Feeling The Frets

Here’s a quick tip that I think will help you going forward.

Playing an instrument is about skill, technique, and know-how, but it also involves more than just your sense of hearing. After all, your fingers are the ones doing all physical work - not your ears! Therefore, it’s a good idea to get better acquainted with your sense of touch.

You may notice that your favourite musicians aren’t standing on the stage staring at their hands, yet somehow they’re hitting all of the right notes! How are they doing this?

They’re able to do this because they can literally feel the frets beneath their fingers. The frets act as guides along the fretboard, but since they’re raised, you don’t need to look at them to find them.

This exercise is loads more effective if you do it along with me rather than watching the video and attempting it on your own later, so grab your guitar!

The Exercise

We’re going to start with your fingers in the C chord position. From there, remove your 2nd and 3 fingers, leaving your 1st finger on the string.

Now, pay attention to what you’re feeling with your 1st finger. Really try to focus here and hone in on this specific fingertip.

You might ask yourself:

  • Do you feel the string beneath your finger?
  • Do you feel any of the nearby strings?
  • Are you touching the fret?
  • How much pressure are you placing on the string?
  • Is your hand tense or relaxed?

Once you’ve meditated on that for a while, start to slide your finger around until you can only just feel the fret. Make a note of and remember this feeling! It may not feel like what you think a fret should feel like. It will probably just register as a change in pressure, even though it might be light - you will be able to feel it. It will be subtle, but noticeable.

After that, do the same with each individual finger. You may even want to do it with your eyes closed so as to really minimize any conflicting input from your other senses. Try to isolate the touch as much as possible! It's kinda fun and can be a bit of game-changer when you no longer have to stare at your fingers!


Lesson 10: Weak G Bamba