how to avoid muting the strings

How to avoid muting the strings when you play chords – updated

One of the most common problems that beginners struggle with, is how to position their fingers on the fretboard in a way that doesn’t mute the surrounding strings. In this video, I will explain all of the problems you may face when it comes to playing chords in a clean way. Also we will come up with some exercises and solutions.

A few things to remember:

  • It takes time to develop strength in your hand and it also takes time to build your calluses. Everything is painful at the beginning.
  • Once you place your fingers on the fretboard, don’t forget to press them to get the sound. This is a very obvious point, but a lot of beginners just simply place their fingers on the fretboard, rather than pressing down.
  • Don’t put your fingers too far away from the fret. It takes more effort to press the note if you are too far away from the fret.
  • Pay attention to your thumb position – the thumb should be placed at the back of the neck and not be wrapped around the neck.
  • Don’t lay your fingers too flat on the fretboard. Use the very tip of your fingers – that way, you will let the surrounding strings vibrate freely, (or breathe as I described in the video).
  • Make sure your fingers are curled. It should all feel natural.
  • Your thumb and fingers from your fretting hand are the anchoring point. Your hand should hang from these fixed points, don’t use the muscles from your arm to hold the chord. That way, your chords will sound better and you will be able to change the chords in a more relaxed and efficient way.

It all takes time, use the tips from the video to work on your fretting hand technique. Don’t feel like there is something wrong with you. All beginners face the same problems. Have fun and enjoy playing the guitar!


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