The physicality of playing gypsy jazz rhythm guitar

We went on a week’s holiday recently. Usually I don’t take a guitar because part of the holiday experience is to forget about the things we do all the rest of the year, this time I had to take one because I had a gig four days after we returned and I needed to keep in shape.

This got me thinking about the physical nature of playing gypsy jazz rhythm guitar. In a usual gig we will play at least 12 tunes. Each tune is generally 32 bars long and we play the form around 8 times a tune with solos. Each bar has four beats (except for waltzes of course). If you add all that up it gives about 12,500 beats in a gig! so a rhythm guitarist is tensing and releasing his fretting fingers 12,500 times and playing around 15,000 plectrum strokes with the other hand (because there are at least a couple of upstrokes a bar). The only way to prepare for that sort of feat is to put in a lot of regular practice before the gig!

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