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  • MichaelHorowitz 3:27PM
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PompierPompier MarylandNew Cigano GJ-15
A few weeks ago my wife pointed out that I was breathing noisily while playing guitar, and I realized that I was starting to get a bit light-headed after a stretch of rhythm playing. Since then I started paying attention to my breathing and managed to eliminate the most obvious problems, but I'm still having trouble maintaining a normal breathing pattern while playing rhythm, particularly when concentrating on getting a good bounce. It's not due to simple physical exertion, as I don't believe my heart rate is going up significantly while I'm playing, and it's not something obvious like taking a new breath with each chord change. It's more along the lines of pulling in or expelling air more quickly than needed, or stopping the inhalation or exhalation too short. It's hard to consciously imitate normal relaxed breathing even in general, and it's especially hard to do while playing. I wonder if others have experience dealing with this.


  • BonesBones Moderator
    Sounds like too much tension??? Try to play relaxed maybe?
  • PompierPompier MarylandNew Cigano GJ-15
    I think I'm pretty relaxed physically and my motions are about as economical as my skill level allows. It's just that my breathing gets sort of coopted. Perhaps I should try to be more relaxed mentally, focusing on getting the rhythm right less intensely and building up motion automatism.
  • ChiefbigeasyChiefbigeasy New Orleans, LA✭✭✭ Alves de Puga DR670; Dupont MDC 50; The Loar LH600
    Light headed implies lack of oxygen. The other way you get dizzy is hyperventilating. Glad to hear you’ve got a handle on this, but can’t say I’ve ever heard of this.
  • PompierPompier MarylandNew Cigano GJ-15
    Yep, there was a bit of hyperventilation. I was taking breaths more frequently than I needed to.
  • It doesn't sound all that unusual. If you listen to any recording of Tchavolo, you can hear his breathing has a very interrupted patterns.
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • altonalton Keene, NH✭✭ 2000 Dell'Arte Long Scale Anouman, Gadjo Modele Francais, Gitane DG-330 John Jorgensen Tuxedo
    Funny that you brought this up, here's an observation that I once had about breathing while playing:

    Back in my days of gettin' my metal on, I noticed that when I would play very difficult passages that required a lot of endurance (mainly chugging uptempo riffs that require rapid and even palm muted downstrokes), I wasn't breathing very deeply. Sometimes I would feel like I would just run out of gas. Of course, I was also headbanging and jumping around like an animal. And all of those dingy dive rock clubs were always hot and humid. And oh, the amount of adult beverages consumed on those gigs!

    Anyway, once I started paying attention to my breathing and took nice long controlled breaths, I found that I could make it through these parts with less difficulty. Was it that my muscles were getting oxygen rich blood? Or was it that I was simply just more relaxed? I don't know, but it absolutely made a difference.
  • Was just gonna mention Tchavalo, @Buco. When I first heard it, I thought it was distortion in recording or something.
  • ScoredogScoredog Santa Barbara, Ca✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2018
    "A few weeks ago my wife pointed out that I was breathing noisily while playing guitar, and I realized that I was starting to get a bit light-headed after a stretch of rhythm playing"

    You say this like it is a bad thing...:)
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