Strange finger pain question

Hey all,

My main guitar (only guitar for many years) has been my 1983 Sigma 12 string. I had the normal finger pain starting out but once I started playing regularly the fingers toughened up and there minimal if any pain. I bought a Taylor Grand Auditorium six string in February and the finger pain is significant. I think I’ve had to press the strings on the 12 string harder than I do with the six string, but since it was two strings per finger, it was “spaced out” so to speak and not painful.

After experimenting a little bit have found I can get the strings to ring out on the six string with a lot less force than I need with my 12. My struggle is that my subconscious takes over while playing and I end up pressing just as hard on the six as I do on the 12. Though I keep telling my self not to press so hard, the fingers just do it and then the pain kicks in.

I’m sure this sounds super strange, but any suggestions to convince my fingers not to press so hard on the six string?

I think the pain is what is telling you that.

I bet you sort it out in time. Similar problem switching between steel and nylon or electric.

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Just my 2cents worth here. It’s not your subconscious it is muscle memory.
Try just at first resting your finger on a string without pressing down. Than slowly push the string down until it hits the fret and sounds clearly. at the same time relax your arm(not like a noodle lol). The weight of your arm should help (adding strength to the finger). I would recommend doing this several times with each finger. it may help. your are retraining the muscles in your fingers, hand and arm.

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Thanks, yeah I think muscle memory is the better term than subconscious. My muscle memory has been developed for what I need on my 12 string and the six requires so much less muscle to ring clearly.

Great question Joe.

I was going to ask the same thing but I think my habit formed from when I’d not had my guitar set up and I had to press the strings down hard just to get a note to ring out.

Like Chicago said, it’s a hard habit to break.

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This isn’t so strange.

When I was used to playing only on my Strat, I pressed down pretty hard and got away with it.
Going to a guitar with higher strings, I constantly pushed them too hard, making notes sharp.

I had to learn a more efficient, more gentle touch.
Chances are, you learn the gentler touch on your 6 stirng, you will STILL be able to have good notes on the 12 stirng but just in a more efficient matter, asking less force.

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Hang in there, Joe. I too, find it a struggle to lighten my touch. It takes a lot of concentration for me to loosen my death grip on the guitar. It is most noticeable when I play a D chord and squeeze the neck causing the chord to fall apart in any number of ways. I have included a separate section of my practice routine to just playing with the D chord and keeping it ringing true with the lightest touch possible.

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Thanks all. @ChasetheDream I like that idea with the D chord practice. I notice it most when I’m sliding D based triads up and down the neck.