How to Press and Pluck Guitar Strings

by IanM on September 23, 2010

How to Press and Pluck Guitar Strings

How to Press Guitar Strings

One of the things you need to get used to is pressing the guitar strings hard enough that they make a sound when you play a chord or pluck a string.

When I started out I used to have trouble pressing down hard enough, but this is just a matter of practice.

To get past this hurdle, I recommend people either start practicing on an electric guitar or a classical guitar with nylon strings.

An acoustic guitar can be hard to press for some beginners which can lead to frustration early on.

  1. Electric guitar (light pressure – needs and amplifier)
  2. Classical guitar (Medium pressure – uses nylon strings that are easier to press)
  3. Acoustic guitar (Most pressure – metal strings and higher tension – sounds great though)

To play most guitar chords, you need to press down on the strings with the tips of your fingers. This allows you to apply maximum pressure and to get the cleanest sound possible.

Press down on guitar string with tip of finger for maximum pressure and to avoid touching other strings that shouldn't be pressed.

Pressing down with the tips of your fingers also helps you avoid accidently touching the other strings and blocking their vibration.

Be careful not to accidentally touch other strings and block their vibration

Some chords however such as F major can’t be played using just the tips of your fingers.

To play F major, you need to press down on 2 strings using the side of your index finger.

The side of the index finger is used to press down on 2 strings when playing F major.

When you’re playing something like barr chords however, you need use your whole finger to press down on all or most of the strings.

The finger presses down with the whole finger when playing chords like bar chords

Whenever you play chords, your thumb is behind the neck of the guitar to help you grip and apply more finger pressure.

This should feel firm and comfortable, not loose like the neck could slip out of your grip at any time.

Your thumb helps you apply more finger pressure and gives you an anchor for your hand when changing chords.

Just remember, it takes time to build finger strength so be patient. A good way to build up finger strength is to hold simple chords and strum to make sure you’re pressing hard enough.

Alternatively, you could get a tennis ball or a gripper and squeeze it all day. It’s a convenient way to strengthen your left hand grip on the go.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Christian Aparicio November 7, 2011 at 8:58 am

Hey I’ve been looking at your website for the first time I’ve been wanting to learn how to play guitar forever I finally bought one but im left handed so i got a left handed guitar hope to see some progress


sally February 23, 2012 at 11:57 am

Before i am really curious on how to play seems interested,i thought its difficult.Now i am starting playing it..when i m watching the videos everything about the guitar,such as strumming,plucking and which my fingers goes when doing the first its a little bit i know the chords and strumming.I am very thankful for having this website.I’M starting to play the song IT WILL RAIN by Bruno Mars but sometimes the sounds was not good..i start learning for a week since then..i am watching your video tutorial IT WILL RAIN again and again.How long it will take before my fingers became soft? because sometimes its hard for me to take my fingers in place when changing chords and i accidentally stop the strumming at the same time.


Paul April 8, 2012 at 12:05 am

I have found your tutorial above very helpful and would like to thank you for taking the time to make it.

All the best from me, here in the UK.

Kindest regards,

Paul Williams


LynetteM November 1, 2012 at 8:45 am

Everything is well explained! Thanks.:)


Lalit August 7, 2013 at 3:29 pm

Really helpfull, tips


Karl Taok January 10, 2014 at 2:09 am

Thank You so much for making this website. I really admire your work and your tutorials are very easy and quick to learn. I just learned to play a guitar in a week. Really helpful.


Abhishek March 26, 2014 at 2:08 am

thank you so much your tips they nic and easy to learn…


Abhishek March 26, 2014 at 2:11 am

thank you so much your tips they nic and easy to learn…i think they are quit helpful to me


Tristan August 22, 2014 at 7:52 am

Ok so im trying to teach myself because i dont have alot of money right now for lessons so one thing i do not get is do i hol down the string first and while im holding down play on that string o do i play on that string with one “flick” and then push down the string a video tutorial would help alot thanks!


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