How to Improve Your Touch
by Liam Cain, 3rd July 2018
The guitar is a touch sensitive instrument. Apart from fretting cleanly and avoiding fret buzz, too much pressure affects intonation making your playing sound out of tune. If you have a few guitars lying around, here is a great way to improve your touch.
You probably have your favorite gauge of guitar strings. For me, it's Ernie Ball Regular Slinky 10-46 on my Strats. The tip is simple. To improve your strength, string a second guitar one gauge heavier. An acoustic is a good choice. In my case, I would use 11 -52. Playing heavier strings builds strength and endurance. If you play acoustic, you may have benefitted from this experience. The electric guitar feels easier than before. Does this help your touch sensitivity? To do this, string the third guitar with strings one gauge lighter. In my case, Ernie Ball Super Slinky 9 -42.
With lighter strings, you may find yourself applying too much pressure. Chords will sound slightly sharp. Strings bends will miss the chosen pitch by a mile. It will feel awkward. However, stick with it. You will naturally learn to press strings with less effort. You fingers will follow your ears. Touch will improve. When you go back to your favorite string gauge the guitar will have just the right amount of tension or fight for you.
Within a practice session alternate between guitars and string gauges. If you feel a tension in your playing move to the light gauged guitar. Experiment with this approach over the next few weeks. I'm sure you will notice and feel improvements in your touch.
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