Using Optimal Fretting Hand Pressure

Most players who have not analysed their fretting hand pressure tend to use more pressure than necessary. This is mainly because they are unaware of exactly how little pressure is needed in order to make a note ring out, and sound great. This optimum pressure should be applied to both chords and individual notes. Excessive pressure puts you at risk of making the note go sharp and you may risk injuring your fretting hand in the long run. Besides that, using extra pressure will not allow your fretting hand to be relaxed and as a result, you will not be able to play longer lead lines and higher tempos.

The first thing you need to do before analysing your fretting hand pressure is to make sure you are fretting as close to the fretwire as possible without actually touching the fretwire. The only exception to this is if you have more than one note on the same fret. In this case, some fingers might need to fret slightly further away from the fretwire.

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The first thing you need to do before analysing your fretting hand pressure is to make sure you are fretting as close to the fretwire as possible without actually touching the fretwire. The only exception to this is if you have more than one note on the same fret. In this case, some fingers might need to fret slightly further away from the fretwire.

 

Now, pick any single note and fret using the usual amount of pressure you would normally use. Keep picking that note with your picking hand. As you continue to pick that note, gradually reduce the amount of pressure you are using to hold down the note with your fretting hand. Pay close attention to the tone of that note as you are reducing the pressure in your fretting hand. You will notice that the tone of the note would reach a point where it no longer rings out. The note should sound muted. Now, at this point, gradually reintroduce the pressure on that note until it begins to ring out again. The amount of pressure you use at the very moment the note rings out again is the optimum amount of pressure you need. Anything more than that is wasted energy. You will notice that the quality of the note at this point sounds much better and clearer. Take a mental snapshot of how it feels to fret that note using optimum pressure and try as much as you can to use the same or around the same pressure each time you fret a note. You will want to replicate this process across all strings using all fingers up and down the neck.

 

Use this optimum amount of pressure each time you play notes and chords. This does not apply to bending and vibrato since you would generally need slightly more pressure to pull off those techniques.

 

Learning to play guitar on your own can be frustrating and challenging, especially if you don’t know what to do. Having a great teacher makes the whole process more fun, enjoyable and gets you real results fast.

 

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