View post (fingerpicking fret hand, ouch)

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Guitar Tricks Instructor
Joined: 08/09/05
Posts: 8,017
Originally Posted by: SusanMWSo I'm able to do some fingerpicking much better but I'm having problems making a death grip with my fret hand and causing a lot of tenseness and pain. I think it's because I'm so focused on doing the correct moves with my right hand that I'm inadvertantly putting way too much pressure on my fret hand when I switch chords.

You've correctly identified the problem. The solution is to explicitly remind yourself to relax the tension in your fretting hand. Typically you have to focus on it & remind yourself more in the beginning stages. Then the more you do it, the more it will gradually become automated or second nature.

This is good general practice anyway because the overall goal in any playing is to only use as much pressure as necessary to get the job done. Any more is wasted effort that only hinders your playing.

Another approach that can help is to just do the fingerpicking pattern without fretting any notes. You can drill that & totally focus on your picking hand. Eventually you want to get your fretting hand into the process as soon as possible, of course. But it can help to isolate tasks for a while.

Hope that helps!

Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

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