Help me lighten up…

Discussion in 'Acoustic Heaven' started by CajunJ, Jun 12, 2021.

  1. CajunJ

    CajunJ Tele-Holic

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    …my fretting hand touch!

    I’ve been playing many hours the last couple weeks and I’m getting some hand pain. Tips are sensitive too. Faster I play the harder I grip.

    How can I lighten the touch? Wish I’d have started with a teacher so they would have corrected this from the jump.

    Acoustic guitar, btw.
     
  2. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    One of my friends is a really fine jazz player and he starts every session with a half hour of scales. Plain old scales in every key all over the neck. He is also totally anal about the position of his fretting hand, each finger moves smoothly and lightly, no wasted energy. I try to follow his lead but I'm not nearly that good....
     
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  3. hnryclay

    hnryclay Tele-Meister

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    As said above a good warmup, playing scales in every key, major and minor, followed by penatonic major and minor is my warmup. I focus on hand position, and use a metronome to control speed. This allows my hands to get the blood flowing, before starting practice on new material.
     
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  4. LOSTVENTURE

    LOSTVENTURE Friend of Leo's

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    Just a thought here, but if you are playing an acoustic, you might want to go with nylon strings for a while. You would have to get a guitar built for nylon but they are not all that expensive. (I just got an Ibanez GA35 for $300)
    The nylons will have half the tension that steel string have, and it's pretty easy to hear, and see, if you are pushing them out of line.
     
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  5. CajunJ

    CajunJ Tele-Holic

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    Thanks for the tips. I’ll definitely employ them.

    I’m running EJ17s on my D18. So pretty stiff. I like the sound though.
     
  6. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    Here is a very good exercise to teach you better control of your finger grip. It helped me immensely:

    Practice playing scales/patterns/riffs...s-l-o-w-l-y at first, by touching the string at each fret position, but do not press the string to the fret. Keep your unused fingers as close as possible to the strings without touching them. This helps develop economy of motion.

    Use. A. Metronome. Set it somewhere slow to start; around 40-60 BPM. Yeah that seems slow, but trust me; going too fast you will lose control.

    It takes a while to develop the muscle memory necessary to control how far you should move your fingers. But you'll get there. Be deliberate in your practice sessions (about 30 minutes at a stretch), and be patient. You'll get there.
     
  7. CajunJ

    CajunJ Tele-Holic

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    Thanks. I’ll try it.
     
  8. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Silver Supporter

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    I think you just answered your own question. 17s are massive and what I have on my reso. Can you live with 12s?
     
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  9. CajunJ

    CajunJ Tele-Holic

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    Not 17s. They’re 13s. They’re D’Addario EJ17. Not sure why they don’t just call them 13s….
     
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  10. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    13's in the acoustic world are considered "mediums" and would be the usual size for a big boomy dreadnaught played with a flat pick in a bluegrass band. I string my guitars with "lights" (0.012 to 0.054) unless I'm going to do a bunch of down tuning, in which case I bump up to mediums. I own two dreadnaughts but I rarely play them, however they also get lights because I'm a finger style player, almost never use a pick and I like the feel of lights. They may not be quite as loud as with 13's but that isn't an issue for me.

    Everything that I build is braced and intended for lights or for down tuning. Makes my old fingers happy.

    But that does bring up an important point - if you really feel like you are fighting the string tension tune down one or two semi tones and capo back up. That will reduce the tension and, depending on your nut setup, may bring the first position action down a bit, both which should make your playing easier.
     
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  11. CajunJ

    CajunJ Tele-Holic

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    Thanks for that. I play bluegrass and I like the volume I get with the 13s. I don’t feel like I’m fighting them. I’m certain it’s me getting carried away and fretting too hard. It’s me, not the gear.
     
  12. jaxjaxon

    jaxjaxon Tele-Meister

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    Try a light gage string 9 or even 8 you will not need to press as hard and if you do you will hear it go out of tune. If you get buzz on the note ten pick lightly. Once you can play that way you go up a gage. and keep doing it untill you can use a heavy gage string and have the light touch.
     
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  13. CajunJ

    CajunJ Tele-Holic

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    Thanks, but that’s way too light for me. I enjoy heavier strings. Like I said, I’m sure it’s my technique and not the strings.
     
  14. jaxjaxon

    jaxjaxon Tele-Meister

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    well thats a good way to learn a light touch.
     
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  15. CajunJ

    CajunJ Tele-Holic

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    I see what you mean. I might try it. Thanks.
     
  16. fattboyzz

    fattboyzz Tele-Meister

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    Keep at it . When your fingers get tough youll not even notice it anymore .

    I prefer smaller strings for the freedom of expression .

    Try tuning down a step and see how you like it ;)
     
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  17. telekaster1999

    telekaster1999 Tele-Holic

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    There's no substitute for time playing, we've all been there. Keep at it.
     
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  18. stratisfied

    stratisfied Tele-Holic

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    Light gauge acoustic strings are what I use plus I set the truss tension for as little relief as possible with low action. I also modify my strumming/picking to not slam the strings and use a Fender thin pick that flexes more to minimize string buzz.

    I do this out of necessity as I have the same condition Peter Frampton was diagnosed with that affects the muscles in my extremities and progressively weakens them. The strength in my hands and grip are not what they used to be so my "sissy setup" helps a lot.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2021
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  19. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Did you say Tighten Up? :eek::D
     
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  20. zombywoof

    zombywoof Friend of Leo's

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    I have arthritis so my hands hurt a bit and are not as fluid as they once were which has caused me me adjust the way I approach a guitar. Kind of like when you say to a doctor it hurts when I do this and they reply then stop doing it. Maybe I am missing something here but unless this is something which has just popped up after years and years of playing, sore fingertips and hands are part of the learning process. To ease it I generally advise newbies to use strings wound on a round core which give the instrument a less stiff and more flexible feel. And yeah, you practice, practice and then practice more to build up muscle memory.
     
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