Is Playing Guitar Bad For You? [Solved]

By now, we understand the positive effects that playing guitar and music, in general, can have on someone. Although, nothing is ever perfect. After digging in and being the devils-advocate for my hobby, I sought to find out, is playing guitar bad for you?

Overall, playing guitar is not bad for you. Although, there can be some issues that arise as a result of playing guitar. Parul Raj Agrawal, Assistant Professor at Manipal College of Allied Health Sciences, writes how since learning guitar and playing it requires repetitive use of muscles, very often with poor posture, guitarists are at an increased risk of nerve or musculoskeletal damage.

Continue reading to find out:

  1. Is it bad to play guitar everyday?
  2. Is playing guitar bad for you?
  3. The 3 disadvantages of playing guitar.

Please keep in mind that this article is more so playing devil’s advocate. I am a guitarist and believe everyone should try learning guitar, despite these negative effects that could arise.

Is Playing Guitar Bad For You

Is it Bad to Play Guitar Every day?

No, it is not bad to play guitar every day. The duration of time played is more important to reduce the chances of burnout or finger fatigue. Playing every day is a great way to build muscle memory as long as the duration of time played does not extend past the body’s limit which may hinder future practice sessions.

There is something to be said about taking time off from playing guitar after having played daily for many months. As a musician, a brief time off from playing guitar can spark new ideas and sounds in your head that translates to your playing once you go back.

Is Playing Guitar Bad for You?

There are aspects to playing guitar that can be bad for you. Aspects like the repeated use of muscles for long durations of time. As well as the poor posture that is often associated with newer players, hunched over their guitars learning chord shapes. The combination of these two aspects can result in an increased risk of nerve or musculoskeletal damage.

Discover How Much You Should Practice a Day

At the Manipal College of Allied Health Sciences, a study was conducted to analyze such instances. Assistant Professor Parul Raj Agrawal and Kurian Aju researched the prevalence of playing-related musculoskeletal disorders for beginner guitarists. This study is linked here. In this study, they concluded that:

“The neck and lower back were reported to be most affected with symptoms of pain (29% each) among the selected population, followed by the wrist (17%) and shoulder (15.5%). The main contributing factor was found to be awkward sitting posture and non-use of back support while sitting.”

Parul Raj Agrawal and Kurian Aju, Manipal College of Allied Health Sciences

Furthermore, mental health can also be affected by playing guitar. With the guitar, there are hundreds of thousands of players. Many of these guitarists will post videos of themselves playing songs in only their first few years of playing. It is easy and likely that new guitarists will negatively compare themselves to what they are seeing online.

The mindset of the new guitarist is important. A mindset of wanting to play the guitar simply because it is cool, will often only lead to disappointment. If this is the starting mindset, then playing guitar is bad for you as it will only cause mental health issues once the difficulty and comparison of playing guitar are realized.

Although, from a macro view, playing guitar is not bad for you. Any hobby will have challenges and physical limitations to overcome, guitar is not separate from them.

3 Disadvantages of Playing Guitar

Although there are many advantages to playing guitar, there are also some disadvantages. Let’s discuss three of them.

1. Costliness

The guitar is not an inexpensive hobby. At the beginning of learning guitar, an inexpensive guitar can be purchased to learn the basics. Although, once a basic level of proficiency is achieved, better gear is often desired.

As electric guitar players, and especially blues guitar players, we desire to sound like the guitarists who inspire us. Guitarists like Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Guy, and Albert King. To do so, further gear is needed. And this gear can be costly.

Intermediate-level electric guitars rarely cost less than $700. Pedals associated with the desired tone output a guitarist wants can cost $60 or more each. An amp to emit that sound will cost at least $300. Lastly are the cables and miscellaneous gear that can add up, especially for a performing guitarist.

All in all, an intermediate electric guitar setup will cost no less than $1000 making the guitar a highly costly hobby and a disadvantage to the instrument.

2. Time-Allocation Needed

Playing and learning the guitar is not an easy skill to subscribe. It takes many hours to reach even a beginner level. Hundreds of hours of practice are needed to achieve a more enjoyable moderate level of guitar. This amount of time specifically allocated towards an instrument like guitar can be seen as a disadvantage to playing it.

There are other instruments that take far less time to reach a moderate level of proficiency. Instruments like the harmonica and many horned instruments. This time-allocation needed can take away time that you may need for other hobbies or tasks.

To summarize, because of the complexity and muscle memory needed to play guitar at a moderate level, the time allocation needed is a disadvantage to the instrument.

3. Bad Posture Development

As mentioned previously above, a disadvantage to playing guitar is the development of bad posture and the underlying musculoskeletal issues that can arise from this.

When first learning to play the guitar, we will often sit down hunched over the body of the guitar staring at our fingers as we learn how to create chord voicings. The repetitive process of doing this everyday can take a toll on your back and on your shoulders. Unfortunately, this is difficult to circumvent as a new guitarist needs to look at their fingers which is difficult to do with proper posture.

It isn’t until a guitarist learns how to play guitar standing up that this posture issue resolves.

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