#1
Hey guys,
i just can't stop doing it!!!
I play since almost two years now and i press the strings too hard with my fretting hand (left hand).. After like 30 minutes of playing the pain starts and i have to take a break

I've tried fretting smoothly and soft, but i just can't! especially while improvising.. i'm too much "in to it" that i can't think about fretting softly anymore...

what do you think? do you press hardly too or is it just me?

P.S: sorry for bad english......
Give your self the time to be a Beginner... because no one started as a Professional.
Last edited by Murad_Alm at Feb 15, 2017,
#5
Quote by PSimonR
For one hour every day, practice very slowly playing with just enough pressure on the left hand to make the note - and maybe this will fix it.


when i try to press softly it just don't work
Give your self the time to be a Beginner... because no one started as a Professional.
#6
Quote by jerrykramskoy
PSimonR +1. You will be very unlikely to get to any speed (if that's what you want?) with too much force being used. The guitar doesn't need it, unless the action can be limbo'ed under, or you use piano strings. Relax. Especially mentally.


Nice advice!
Thank you!
Give your self the time to be a Beginner... because no one started as a Professional.
#7
Just touch a string with your index finger (or any other...) and produce sound with pick. Than gradually apply more and more pressure until you get proper sound. You will be surprised how little pressure it takes to produce sound. Once you convince yourself that you don't have to press hard it will become natural to press lightly instead of hard
#8
Lots of good advice here, especially atza. You might check your set up, make sure that a soft touch will do the job.

What kinds of music are you playing?

Are you playing solos or chords or both?

Something you should learn to do when you're "into it" is to learn to pipe that need to express yourself physically to another part of your body. Sound weird? Watch Angus Young play guitar. Watch how he pumps his leg.

#9
GoldJim
Quote by GoldJim
Lots of good advice here, especially atza. You might check your set up, make sure that a soft touch will do the job.

What kinds of music are you playing?

Are you playing solos or chords or both?

Something you should learn to do when you're "into it" is to learn to pipe that need to express yourself physically to another part of your body. Sound weird? Watch Angus Young play guitar. Watch how he pumps his leg.



thanks for your advice!
i play Heavy Metal, Rock and some Blues...
and i press hard when soloing AND rythm playing "Chords" ...

I hope i can change that somehow, cuz it's not a joke to have have such a pain after 30 minutes of playing >_<
Give your self the time to be a Beginner... because no one started as a Professional.
#10
Quote by Murad_Alm
Hey guys,
i just can't stop doing it!!!
I play since almost two years now and i press the strings too hard with my fretting hand (left hand).. After like 30 minutes of playing the pain starts and i have to take a break

I've tried fretting smoothly and soft, but i just can't! especially while improvising.. i'm too much "in to it" that i can't think about fretting softly anymore...

what do you think? do you press hardly too or is it just me?

P.S: sorry for bad english......


You need to find a way.
One of the important things about being a musician is controlling your emotion so that it doesn't interfere with your execution or techniques.
You really want the audience to feel the emotion, and you need to maintain deep clear focus in order to present them your very best playing.
Quote by reverb66
I'm pretty sure the Bible requires that you play through a tube amp in Texas.
#12
You gotta start slow. Find the point at which the string makes the desired sound and make sure never to press harder. Just practice stuff really slowly that way and you'll get the right touch after a while.
#13
Murad,

I suffered like you and doubly so on acoustic (ended up with RSI) until I realized that all I needed to do was let the weight of my arm push my fingers into the frets. Create a chord, say G major, and just rest your fingers on the strings as if muting, don't push them down. Now, instead of pushing down, relax the muscles in your arm. You should notice that when you do this, your elbow wants to swing back which in turn pushes your fingers into the fretboard. This is amazing because now you've fretted your G chord without using any more muscle power (in fact you are using less cus you just relaxed your arm).

To check you are doing it right you should be able to play without your thumb touching the back of the neck - so it almost feels like you are pulling the guitar neck back towards you rather than squeezing it between the thumb and fingers.

Granted, this isn't totally necessary on electric due to the light strings and low action, but this is proper technique and something classical guitarists must do. The idea though is to help you realize that you don't need all that much pressure.

I hope I explained it right.
Last edited by gweddle.nz at Feb 20, 2017,
#14
Trills.

