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mailman
08-13-2009, 02:14 PM
I've read many posts in which folks say they've been "pressing too hard on the strings", or "fretting too hard". I don't get it.

As long as the string makes contact with the fret wire, what difference does it make how hard you press on the fret board? Surely pressing too hard can cause unneccesary hand/wrist fatigue, etc.....and maybe even premature wear and tear on both strings and fret board....but what's the difference musically?

The consensus seems to be that fretting too hard can affect intonation, but I don't understand how....

SuperSecretBETA
08-13-2009, 02:51 PM
I've read many posts in which folks say they've been "pressing too hard on the strings", or "fretting too hard". I don't get it.

As long as the string makes contact with the fret wire, what difference does it make how hard you press on the fret board? Surely pressing too hard can cause unneccesary hand/wrist fatigue, etc.....and maybe even premature wear and tear on both strings and fret board....but what's the difference musically?

The consensus seems to be that fretting too hard can affect intonation, but I don't understand how....

It's not the hard fretting that's necessarily the problem, but it's a factor to a different problem--bending the note slightly. Applying too much pressure can lead to a slight bending of the string to throw the intonation off. If you can press straight down and evenly, it doesn't really matter how hard you press, but there's just a tendency to bend.

Melissa82
08-13-2009, 02:55 PM
If I press too hard on the strings, I notice the notes go flat.

mailman
08-13-2009, 03:10 PM
SSB, I understand about "bending" a string, or applying lateral force at the fret board, although I don't experience that myself. I guess my fingering is mostly straight up and down....

Melissa, how does pressing too hard make yours sound flat? :confused: I would expect "bending" to push the note sharp. Going flat would seem to indicate a loosening of the string somehow....

Either that, or I'm just confused. ;)

Melissa82
08-13-2009, 03:12 PM
SSB, I understand about "bending" a string, or applying lateral force at the fret board, although I don't experience that myself. I guess my fingering is mostly straight up and down....

Melissa, how does pressing too hard make yours sound flat? :confused: I would expect "bending" to push the note sharp. Going flat would seem to indicate a loosening of the string somehow....

Either that, or I'm just confused. ;)I don't know it just sounds flat, lol.

KC8AFW
08-13-2009, 03:54 PM
If you press too hard...the note will go sharp. When you use a light pressure the string makes contact with the fretwire. As you press harder you are pressing the string down to the fretboard and in effect "stretching" the string, which increases the tension on the string thus making the note sharp. Its the same effect as bending the string...you're just bending it between 2 fretwires instead of up or down.

ihavenotea
08-13-2009, 04:52 PM
The stock c string on my Makala Dolphin would go sharp if push all the way to the board on the first to frets. Lightening up my touch on that string so that the string was pressed firmly on the fret but not fully depressed greatly reduced the problem.

Replacing the strings with Aquillas further rectified the situation.

ihavenotea
08-13-2009, 04:59 PM
I don't know it just sounds flat, lol.

Do you have a digital tuner? most of them are chromatic, so you can fret the string and pluck it and determine exactly how off it is.

Try lightening your touch just a little. It can be tricky to find the balance between pressing hard enough to get a solid tone and not so hard as to adversely effect the pitch.

Using a tuner can help you get a feel for how much pressure to use. (Keep in mind the tuner will only help when checking single notes, not chords.)

buddhuu
08-13-2009, 10:52 PM
On some instruments it is possible to flatten a note by being heavy handed with the fretting hand.

Years ago I had a Gibson SG guitar that had a fairly shallow and flexible neck. Fretting hard I would sometimes get my palm acting as a fulcrum: my fingers pressing down and my thumb pressing up would slightly flex the neck to noticeably flatten notes a fraction.

Lovely guitar, but that bendy neck was a real problem.

Harold O.
08-14-2009, 04:29 AM
I can't recognize a flat from a sharp when strumming chords, but I can say that if you are pressing hard, it can slow your transition to the next chord.

Skottoman
08-14-2009, 04:58 AM
Pressing too hard can and will "Sharpen" a note on some ukes. The theory here is you are putting more tension on the string and making it tighter, thus making it "Sharp".

Try playing 1 string, then pressing with different pressure and see if you can hear the change.

I actually use this technique to help tune my uke when I'm playing. If I'm playing a chord, and a string doesn't sound right, I'll press hard to see if "Sharpening" the note brings the chord in tune. If it does, then I'll tighten that string a bit, if not, then i'll loosen it (But that's rarely the case).

Hope that helps,
Cheers,
Skottoman

Lori
08-14-2009, 07:32 AM
I've read many posts in which folks say they've been "pressing too hard on the strings", or "fretting too hard". I don't get it.

As long as the string makes contact with the fret wire, what difference does it make how hard you press on the fret board? Surely pressing too hard can cause unneccesary hand/wrist fatigue, etc.....and maybe even premature wear and tear on both strings and fret board....but what's the difference musically?

The consensus seems to be that fretting too hard can affect intonation, but I don't understand how....

I have tended to press too hard because I have been accustomed to guitar and banjo. The longer strings and higher tension requires more pressure to get a clean sound. Somehow, those longer length scales are also less likely to show up the flaws in inadvertently bending a note sharp. As I play smaller and smaller sizes, I find that my finger pressure and position become very important to the intonation.

–Lori

DaveVisi
08-14-2009, 08:04 AM
I posted a Youtube vid recently on a similar topic about having trouble pressing hard enough for barre chords.

Here it is again for those who missed it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yaoE1yBo1Zg

ihavenotea
08-14-2009, 08:47 AM
I posted a Youtube vid recently on a similar topic about having trouble pressing hard enough for barre chords.

Here it is again for those who missed it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yaoE1yBo1Zg

That was helpful. After lunch I will have to grab my ukulele and play around with that. Thanks!

hoosierhiver
08-14-2009, 09:39 AM
If I press too hard on the strings, I notice the notes go flat.

I wonder if you are flattening out your finger and the meat of your digit is covering the string above the fret and deadening the sound.

SuperSecretBETA
08-14-2009, 10:45 AM
Most ukuleles have extremely low fret height. Unless for some reason, you scalloped your fretboard, I'd say it's pretty hard to bend it more than 5cents before the string touches the surface--hardly a difference, but definitely something to avoid if you want to make fine touches to your technique; that and the added benefit of not over-working your arm.