I have spent the last few hours (rabbit hole alert) on the interweb, researching ways to lighten up my touch on the guitar. Wondering if anyone has any suggestions ;~)) That is enough said, but will add a bit of description now to detail some specifics, what I have already tried, what I have not tried but am going to try etc.
Although I have been "playing" guitar for over 30 years, it was not until 2021 that I really grabbed but bull by the horns. I played more in that year than the rest of my life combined. I am on a similar track for this year. At the beginning of 2022, I decided to get a grip on my ham fisted death grip and have made a lot of progress. I would say that I used to be 100% ham fisted, and am now at about 60-70% of the time ham fisted, which is certainly an improvement. I blame my ham fisted technique in part on guitars that had high action that forced me to use a lot of pressure to be able to fret chords/notes properly. Of course, my lack of actually spending any time with my guitars was an issue as well among other things. One of the things that is pushing me to address this more intently is, I have a couple of dents in my 1,2 and 3 frets on my 594 HBII, and I know that part of that is due to Mr Ham and his fist grip! This is a result of ~1500 hours of of playing in the 18 months I have owned this guitar (and I acquired it as a brand new item that was "born" less than 30 days from the time I became the owner). I don't want this happening to my other guitars, nor do I want it to continue at this rate on this guitar (fret job every two years, ouch), so looking to find additional ways to lighten up my grip. Here are my observations as well as my techniques/methods I have tried or read about.
1. On slower material (let's say Cat Stevens, Bob Dylan, etc.), I have almost zero problem maintaining a light touch.
2. If I think about what I am doing, I can lighten the touch, but decades of playing with a much tighter grip has me reverting to the ham fist when I don't think about it. I also have a problem with having to think about it as I then generally start to make other mistakes.
3. The more intense a song gets, the more likely I am to start gripping tighter (and of course, this is sometimes necessary).
4. I started working on lightening my touch because of hand/fingertip pain starting to pop up after long/intense sessions.
5. Started working on lighter touch about 6 months ago and have made some progress as noted above but still have a lot of work to do.
1. I have tried playing stuff with NO thumb on the back of the neck. It was liberating to know that I could actually do that, but it is certainly not my preferred technique or example of my best playing.
2. I have tried to consciously reduce my grip when I feel Mr. Ham Fist squeezing the life out of the guitars neck.
3. I have read about turning up the volume on amp so that you are forced to touch lighter and will try this.
4. I have read about "just practice" and at 4-6 hours a day, I am there.
5. I have read about playing more slowly to develop the muscle memory of the lighter touch and will be implementing this (although I generally do this anyway after my girl goes to sleep and I need to take things down a few notches every night - no secluded practice place at this point and very open architecture in this house).
6. I have read about keeping fingers closer to the fret when making notes or chords and will be ensuring I am doing so whenever possible.
Any advice/suggestion/thoughts on this appreciated. My apologies if there is already a thread like this at this forum! I did do a search to see if anything popped up but after a few pages of search results, I did not find anything. If there is another thread, I will certainly consume it! Thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge/techniques!!!