Why Are My Guitar Strings So Hard to Press?

Why Are My Guitar Strings So Hard to Press?

Have you ever found yourself trying to play your guitar and it feels like the strings are really hard to press down? It turns out that there are many factors that could be the cause of this.

If you’ve been playing for a while, maybe your fingers have started feeling sore or tired. Maybe your hands aren’t strong enough to push down on the strings anymore because they’re not used to it.

Or, maybe you just haven’t played in a while and need some practice before those calluses will come back again!

Whatever the case may be, if this is something new or ongoing with no change when you take a break from playing then it’s time for an adjustment!

In this article, we will consider the possible reasons that your guitar strings are hard to press down on, as well as a few other questions that pertain to one of the most important features of your guitar.

There could be a few main reasons that your guitar strings are hard to press, and in this section we’ll discuss the most probable reasons, but it usually boils down to string action, gauge, or whether or not you have developed your finger calluses.

String Height

If the string action on your guitar is set too high, then it makes the strings extremely difficult to press down on. 

A few things that can cause your action to be too high include a warped neck, a high bridge, and the height of the nut, which is the white slotted contraption near the first fret. 

One way that the neck can be adjusted to make it easier to press on the strings is by adjusting the truss rod. Most people do not know how to adjust the truss rod on their own.

It is for that reason that it would be better to have a professional adjust the rod for you, otherwise, you could damage your guitar indefinitely when done incorrectly.

String Gauge

Another reason that your guitar strings may be hard to press is that the strings are not the right gauge for your fingers or playing style. 

Heavier strings will be much harder to press than lighter gauge strings. This is especially true if you’re still in the beginning stages of your guitar journey.

And if you’re not a beginner, it could be that you’ve been using the same string gauges over and over again, and your fingers are not yet used to the thicker gauge of strings.

With that being said, it would be hard to play certain genres of music like blues, rock, and metal, if your guitar strings are too thin. 

The best compromise for this would be to use medium gauge strings, which are not too light, and not too heavy. And medium strings are usually just fine for any type of genre.

Your Finger Calluses

Underdeveloped finger calluses are usually the culprit when it comes to beginning guitar players and strings that are hard to press. 

Finger calluses do take some time to develop and once you do earn those calluses, pressing on the strings will be much easier to do. 

Fortunately, you can speed up the process of developing your calluses by playing a minimum of 4 times a week for about 20 minutes each.

It’s much better to practice in short spurts than longer sessions when you’re first starting out because calluses do hurt and it can make a beginner want to give up completely. But eventually, you’ll get them.

How Hard Should I Press My Guitar Strings?

The first thing you want to make sure of is that you are placing your fingers in the correct spots on the fretboard.

Placing your finger too far back on the fret will usually result in fret buzz unless you press really really hard, which we want to avoid. 

Make sure to place your fingers as close to the frets as possible to avoid having to press hard on the strings. Obviously, there will be some chords that make this virtually impossible, but do what you can.

To put it simply, you’ll want to press on the strings only as much as it needs to be to produce a clear sound, with no fret buzzing or muffling.

What Guitar Strings Are the Best for Beginners?

When you are first starting out, you may want to use light guitar strings, preferably ones that start out at .09 gauge to .12 gauge. It should also be noted that sometimes, lighter gauge strings tend to break a little easier.

If your goal, however, is to learn mostly rock, blues, or metal licks, then you’ll probably want to go with some medium gauge strings. It’s really a personal preference and what your goals are when you’re first starting out. 

If you plan on only playing acoustic campfire songs, then lighter gauge strings are what would be the most ideal for that situation, especially in the beginning.

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I love playing around with various types of guitar gear so I started this website to share my guitar gear knowledge with the world. Enjoy!

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