Practicing trills (hammer on/pull offs) really helped me with the correct pressure when playing single notes, it also helped me develop finger independence and speed. I still had trouble wanting to strangle the neck when playing barre chords and the muscle in my hand between my thumb and index finger would cramp up hard, but that eventually went away with more practice, relaxing more when I played and learning/practicing different chord shapes. Another thing that helped me with developing a lighter touch when playing was the Rocksmith game, but I get that's not for everyone.
#15
gweddle.nz
Quote by gweddle.nz

I hope I explained it right.


You really did... many thanks!
Give your self the time to be a Beginner... because no one started as a Professional.
#16
spacepizza125
Quote by spacepizza125
Trills.

Practicing trills (hammer on/pull offs) really helped me with the correct pressure when playing single notes, it also helped me develop finger independence and speed. I still had trouble wanting to strangle the neck when playing barre chords and the muscle in my hand between my thumb and index finger would cramp up hard, but that eventually went away with more practice, relaxing more when I played and learning/practicing different chord shapes. Another thing that helped me with developing a lighter touch when playing was the Rocksmith game, but I get that's not for everyone.


Hmmmm nice tip!

BTW, i wanted to buy the game.. would you recommend it??
Give your self the time to be a Beginner... because no one started as a Professional.
#17
Quote by Murad_Alm

Hmmmm nice tip!

BTW, i wanted to buy the game.. would you recommend it??


I'd recommend it just as another practice tool. It's still just a game, even though it does have lessons and stuff, and it won't teach you everything, but it's a good tool for practice. My favourite parts of it are the minigames (which help you to practice techniques and scale/chord patterns) and the Session Mode which gives you a backing band of your design to jam/improvise over, while providing a visual chart of suggested scales and patterns to use to help you out. The "leaderboard challenges" are also a cool feature to help motivate you to play games and songs and try to beat the scores of other players out there.
Again, it's just another tool in the guitar-toolbox, but it's a fun way to blow off some steam and play guitar while doing it. I find myself gravitating toward it when I don't necessarily feel like playing guitar at that particular moment, maybe I want to play some games or something, this gives me both and is a fun distraction. If you use Steam it even goes on sale sometimes, plus they have a lot of DLC (over $3000 worth last time I checked, you don't need to buy them though, the game comes with a bunch of songs, and you only buy the ones you want) and fan-made DLCs (check customforge.net) for songs that the game doesn't have.
#18
As someone who let this problem go so long I ended up needing surgery on my left hand and couldn't play for years as a result, you need to stop what you're doing and address this problem right now if you want to keep playing guitar in the long term.

You can't approach the instrument as a quick fix method for expressing yourself if you "have" to play it in a way that destroys your body. There's usually 2 external factors that influence the way a guitar is played from a biomechanical perspective and the rest are all internal; the external ones are easy to fix, and they're 1) your posture when playing and/or how high or low you sling your guitar on your strap, 2) the setup and playability of the actual instrument.

You have to play with the guitar high enough that you don't put any unnecessary bend in your wrist - contracting the muscles responsible for clenching your fingers while the wrist is in flexion puts a ton of stress on the ligaments designed to hold your muscular tendons in place, and will cause you all sorts of problems if you do it enough. You'll notice that many techniques are simply impossible to play with the guitar slung low, which is why you'll see rock/metal guys prop it up on their leg with a foot on a stage monitor for solos, etc. There are a bunch of other techniques that you can get away with when the guitar is slung low but will eventually give you carpal tunnel, trigger finger, and tendinitis. So start by slinging your guitar higher, high enough so that when you are fretting notes near the 12th fret your wrist is straight, not bent at all. This doesn't look "metal" but if you want to play guitar for the next 3 to 5 decades you need to change what you're doing.

The second external is the guitar set up - what gauge strings are you playing, and how high is the action? Can you play with a lighter gauge and lower the action? That will make the guitar much easier to play and will reduce the amount of force needed to fret the strings. Also, switching to a lighter gauge can help you lighten up your technique by giving you a lighter tactile response as you play; if you squeeze that hard on light strings you'll start to push them around and out of tune, which can help as a learning tool to lighten up your grip.

