Learning to control dynamics!

Thought it could be fun to share and talk about all things related to playing dynamics! Attack, velocity, only striking the high/low strings, muting strings, etc.

I personally don’t use a pick, and often accentuate the base while letting my index finger strum down and, for whatever reason, using my middle finger in picking out single notes. It’s sorta like strumming and arpeggiating at the same time if that makes any sense.

Due to normally playing outdoors and not thinking too much about things, upon attempting to record songs I discovered the significance of the subtleties of playing dynamics. It’s easy to hit those bass notes too strongly and get really nasty, boomy transients, sometimes near peaking. That often results in a pumping sound when applying compression… not fun for the ears. Folks say how important it is to get things right “at the source,” i.e. when recording and not fixing it later when mixing.

I think learning to control dynamics is a big helper in recording, while I was only thinking about mic placement and gain for so long.

Anybody else have any interesting observations or discoveries regarding dynamics of guitar playing?


Really important aspect of becoming a better player, Ben. Once one has the solid foundation of rhythm, clean chords, and smooth changes then dynamics is certainly something to work on.


The dynamic is crucial. Especially with acoustic guitar where you don’t have any compressors, volume knobs and other effects.
And I know that I need to work on it (as well as on everything else). While recording my version of Carol of the Bells I tried simpler rhytm part with just chords instead of fingerpicking in the final recording. When I strumed like I usually do it was loud and ‘boomy’ as you said. And when I strumed with just the tip of my pick the sound was clear and ringing in a good way (hard to describe in English). But strumming like that is much harder because I need to always control my hand and be precise with it.

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