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Old 12-04-09, 06:16 PM   #1
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How hard is too hard...

...when pressing down on guitar strings?

I just started taking guitar lessons this week, and am glad I did so. The lesson and homework have been fun and challenging. The teacher said it looked like I was holding my left hand correctly and my fingers were coming in toward the neck and strings at about 90 degrees. Overall, he said my form was quite good and that I shouldn't have any trouble learning as long as I make the effort and practice.

My concern is pressing down on the strings. It may be too early to be concerned about this, but it seems like the amount of pressure I'm using to press down on the strings may be enough to slow down my chord changes.

For those seasoned players out there, should the tips of my fingers be turning white, or am I pressing down too hard on the neck and strings?

Thank you,
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Old 12-04-09, 11:31 PM   #2
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I think pressing harder than you have to just makes your fingers get tired faster. Start with one finger just touching the string and gradually increase pressure while picking the string. When you get a clear sound, thats hard enough. Any harder and you start to bend the string, which raises the pitch. You can do the same with chords, just put one finger down at a time, then another.

If you're practicing finger exercises, I will suggest that you work on not pulling your fingers very far away from the strings. Lets say you're alternating between 5th and 7th fret with your index and ring finger. Don't lift your ring finger much higher than you need to. The further away you pull it, the more distance you have to move it back to re-fret the note. Its no big deal at slow speeds, but the wasted motion is noticable when you try to play faster.
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Old 12-05-09, 12:05 AM   #3
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definitely sounds like you are not only playing a bit too hard but maybe over thinking it. I'd suggest approaching playing gtr like the physical activity it is, and warm up very slowly. if you do gentle exercises or scales first, you should have a lot more finger strength and dexterity afterward.

There is another post in foo right now about string action; you could try lowering that or going to a slightly lighter string gauge until you build up strength and get more playing time under your belt.

Congrats on taking the plunge - have fun!
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Old 12-05-09, 07:52 PM   #4
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I played bass when I was younger. I don't think you are pressing down too hard but you are still starting out so expect to be a bit slow til your fingers get stronger and you'll get faster eventually.
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Old 12-05-09, 08:11 PM   #5
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WTH is wrong with Foo? This thread has been out here for over 24 hours and it is still on topic!!!!!!!!!! ...

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Old 12-05-09, 08:33 PM   #6
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It will all come with time. Keep practicing.

I'm the guy on bass.
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Old 12-05-09, 08:53 PM   #7
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Finger placement relative to the fret is everything. The further away you get, the greater the required pressure is for clean notes. Practice, practice, practice.
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