The internal factors are up to you to practice. You must, must, must take the time to practice slowly, completely relaxed, and in control so that you can execute without your emotions taking over and losing control of your body. This is a difficult balance to strike as a musician because the music will make you want to "surrender control" to it, and let your body start expressing itself in ways that will cause pain now, injury later, and permanent debilitation if you keep it up.

I don't mean to sound all doom and gloom but I literally lost 3-4 years to surgery and post-operative therapy, so if you want to avoid that, listen up and take the time to iron out these issues now, before it's too late.
#19
fingerstyle, that will slow you down a bit but why? Just get used to it, is it messing up your sound?
#21
lumberjack

Everything you said is exactly right. Pain is your body telling you there is something wrong. All too often I hear people say "play through the pain, it will get easier". Terrible advice. Play in a way you don't feel pain! There will be something you are doing that's causing your body to suffer.
#22
lumberjack
i appreciate your advice!
thanks for the time you took to write me this reply... i'll try to do that!

Rock on my friend!
Give your self the time to be a Beginner... because no one started as a Professional.
#23
Murad_Alm It might be your action like someone said. If you need to press really hard maybe your truss rod or saddles and nut are not well adjusted and your strings are too far from the neck. I had this problem with my acoustic guitar and it was a totally different guitar once I fixed this.
#24
BillDemote I had a similar thought. Are the strings high off your neck? If they're closer to the neck, it might encourage less force by nature.
Try adding more delay.
#26
Quote by gweddle.nz
lumberjack

Everything you said is exactly right. Pain is your body telling you there is something wrong. All too often I hear people say "play through the pain, it will get easier". Terrible advice. Play in a way you don't feel pain! There will be something you are doing that's causing your body to suffer.


While I think this applies to the question OP has, 'playing through pain' doesn't always have to be terrible advice. If you're training to be a professional sportsman, there's many time when you need to break your own barriers of pain in order to get better.

However this does not apply to something like fretting note with your left hand. You don't need any pressure whatsoever to produce sound; just the bare minimum. Always use as little force as needed to get the sound out of the guitar. Don't tense up your left hand and just lightly push down your fingers on the strings.
I do not want to have a signature anymore.
#27
Quote by RDSElite
While I think this applies to the question OP has, 'playing through pain' doesn't always have to be terrible advice. If you're training to be a professional sportsman, there's many time when you need to break your own barriers of pain in order to get better.


We are talking about playing guitar here though. Which should never hurt, other than when you first start and you haven't built up any calluses.
#28
Murad_Alm Hey, it takes a while to develop the strength in your hand. The main thing is to make sure your fingers are as close the frets as possible. This will give you the best sound for as little pressure as required. For chords it's a bit harder, but again make sure if you're doing a bar chord, that your index finger (the finger that bars the frets) is up as close to the fret as possible. Happy to work on this with you if you like. Send me a message at jamie-jamieson.com.

Cheers,
Jamie
#29
Does anyone have the case where their fingers feel fine at first, then the strings start to dig into your fingertips, you get string-shaped "holes" in your fingertips into which the strings enter and you have to keep pressing harder and harder to play the proper note on the fret, and which only makes the holes deeper. Even when I try to make sure I start playing by touch the frets lightly, it still happens eventually. That's usually the only reason why I press the strings too hard, dunno if that's just the general case. 
#30
Quote by Pkmm
Does anyone have the case where their fingers feel fine at first, then the strings start to dig into your fingertips, you get string-shaped "holes" in your fingertips into which the strings enter and you have to keep pressing harder and harder to play the proper note on the fret, and which only makes the holes deeper. Even when I try to make sure I start playing by touch the frets lightly, it still happens eventually. That's usually the only reason why I press the strings too hard, dunno if that's just the general case. 

Yes, but it's usually a result of too much tension/pressure. Usually because I'm concentrating on some right hand technique and holding a particular chord (or playing through the same few chords) for a long time. If I'm playing a full song my fingers are often moving enough that I don't let tension settle in and deep grooves don't have time to form.

Sometimes I slip into bad habits, especially on older songs that I played for a long time with bad technique. It still requires some conscious attention from me at times. Otherwise my wrist/forearm starts to hurt again (RSI) and then I know I've been playing too hard.
Last edited by gweddle.nz at Apr 24, 2017,