Saturday, 17 August 2013

Confession #30 - Lose the Death Grip!

Did you ever notice how much finger pressure you use when playing something your familiar and comfortable with and how much you use when learning something new or playing something difficult?  Once I started paying attention, I noticed that I used a lighter touch for the familiar and a heavy handed touch for the unfamiliar and difficult.

Lose the Death Grip!

Your guitar should be treated with the same gentle touch as you would use with your lover.  It should not be treated like it is the victim of a serial strangler in a thriller movie.

Using too much finger pressure works against you in a couple of ways.

One, pressing harder actually stretches the string a bit and changes the pitch of the fretted note slightly.  The effect is more noticeable if you've got tall frets or a scalloped fretboard.

Two, pressing too hard causes more tension in the muscles and tendons of the neighboring fingers which reduces the independence of those neighboring fingers. With less independence you're more likely to have trouble fretting notes with your other fingers.  In a nutshell, pressing too hard actually makes it harder to learn that new lick.

There are times when a lot of pressure is needed, like when your are fretting a root 6 F barre chord (see Confession #11 - Learn Root 6 Barre Chords! ).  But the general rule is that you should use as light a touch as is necessary to fret the note cleanly.

Pay attention to your finger pressure and see if you are maybe using too much.

Next Week's Confession - Play in a Band!

No comments:

Post a Comment