So many learning guitarists press down far too hard to make their chord shapes or when playing anything. Some students call it ‘Gorilla Grip’. This exercise demonstrates how little you can press down with the right finger positioning, which should make everything so much easier!
Finger pressing exercise
- With your first finger, play the note at 3rd fret on your thickest string (Or any dotted fret)
- Play the note as you usually would, and give a number between 1 and 10 to indicate how much you are pressing down, 10 being like making a fist, 1 being not pressing at all
- Now place your finger to your side of the fret, between the dot and the fret nearest to you
- Play this note once every second, and gradually lesson the amount of pressure on this note by a fraction at a time until it buzzes and eventually the note doesn’t ring out at all
- Play the note again, but only press on just enough so that the string doesn’t buzz. Ensure your finger is at the ‘good’ side of the fret
- Give a number between 1 and 10 again to indicate this pressure. It should be much lower than before. THIS is the amount your should be pressing down every time you play anything on your guitar
You should repeat this exercise with each finger and around the fret board if you feel it will benefit you.
Playing guitar will hurt in the first couple of weeks. This is unavoidable with soft skin pressing against metal strings. It can take up to a month before your fingers harden up.
Here's a top 5 tips to relieve pain in your finger tips
- Don't press on too hard! As the exercise above demonstrates
- Practice little and often. Less than 10 minutes at a time if the pain is bad, but try twice a day if possible to harden your finger tips up
- Try thinner strings. Guitars come with a certain gauge, aka thickness of string. For electric, try 9s or even 8s. For acoustic, try 10s.
- Mix up chord practice with some single strings. My Easy riffs Series is a great place to start!
- Don't soak your finger tips in vinegar, alcohol, etc. The skin will harden but will likely break and will take weeks to heal