B.C. Marks

About B.C. Marks

Byron has been playing guitar since 1988 and within 15 months, he was playing live shows with his first band. Since then he has continued to perform with various cover and original bands in the Manchester, NH and Boston, MA areas. In 2013, Byron was asked to contribute one of his original songs to an instrumental guitar compilation cd Guitar Feast, featuring several independent musicians which has been released worldwide.

In the summer of 2016, Byron opened up his own music school in Manchester, New Hampshire. Byron is an extremely passionate and driven teacher who wants to help his students succeed and become the guitar players that they’ve dreamed of being. He understands the obstacles that come with learning how to play guitar and he also knows how to help students get past those obstacles and reach their goals.

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Make Playing Guitar Easier For Yourself

When you first start playing chords on guitar, they can seem so intimidating and hard to play. Many guitar students have a hard time playing or practicing their chords for a lengthy period of time. Today, we are going to talk about one solution that is going to help you and the good news is that you can practice it right away.

One of the contributing factors to your fret hand tiring so quickly is that you are using too much pressure to actually fret the notes. You can significantly reduce the amount of pressure that you are using and still fret notes cleanly and perfectly.

Try this first:

Place your index finger on any string and fret on your guitar but do not press down hard enough to sound a note, just place the index finger on the string without pressing down at all and pick the note. You will notice that you are now making a muted sound on the guitar (no actual note produced, just a muffled or muted sound). The next step is to press down a little bit more on the string, not a lot more, just a little. If there still wasn't a note being sounded then press down a little bit more. The key is to find the point at which you are still pressing down lightly but a note sounds and sustains cleanly. If there are any buzzing sounds coming from your guitar, you need to press down a little more. Once you have a note that rings out cleanly and fades out on its own, you have found the perfect amount of pressure that you need to play notes/chords on your guitar.

Practice this today, and do it using all of the fingers on your fretting hand. You will notice that it doesn't take as much pressure as you thought to sounds notes on your guitar and what is even cooler is that the amount of pressure you need to play notes on your guitar is the same, regardless of the string or fret.

You can also try this same thing by pressing down on a note on your guitar the same way you usually do and using less and less pressure until there is no longer a note ringing. This will show you how much excess pressure you were using on the fretboard.

Using less pressure will make playing guitar much easier and more enjoyable for you. Like anything, it will take time and practice to get this to be automatic for you but start using it during your practice today. You will immediately see that you have made playing guitar a little easier for yourself and that you will be able to play for longer by doing this.

Happy Practicing,

Byron Marks

Mary Roberts Music Academy

19 Feb 2017 11:36:13 @pauljones:
I remember figuring this out by accident when playing bass; I was playing the fast-paced section of Led Zeppelin's Dazed and Confused, and I was having a hard time keeping up with the tempo. So I remember thinking that maybe the left hand should not be pressing the frets that hard, and I decided to control the attack and intensity with the right hand instead. The next time I played the line my left hand was not pressing the frets too hard and I was able to go throughout the whole thing smoothly and with a good tempo. I've been advising my students this ever since, the only tricky part is too learn to separate your hands in terms of pressure. Excellent tips Byron!
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Byron Marks
21 Feb 2017 22:40:06 @bc-marks:
Completely agree with you Paul. It is a very overlooked aspect of making your guitar playing easier and having better control over the guitar. Thanks Paul!
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26 Feb 2017 05:19:05 @pauljones:
You're welcome! I'm looking forward to another article :)
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Savo Kostic
25 Feb 2017 14:09:43 @savo-kostic:
Amazing tips Byron, thank you. What type of strings you suggest for users to use? I have acoustic guitar with size 11 strings, and, honestly - I can not play longer then 30 minutes because my fingers (on my left hand) start killing me. I already have wounds on my middle fingers. Thanks!
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