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Old December 5th, 2012, 04:26 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Anyone else ever had this problem?

I have recently realized that I fret too hard and I pick too hard when I play electric. Sometimes i cant help it, I need to fix this problem

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Old December 5th, 2012, 05:26 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Rings a bell! I started learning fingerstyle folk songs a while ago and out of necessity I play on my Tele through headphones with a clean tone. Apart from having to refine and figure out new techniques, my touch has got a lot lighter. I just became aware the other day that I jump between notes with my left hand barely gripping the neck, whereas before it was like a death grip. Also, picking notes with my right hand fingers needs a lot lighter touch to get the right definition and not sound like mush.

I have realised that my playing in other styles has benefited a lot. I don't play any different songs, I just play them a lot better with a lighter touch.
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Old December 5th, 2012, 05:35 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I don't use a pick.... that softens the attack...

if you've played acoustic for years then get an electric.. you tend to choke the thing and pick hard....

I let the amp make the noise... not the picking hand...;)
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Old December 5th, 2012, 05:43 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Tube amps love a heavy pick attack.
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Old December 5th, 2012, 06:06 AM   #5 (permalink)
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i don't see it as a problem. I play totally different music on acoustic and electric. I play acoustic finger picking, very gently, as accompaniment to singing. On electric it's full-on blues, with no effects to speak of, and I want that hard attack.
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Old December 5th, 2012, 06:10 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I used to suffer a bit from this problem. Back when I started playing in the late Stone Age, the only guitars a youngster in England could afford tended to be Höfners and suchlike with an action you could walk under, hence what I term "Höfneritis", the death-grip of the left hand on the neck. You need to learn to relax and lighten your touch, as you yourself realise; it may take a conscious effort at first but it will come in time. I found that if you deliberately pick more gently the fretting hand will also tend to loosen up and vice versa.

Additionally, try practising scales and arpeggios as fast as you can play them; there simply won't be time to press hard on the individual notes. Do your best to keep your fretting fingers flexed so that the minimum of movement is necessary to contact the strings. This will tend to engender a lighter touch. I see a lot of players on jams with flappy-finger syndrome, who tend to have an unsubtle touch and less well-defined articulation than that of others with a more refined technique.

In fact it seems as though economy of movement altogether may be the key to a lighter touch.

Delta Blues (above) may be right, but you want to be able to vary your pick attack rather than have it heavy all the time by default - if only for the sake of "playing your amp".
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Old December 5th, 2012, 07:52 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I vary the pick depending on dynamics, but sometimes fret hard enough to go sharp. It's hard to unlearn!
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Old December 5th, 2012, 09:37 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Maybe you need to use heavier strings?
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Old December 5th, 2012, 09:42 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Maybe you need to use heavier strings?
A lighter touch will actually reduce fatigue in the hand, though. I never realized just how heavy-handed I was until I started gigging every weekend, and quickly discovered that I needed to improve my technique.
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Old December 5th, 2012, 10:04 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I have always played hard. I switched to 10 guage strings a long time ago. I also love to bend the crap out of my strings. But I can play soft if I need to but most of the time it's hard. I also like to pop my strings. The front pickup on my tele has lines on it from the strings slapping it. Lol
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Old December 5th, 2012, 11:20 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyLowry View Post
I vary the pick depending on dynamics, but sometimes fret hard enough to go sharp. It's hard to unlearn!
YES, that's where my issue comes into play. Not always, but definitely in the harder songs. its very embarrassing
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Old December 5th, 2012, 12:56 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Maybe you need to use heavier strings?
That's what I was thinkin'. Maybe not as an answer to the technique problem but because I am used to the resistance of the heavier acoustic strings - to feel like I'm actually pushing, pulling, and plucking on something. I've got 11s on my Gibson scale guitar and thinking about going from 10s to 11s on my Tele. Flats with wound G on my hollowbody and probably plain G (round wounds) on the Tele.
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Old December 5th, 2012, 03:12 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I played acoustics for a long time and still do. I use 13-56 strings on my Martin with a medium setup. I couldn't get going on electrics for a long time because of the problem of choking the guitar to death, and hitting the strings too hard. I found I was trying to play an electric like an acoustic, won't work.

I then set my electric guitars up with very low action, and .09s on both my Strat and Teles. I then turned my amp up further than I had before on the volume control. After doing all that, I had to play more easily, and in control, or just make a horrible racket. After a very short time, I was able to adapt, now I can move back and forth pretty easily.
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Old December 5th, 2012, 06:24 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Watch the super light touch of George Harrison and Tom Petty.
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