I'm a big guy with big, stupid hands. I am constantly pressing too hard on the strings, bending notes and decreasing the ability to play at higher speeds. This is my question: Simply put, what are some exercises for both right and left hand that I can practice so that I'm not beating the guitar with my big, stupid hands.
Have you considered raising the action of your guitar? It would increase the distance between the strings and the fingerboard, forcing you to press harder to the correct note. Since you're pressing forcefully to begin with, it could work in your favor.

As for specific exercises, I'm not of any help.
for your picking hand practice varying your dynamics start playing really softly almost silently and then slowly playing louder and louder it will hekp many parts of your playing not just the beating of the guitar

for your fretting hand i have my students do a few exersises one is playing staccato which is the opposite of legato meaning you play a note and cut it off almost immediately try practicing scales or riffs or whatever legato adn staccato
another is i have them fret a note and slowly remove pressure until the note doesnt ring anymore and then just barely making the note ring out you will see that you dont need that much strentght to play the guitar i have them do this on several different places on the neck and practice using ujst that amount of force to do some exerssies

you might also benefit from using heavier strings if you are constantly bending the string otu of tune i use 13s on my acoustics and 11 and 12s on most of my electric guitars but you also mentions it stops you from playing faster which shuoldnt be the case if youre just using too much force and it also seems possible youre getting tense while playing try focusing on relaxing your playing and practice slowly and deliberately
Last edited by supersac at Sep 26, 2014,
play exercises that are long, like practicing scales up and down the neck (diatonic, chromatic, whatever), going all the way up in one position then shifting up one fret and going all the way back down that position. you can often fool yourself into thinking that you've learned how to play something, when you're actually playing in a way that is not sustainable over long periods of time, and that is bad practicing. with long, uninterrupted drills, your tiredness will make you unable to play them successfully and you will be forced to reevaluate your technique.
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I had a buddy with a similar problem. He would just hold the strings down too hard and bend them out of tune. Some thicker strings did wonders.
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Work on your dynamics, for a start. Basically, learn to control your playing so that you can play both very softly and also dig in when it is necessary.

I'd suggest practicing this by playing a very sensitive setup. Playing a stock Telecaster with a tamed down amount of gain is how I developed this ability. What happens is that if I pick very softly, the tone can almost pass for a somewhat clean tone, and when I dig in I can reach hard rock/metal distortion levels with some effort.

The absolute worst possible way to play is to have really high gain. All dynamics basically disappear, so you will not notice the difference between dynamics in your picking.
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