Hard-pressed frets

@brianlarsen great way to visualize.
I think it will instant AHA to many here!

let me build upon that insight

image

(excuse the crude MsPaint job :wink: )

I try to put my ginfer where the orange circle is, although that doesnt always work.
I learned to play on a Strat and I’m a notorious gripping string pusher.
I really had to learn to apply an efficient and soft touch

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You have that wrong, you want your finger close to the bridge end of the fret

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Ah yes, my lefty brain was thinking of my lefty neck while wanting to draw a righty.
derp; I corrected it :smiley:

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My problem is that the “nut” is usually sitting behind the guitar trying to press strings to the fretboard…

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It’s a diagram not a scale model. I exaggerated the height of the frets to make it easier to see the distance from the string to the fretboard.

No matter how high the ‘set up’ the string still rests on the frets on either side of your finger when you play a note.
My point was not how to set up a guitar but how far your finger presses down when you do play a note/chord. My diagram 3 and Lieven’s show the string doesn’t touch the fretboard at all. If you have callouses on your fingers the fleshy bit won’t protrude past the string down to the board, so you won’t be feeling the wood of the fretboard unless you are pressing firmly (in which case it will be going out of tune) or if you are trying to increase the pitch, as in a bend. Even with people who bend a lot, most of the notes they play will want to be ‘in tune’ so no fingers on the board.

Yes, you can (I just checked)- and for pull-offs you should.

Thanks for the generous offer of a setup, but I live a long way from Texas :grinning:

Sharing personal details like your email on a public forum is discouraged; you might want to edit that out. (It’s fine to share via messaging if you wish).

@RobDickinson I mentioned in the OP that if you’re not supposed to normally be touching the fretboard, it simply

@Jamolay :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

Oh, and just for the record, I have lots of fretboard wear and tear on my beloved A min frets by the nut. I’m just trying to understand what I’m s’posed to be doing :laughing:

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I’m re-reading this topic after reading Brian’s @brianlarsen Maple fretboards poll request.

I find my fingers don’t touch the fretboard on strings 6543 but do touch on the two light strings.
Most of the adverts for guitars talk about the ‘feel’ of the fretboard so the type of wood or wood substitute must be a factor.

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Gordon @sairfingers like you I followed the post to here and I am glad I did.
I was wondering yesterday after practice why my finger tips were hurting they don’t normally. I am working on finger style patterns and a song, so each picked note has to stand out, you can get away with it when strumming but not finger picking. Having just had go I realised I was pressing down way more than I need to. Thank Brian @brianlarsen
Michael

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I think this is spot-on!!! Thank you Lieven for your post, I really struggle to keep from pressing too hard & notice that it changes pitch of my notes sometimes. :+1:t2:

Tod

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Tha AHAs are rolling in :wink:

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Brian @brianlarsen , hope all is ok with your better half! Your alluding to gardening resulting in jail time reminded me of an old Marilyn Monroe movie::popcorn: :movie_camera:

It’s a fun watch!!!
(No guitars though… :face_with_diagonal_mouth:)

Tod

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That water is well under the bridge and in the great big blue by now :smiley:
I like old movies and will bookmark that for afternoons between lunch and nap :rofl:
Cheers mate!

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Very interesting thread. Apologies for the length, but I think this is an absolutely crucial topic. In my opinion, whether you touch the fretboard at certain times or not, is incidental. People have all sorts of different “ tops’ on their fingers; some thin, some fat and fleshy. As long as your finger placement is pretty close to the frets, ( where possible) you’re generally OK.
The important point is tension. Pressing the string just enough to sound a clear note, no more. Leave the dynamics etc to your picking hand.

Now, I’m no expert. I’m just speaking from my experience; but I have delved into this topic in some depth. Several months ago, I incorporated tension control as a specific daily focus item, as part of an alt picking/ hand synch course I’ve been doing. I knew I had way too much tension - better than it was - but, as my playing was getting better, its influence was becoming more obvious. And because I was now focusing on it to expose it, the amount of tension became glaringly obvious. Most noticeably on faster lead runs, faster chord changes, more intricate movements in general. But, it ‘infested’ all my playing. Sometimes a bit of tension is required - for bends ,vibrato etc - but it also remained in my fingers after required, building cumulatively.

I’ll not bore anyone with my practice regime ( plenty of content online for resolving tension issues), but the upshot is my playing, most noticeably on faster, trickier sections, has significantly improved. I actually physically feel much ‘lighter’ when I play guitar now, compared to say, 6 months ago. I am now also starting to feel a sense of ‘separation’ between the fretting and picking hand when playing dynamically, in the sense my fretting hand stays relatively relaxed, as my picking hand plays louder/ more dynamically as the song requires. So the hands are in synch timing-wise, but not tension-wise. Game changer right there. Also, because I play alot of blues stuff, I feel I’m better able to release the required tension needed for bending, vibrato etc, rather than it staying in my hand, and building up. Much more ongoing work to do for sure, and certainly none of the above is perfect 100% of the time, but the difference in 6 months or so is enormous from my perspective.
I would guess that 99% of people on this forum are playing with too much tension.

Cheers, Shane

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Guilty as charged!

I totally agree and try to spend some time in practice just feeling and listening to a fretted note, finding the right pressure and placement. Especially with cords. Complicated white more than one finger at a time. I am not at all where Shane is at this, but I think it is valuable to start early and often with feeling tension and touch.

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Pressing too hard is a learner skill you develop early.

Soft fingers and not being able to place them correctly means you compensate with a death grip. Esp if you start on an acoustic.

It does take effort to get past that

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Great explanation @sclay. I’m just at the point of having enough command of the instrument that I don’t have to think so much about the individual chords and notes and can listen to the sound. Just recently I’ve been working to cure the death grip problem. My fretting hand still “thinks” that when I play faster or louder I have to crush the fretboard. I’ve found that playing simple progressions at varying speeds and dynamics with my eyes closed helps me focus on lessening the tension and keeps things on pitch.

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Good luck with the “death grip” issue. Its a very worthwhile focus that’ll change your playing.
I don’t think anyone escapes having this problem in the early years. Its just a neoro-physcological quirk I reckon. I think it just varies by degree person to person.

It’s like the fretting hand sees the picking hand get all fast and loud and aggressive, and says “Hell yeah, I’ll have a bit of that!” :sweat_smile:.

Cheers, Shane

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Hey Shane - Feel free to bore me with this. I know it’s something I need to work on but I haven’t really incorporated it into my daily practice yet. Any pointers for exercises that worked for you?

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Yep, I’m interested, too.

Sounds like Shane should host a club!

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Surely, you are over-prescribing here Dr. :grin:.

Cheers, Shane

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