B.C. Marks
  • Followers 3
  • Following 3
  • Updates 0

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

PaulJones9
@pauljones   10 months ago
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!
Byron Marks
@bc-marks   10 months ago
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!
PaulJones9
@pauljones   10 months ago
You're welcome! I'm looking forward to another article :)
Savo Kostic
@savo-kostic   10 months ago
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!
Byron Marks
@bc-marks   10 months ago
Light or medium gauge strings should be perfectly fine on your acoustic. The reason you are having fatigue in your fretting hand comes from pressing down too hard while you are playing. Practice playing by easing up on the amount of pressure you use in your fretting hand. Press down hard enough for the note to ring out and decay on its own and no harder than that.
Savo Kostic
@savo-kostic   10 months ago
Thank you on your replay. This is the way how am I practicing a pressure, but its kind of difficult to achieve it when you try to play faster. :)
Byron Marks
@bc-marks   9 months ago
That is likely because you are doing it too soon. You have to get used to playing this way first, practice it consistently and in time it will become natural to you. At that point, it will be very easy to play fast.
Savo Kostic
@savo-kostic   9 months ago
Thank you, I truly hope that I will get in the stadium you are talking about :) Regards
Flekador
@fl3k   10 months ago
Very nice tips, I'll start applying them from now! I think the pressure excess is something we all have done sometimes. I have a Takamine dreanough body guitar which is extremely hard to play, its body is quite big and switching to a lighter string gauge doesn't work with it, as it loses a lot of its resonance. Anything below 0.11 doesn't work well with that guitar so, after 25-30 minutes playing it, my left hand gets quite tired. Revising your tips I observed I was making a huge pressure with my left hand, to avoid string buzzing sounds. I think I will have to re-adapt my playing with that guitar, or sell the Takamine and get another one.

Do you thing a device like the gripmaster would be of help with this?
I found the NSD Powerball quite helpful, to exercise your hands and get them stronger!

Thanks for the article and... keep them coming!
Byron Marks
@bc-marks   10 months ago
I've never found the gripmaster to be helpful. I'm not saying that it doesn't work but it didn't work for me. Keep working on using less pressure when you press down on the fretboard and also try taking your guitar in to a local shop to have it set up properly.
Flekador
@fl3k   9 months ago
Ok, maybe I should take it to a luthier to revise it but I've heard Takamine guitars are quite hard to play and require a strong hand. Anyway, thanks for your advice!