweeping exercises. You'll feel that theses exercises are helpful when you'll do them (you can also ask your girlfriend to massage your arms, it's very relaxing and useful but she won't do it every time you play so...forget it!).

If you feel any unusal pain you should stop playing immediately and see a doctor. It's better to stop playing for few weeks or months, even if it's really hard, than to stop playing for good.
Speaking for myself, tendonitis forced me to stop playing for several months and I can tell you it sucks!!!
Don't hesitate to ask your doctor for further informations.
For any comment or question feel free to email me at
. Thanks for reading!


I was born on 1981 and I start playing guitar at 15. My main influences are Jason Becker, Shawn Lane, Stevie Ray Vaughan & Jimi Hendrix. I also play cello. In 2005 I recorded a weird CD called “The Mushrooms' Fantasy” which is a kind of heroic-fantasy parody (the songs are related to each others by a story involving Dark Mushrooms trying to invade the world...). There are many different music styles in this album (baroque music, flamenco, metal, symphonic & indian music, etc...) but the main style is progressive rock with shred & melodic guitar solos. I'm currently working on new music.

The music that I play is deeply influenced by blues, classical music & rock and my aim is to work with artists from every cultures.

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