Not too long ago, we talked about one of the ways you can get rid of some fret buzz and the importance of pushing the string down in the front part of the fret. There’s also an article about it here, too. Be sure to check those out first because today I have another one of these cool guitar playing concepts for you.
This is one of the coolest things I learned in the beginning and I feel like it has not only stayed with me and shaped my playing, but that it has also helped a lot of other people over the years, too.
It’s something that an old teacher of mine showed me. Simply put, you don’t have to squeeze the life out of your guitar when you play. To show you what I mean, let’s try an experiment really quick.
Start With A Mute
Find the 5th fret on your high E string. Really, you could play any fret on any string, but just so we’re on the same page, let’s use this note. Touch your finger to the string right above this 5th fret space. Don’t actually press down to the point of making, or fretting, a note just yet. Now with your picking hand, pick your string over and over at a somewhat slow place, maybe a little faster than one pluck per second.
Right now you should be hearing nothing but a muted string. No real notes yet. Now SLOWLY press the string down to create that 5th fret note. The moment that string makes contact with the fretboard and makes a real note from your pluck, don’t press down any harder.
The Aha Moment
The amount of strength that you’re using right now to create this note is the most force that you will ever need to use to create this note. Any more force that you would use is just wasted energy.
The first time I tried this experiment, I was blown away by how easily I could press down to make a note and how much strength and energy I was throwing away by pressing down too hard.
Not that I’m perfect at sticking to this all the time, as it’s very easy to forget. Some days I notice that I’m squeezing the life out of my strings, but I do come back to this thought a lot to remind myself that I’m pressing down too hard 99% of the time. Try this exercise out in a few places on your fretboard. On the high strings and the thicker strings, too. I have a feeling that you’ll really be blown away too by how little effort it actually takes to make a note sound.
So, what did you think of this concept? Pretty cool,huh? Remember, the less energy you use while playing, the longer you can play. Your chords and notes will actually sound more in tune, too. Double win! Let us know what you thought of this one in the comments section down below.