Applying Strength

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Melf, Jan 5, 2005.

  1. Melf


    Mar 20, 2003
    Starkville, MS
    I know that when picking with your right hand, you're supposed to use as little strength as possible in holding and moving the pick. But does the same apply for the left hand? I've found when I try and fret notes accurately but lightly, I end up with a misfretted note half the time. But if I fret notes hard and make them sound right, my left wrist complains afterwards. What should I do?
  2. I tend towards gripping the fretted note with way too much pressure and it really will slow down your ability to play smoothly and move up and down the fretboard. Try fretting the note close by the fretwire NOT in the center of the fret area. Also lower your action as low as you can for your plucking style. Keeping your left hand and fingers relaxed is a biggie. I will practice from time to time without putting my thumb on the neck at all or only lightly touching. Hope this helps!
  3. cowsgomoo

    cowsgomoo gone to Longstanton Spice Museum

    Feb 8, 2003
    accuracy, Melf... if you fret the note in the right place you really don't need very much pressure applied to make a clean note ring out.. as long as you concentrate on fretting the note nicely and accurately behind the fret, the amount of pressure you'll find yourself needing to apply will probably work itself out
  4. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    My thumb is on the back of the neck to give my left hand a pivot point and reference point. It's not actually applying pressure, and my fingers aren't pressing down hard. I fret just barely behind the fret- almost on top of it.
  5. mheintz


    Nov 18, 2004
    +1. Don't squeeze with your thumb. You have plenty of strength in your back and large arm muscles. Your fingers should be arched and you should be hanging from the board, not squeezing it.
  6. CJK84


    Jan 22, 2004
    Maria Stein, OH
    Good advice given above.

    I might add that it still requires some muscular contraction to fret a note - eventually the hand/wrist can grow tired/strained.

    Thus, I feel that it's important to completely relax the arm/wrist/hand on the many occasions during a song when you have a bit of time between notes - this has helped me.

    Never allowing your fretting hand to completely relax leads to early fatigue.