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Finger pressure
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July 10, 2012 - 8:56 pm
Member Since: March 14, 2012
Forum Posts: 1735
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I'm working on finding the right amount of finger pressure. I think that I've been clamping down too much, putting on the same amount of pressure that I'm used to on the guitar. In fact, a clue might be that my fingertip callouses, which I already had from guitar playing, have thickened a lot. Here's evidence:

callouses_500px.jpgImage Enlarger


Last night I tried to lighten up and the sound quality improved. Tonight, not so much but I think that I may have been over compensating.

Any tips for finding the right amount of finger pressure?crossedfingers

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When the work's all done and the sun's settin' low,

I pull out my fiddle and I rosin up the bow.


July 10, 2012 - 9:42 pm
Member Since: February 24, 2012
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Diane, I've been working on that too for the past month.  I think it's just a matter of playing a few songs each practice  while paying close attention to being "light-fingered" (yeah, not suggesting you start shopping lifting Diane, lmao).

It amazes me just how light the touch can be and still produce a clear note.  But I've found that if I apply as little pressure as possible while still producing a good sound, then gradually my touch on everything I play has lightened (yeah, not like in my hair color.....).

A lighter touch definitely allows you quicker dexterity too.  Over the past couple of years my hands have become so delicate that just gripping unruly strands of my pasta gives me callouses!



July 10, 2012 - 10:01 pm
Member Since: May 4, 2012
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I don't presume to know for sure, but since I've been working on this as well, I'll just chime in.

If you start with just barely touching the string and slowly increase pressure as you bow, when you first get a note it will sound slightly muffled.  At some point as you increase pressure, you will hear the note start to go just a little sharp as your fingerpad flattens and is pretty much mashing the string. 

I try for between those two, but closer to risking it sounding a little muffled or soft.  If you keep it on the light side, is is easier to slide notes and etc, and your fingers don't get tired near as easy.

Most people use a lot more pressure than they need to on guitar as well, btw.  I have to keep reminding myself to relax my hands when I play.  As one of my few guitar teachers used to keep saying, "Tense fingers are slow fingers.."

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

Fort Lauderdale
July 11, 2012 - 8:31 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 14457

Everything you guys said is correct but I do want to add that more pressure should not make the sound worse. In fact, if I press super hard I can make a fingered string sound like an open string. I can make the note resonate long after lifting the bow or plucking it.
That being said, do exactly what you guys are saying. Use just enough pressure to get a good sound and no more. smile

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

California, the place of my heart
July 11, 2012 - 12:15 pm
Member Since: January 11, 2012
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Great Topic. I used to have marks after I have just a nice firm skin on my fingertips but no callouses...I am actually proud of them. 🙂 I still think I could lighten up a bit... my teacher says it can be like tapping fingers on the table.... so I am going to try that...

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July 11, 2012 - 12:28 pm
Member Since: March 14, 2012
Forum Posts: 1735
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Thanks for the finger tips, folks! (Sorry...couldn't resist.)

I will give it a try.


When the work's all done and the sun's settin' low,

I pull out my fiddle and I rosin up the bow.

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