As any guitarist will tell you, playing in a live band will definitely test your stamina in ways you never would expect. It’s really hard to build the type of endurance you will need to be able to play an entire live gig when you don’t play out a lot. You can practice on your instrument of course but it’s hard to practice for 3 hours to simulate the live show experience. Even if you do play regularly it’s a good idea to have some tools to help you build your finger strength and stamina. Years ago I bought a Gripmaster Exercise Tool finger exerciser and I have used it to help stay in playing shape over the years. I have recommended this product to many of my students as well to help them build up their finger muscles.
The way the Gripmaster works is by providing resistance to each of your four fretting fingers with four spring loaded buttons. You hold the Gripmaster in the palm of your hand and each finger has it’s own button to press down. You then press each button down with the tips of your fingers the same way you would press strings down on your guitar. The four individual buttons ensure that you are building each of your fingers equally. The top of each button is slightly rough with a tread pattern that will also help you build up your finger calluses. The Gripmaster is a very handy way to build up your finger strength because you can easily take the Gripmaster wherever you go.
I do need to give you a word of warning when using the Gripmaster Finger Exercise tool. It’s very easy to injure yourself if you overdo it with a Gripmaster. When you first get one you will want to use it all the time to build up your hand strength but you need to be careful. You need to be aware of how your fingers are feeling at all times when you’re using this device. If you feel any pain at all you need to back off and let your fingers rest. Make sure you let your fingers rest for a day or two if you feel them getting sore. There is always the danger of getting repetitive stress syndrome if you overdo it. That’s why I always tell guitarists to start with the Extra Light Tension Gripmaster before moving up to the Light and Medium tension models. Your pinkie finger will respond better when using the Extra Light tension to begin with. In fact your pinkie finger is the finger you want to guage your strength with since it is your weakest finger. After you can successfully press down the pinkie button on the Extra Light Tension Gripmaster then move up to the next tension.
If you use the Gripmaster carefully then it will pay off big time in increased finger strength. Increased finger strength will allow you to play faster and you’ll be able to endure longer playing sessions.