Fretting very lightly

BatmansRigTalk

Active member
Not too long ago I was playing on a guitar and a guitarist said "hey barely touch the strings with your fretting hand" and for the first time, I heard what my amp really sounded like. Seems I was pressing too hard.

So my next question is this. Which is more desirable from this selection for A) cleans and B) distortion.

  1. Higher amp volume, lower guitar volume.
  2. Lower amp volume, higher guitar volume.
  3. Lower amp volume, lower guitar volume.
  4. Higher amp volume, higher guitar volume.
Finally, your tone knob on the guitar should be how you fine-tune your EQ or fine-tune in the amp? (omitting pedal board EQing).

It would be good to figure out a better order to do things in and some tips like barely touching your strings with the fretting hand.
 

SoooRad

Active member
It definitely is better to not strangle the guitar if possible. As far as the volume thing, whatever gets the results you want in the context you're playing in is the right answer.

I know for myself, I would rather A-1 and B4. I want to have my amp breathing, and use the guitar to be the variable. I get along particularly well with single channel setups. Even right now running a Bogner La Grange pedal I don't shut it off for cleans, I simply roll my volume back and get a great gritty clean sound like that. It probably helps that I'm never shooting for a "Queensryche clean."
 

GG4211

Member
I would suggest the next tip that can really help take you to a new level is to tighten up your pick stroke. You can increase picking speed and fluidity by reducing your pick stoke to only as much as needed to clear the string and let it ring... no more.

The further the pick travels, the longer it takes to complete the stroke and return to the string. You can effectively double picking speed by reducing a 3mm pick stroke to 1.5mm.

A light frethand and a tight pick stroke reduce wasted time and energy and makes playing easier in my experience. YMMV
 

Phye

New member
When it comes to how much is too much then? Been playing for awhile and always willing to try new things or tips, so my question is legitimate and not a quip. Tight pattern and reduced picking motion I've worked on before. Came to the conclusion that a relaxed wrist and good grip help this part go along way.
 

Geo

Active member
I find it difficult to believe guys like EVH and SRV lightly fretted.

I always felt like they were strangling the neck, and that was how they achieved such good dynamics.

You are just not going to achieve a unique style without some elbow grease, or at least it seems that way.
 

Smashedguitarist

Well-known member
I don't fret hard enough to make note go sharp but firm. I pick like i am chopping off someones head. I don't think i could fret lightly and pick hard. I can pat my head and rub my tummy. But I am not trying to push it my creativity further than that.
 

Donnie B.

Well-known member
Ya, there's no rules on how hard you grip it. Depends on your style.
Never mind his playing, people who knew SRV said his handshakes
were painful. Doubt he could have played guitar any other way.

Petrucci and Yngwie? Economy of motion. You want to play ultra-fast you
just don't have time to fret notes with anything other than a light touch.
 

lessarti

Active member
Ya, there's no rules on how hard you grip it. Depends on your style.
Never mind his playing, people who knew SRV said his handshakes
were painful. Doubt he could have played guitar any other way.

Petrucci and Yngwie? Economy of motion. You want to play ultra-fast you
just don't have time to fret notes with anything other than a light touch.
Yeah funny you mention Petrucci, anytime I see vids of him playing I always get this assumption that he is barely picking, intensity wise. Could be wrong, but he just looks like his rhythm playing is very light digging, nothing too crazy.
 

ElectricVoodoo

Well-known member
Well look at Yngwie. He picks very lightly, but he has a ton of overdrive so he can sort of ride the wave with little picking hand exertion.
 
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Donnie B.

Well-known member
Check out a couple minutes of this. The super fast guys not only pick lighter, they've also mastered
the technique shown here. Again, it's just plain necessary to play some of the stuff they do.


I've never seen anyone do it better than Gambale though.
Tone here is terrible but the technique is insane.

 
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Guys like Morse and Petrucci actually seem to have quite a bit of tension in the picking hand fingers and knuckles sometimes, ie. Morse's tendon issues.
 
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Sometimes when I'm playing live, I'm fretting so hard, it's a wonder I don't snap the neck! lol. I need to learn to relax a little....
 
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psychodave

Well-known member
For me it all depends on what I’m playing. You can lightly fret a chord that you are using vibrato with. You have to grip and and go. Same with lead lines… notes out of nowhere need lots more pressure than picking fluid runs. For me, this is where playing “style” comes in.
 

mooncobra

Well-known member
Ya, there's no rules on how hard you grip it. Depends on your style.
Never mind his playing, people who knew SRV said his handshakes
were painful. Doubt he could have played guitar any other way.


If SRV was playing 13s he was putting some pressure on his fretting hand. Is that even true? I have heard many guys say SRV played 12s and 13s?
Petrucci and Yngwie? Economy of motion. You want to play ultra-fast you
just don't have time to fret notes with anything other than a light touch.
 
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