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  #16  
Old 01-21-2022, 08:21 AM
Golffishny Golffishny is offline
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I had the death grip when I was younger. Now I intentionally practice finding the least tension I can use to get a clean sound.
I reminds me of early spring and golfing. I usually go to a range and get a bucket of balls. After half of a bucket of death grip my hands get sore. Then I lighten my grip and swing easier and start hitting good shots again.
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  #17  
Old 01-21-2022, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by wguitar View Post
…I wanted to share and was wondering if others have had similar experiences. Also, got me wondering if pressing too hard is a common thing, and techniques folks have used to soften their playing touch.

Happy strumming my friends !
Hi wg…

I taught fingerstyle for 40 years, and often when students improved significantly it was time to work on not over-pressing, relaxing the fretting hand, elevating the headstock while playing, proper setups etc - all of which work together in a package to improve sound/tone, and playing flexibility.

They practiced simple and very repetitious exercises done daily and kept up till the magic happens. These were scales and etudes, arpeggios which they already knew how to do.

I taught all my students first position scales (2 octaves) in keys of E-A-D-G-C-F and we started with quarter notes and built up to 16th notes (at tempo) using hammer ons and pull offs as we built speed.

We also learned a few basic etudes based on arpeggios.

These were what we reverted to as they began to learn to relax. And I had them practice them daily for 15 minutes or each exercise repeated at tempo 10 times without a mistake (make a mistake and start over). Within weeks they were adjusting their touch, and better intonation and fluidity appeared.

But before any of that the guitars had to have a proper setup (we have a local guy who does good setups reasonably). In a couple cases where money was tight, I suspended lessons for a couple weeks (they bought them in packages of 4) so they could apply the money to a setup.

Without a setup which supports easy pressing of strings, there is no learning to lighten up the touch.

Good luck as you pursue this goal…




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  #18  
Old 01-21-2022, 02:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ljguitar View Post
Hi wg…

I taught fingerstyle for 40 years, and often when students improved significantly it was time to work on not over-pressing, relaxing the fretting hand, elevating the headstock while playing, proper setups etc - all of which work together in a package to improve sound/tone, and playing flexibility.



Thank you for this insight! I do hope I can find a teacher like this and have time for the lessons and practice
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  #19  
Old 01-21-2022, 02:37 PM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is offline
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Yes. I was that soldier!
I went from a casual noodling to playing rhythm in bluegrass bands and it took me some while to realise tat the energy put into the picking hand should NOT be the same in the fretting hand.

I actually taught this to myself playing slide/bottleneck.

Put the notes down as lightly as possible (adding speed) but the power/volume with the picking hand.
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  #20  
Old 05-10-2022, 12:19 PM
Retired1 Retired1 is offline
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learning a new tune is where, as others have mentioned, I press harder than needed. If I play at a lower volume I tend to not press as hard.
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  #21  
Old 05-10-2022, 12:55 PM
reeve21 reeve21 is offline
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Here is a guy who never puts his thumb behind the neck! He has gravity in his favor, but still he does not appear to be pushing down very hard.

Rory starts to play about one minute in.....

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  #22  
Old 05-10-2022, 01:02 PM
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Common topic. Even composed a guitar piece "Pinky Bee" about it which if can get through you are doing ok with barre pressure.

Often number one thing is a good guitar action setup beginning at the fretboard nut and then all the way up.

When playing the amount of pressure needed to play cleanly is highly dynamic. Not constant pressure. Lighten up where possible saving more energy to use where needed.

Play around with different fingering and chords to see how light you can go without getting buzzes or muted notes. That can be your relaxed hand boundary for those fingerings and chords.

Like Bob Womack mentioned fret height makes a difference. I find taller frets
easier to play cleanly and if you do over press you will get note sharpening feedback that you are doing so.
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  #23  
Old 05-10-2022, 01:14 PM
Bushleague Bushleague is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wguitar View Post
Hi Folks,

Been playing guitar (amateur) for many years and recently stumbled into the realization that I have been pressing too hard when fretting chords (especially barre chords). With the normal aches and pains of age I am always seeking to alter my playing techniques to minimize strain on my hands, wrist, fingers and thumb. Reduced gauge strings help, but often with corresponding tonal changes. Similarly, experimenting with different string brands and materials, round cores, etc. makes a difference. But simply altering how much pressure I apply when fretting seems to allow me to use all kinds of strings, without sacrificing the tones I prefer. And I love my barre chords (especially those major 7th's)

Anyway, I wanted to share and was wondering if others have had similar experiences. Also, got me wondering if pressing too hard is a common thing, and techniques folks have used to soften their playing touch.

Happy strumming my friends !
Sounds dumb, but try playing lighter/ more relaxed with your left hand. I habitually fret stuff pretty hard, but I also pick and strum prett hard. I've noticed that when playing quieter with my picking hand, my fretting hand also tends to naturally also be more relaxed. Been just working on playing quiet and relaxed for a month now and am making headway.
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  #24  
Old 05-16-2022, 06:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gordon Currie View Post
Just like jafranks, I use the difference between electric and acoustic to 'calibrate' my touch.

Setting up all my guitars properly had a huge impact. In earlier years, I bought into the myth that one cannot get 'the tone' without high action and heavier strings.

Once I got past that nonsense, I realized that my goal was to spend the minimum effort to both fret and pick. I stopped fighting with the guitar and instead feel like it is an extension of my body.
exactly the right approach!
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  #25  
Old 05-21-2022, 04:34 PM
rokdog49 rokdog49 is offline
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I do some bends on my acoustics. In that instance a light touch won’t get it done.
The truth is there is a fine line between pressing too hard and not hard enough.
Your guitar’s setup is a huge factor as is the scale, the strings you use, the type of neck and all that.
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  #26  
Old 05-22-2022, 02:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wguitar View Post
Hi Folks,

Been playing guitar (amateur) for many years and recently stumbled into the realization that I have been pressing too hard when fretting chords (especially barre chords). With the normal aches and pains of age I am always seeking to alter my playing techniques to minimize strain on my hands, wrist, fingers and thumb. Reduced gauge strings help, but often with corresponding tonal changes. Similarly, experimenting with different string brands and materials, round cores, etc. makes a difference. But simply altering how much pressure I apply when fretting seems to allow me to use all kinds of strings, without sacrificing the tones I prefer. And I love my barre chords (especially those major 7th's)

Anyway, I wanted to share and was wondering if others have had similar experiences. Also, got me wondering if pressing too hard is a common thing, and techniques folks have used to soften their playing touch.

Happy strumming my friends !
How do you know you are pressing too hard? Just aches and pains? There is a range of what is normal pressure. Are notes going sharper than when you consciously play with extra light touch.
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"Reality is that which when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away."

Woods hands pick by eye and ear
Made to one with pride and love
To be that we hold so dear
A voice from heavens above
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