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.

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