Guitar Strings Too Hard To Press On? Check These 8 Essential Tips


Do you feel it’s just too hard for you to press on the strings on your guitar? There are many possible reasons why is that so. In this article, I took my time to present some essential tips and tricks for making it easier.

I hope this will help you. Let’s go!

1. Action Height

If it’s hard for you to press on the strings onto fretboard, the first thing you should do is to check the action height, or action (in short).

What is the action? It’s the distance between the top of the fret and the bottom of the string. If this distance is too big, you’ll experience problems.

First problem you’ll notice is that it’s just not so comfortable to press the strings. That’s obvious, since the distance between strings and fretboard is too big. You then have to use more force and energy to press the string onto fretboard.

How to know the action on your guitar is too high? Well, if it’s too low, your guitar will buzz. That’s because strings are then too close to the fretboard. Every time you pluck the string, then, the string vibration will touch the fret, and you’ll hear buzzing.

You should adjust the action just high enough you don’t hear any buzzing. Some guitar players do like higher action, though.

Nevertheless, action too high will almost certainly make it harder to press strings. The most usual way to adjust action to raise or lower the saddles on a bridge.

Anyway, watch this helpful video, so you can see how to properly adjust action.

Of course, if you’re a guitar beginner without much experience, it’s best to take your guitar in the hand of professionals. There’s no need to risk any potential damage for your guitar.

2. String Gauge

There are different strings when it comes to thickness. Thicker strings are usually 0.11s.

Thicker, and heavier, strings are harder to bend, among other things. They provide stronger tension to the guitar neck. Overall, it is harder to play with thicker and heavier strings, especially if you’re a guitar beginner.

If you’re feeling it’s just too hard for you to press strings onto fretboard, you might just as well use lighter gauge strings.

Get yourself a pack of lighter strings, perhaps 0.9s or 0.10s. These will make the pressing easier, that’s for sure.

3. Nut

Nut is a small, but important part of every guitar. As such, it can be the source of many playing issues, as well.

It is important to adjust nut height properly on your guitar. If the nut height is too big, the action of your guitar will be too high. It’s the same other way around.

Now, you already know what problems may arise as a result of a bad guitar action.

There’s one more thing, also. It’s the nut slots. What are nut slots? Those are slots in which strings sit and pass from headstock to the bridge. Nut slots can be too narrow, for example.

In that case, the string won’t sit in its nut properly, so the action will not be perfect. Also, you may experience some buzzing issues.

Anyway, check out if the nut on your guitar is properly mounted and adjusted. Of course, if you don’t have experience in such things, seek out for professional help!

4. Truss Rod Adjustment

This is another important factor for this issue. Truss rod adjustment. The truss rod on your guitar has to be properly adjusted. Otherwise, you’ll almost certainly experience either buzzing noise or too high action.

Too high action, as it’s been said, will make pressing too hard.

What is truss rod, anyway? It’s the part of every guitar (accept classical), that acts as a counter tension. Let me explain in a simpler way.

Strings exert a tension on a guitar neck. In order to balance the tension, truss rod exert another tension – this time in the opposite direction. That’s how the balance is achieved.

If you experience the pressing on the strings is just too hard, you’ll maybe need to adjust the truss rod.

How to adjust it? This video helps.

Again, if you don’t have experience in these issues, you better seek professional assistance!

5. Finger Strength

If your guitar is just right, and you still experience those pressing problems, it’s probably because your fingers are still to weak.

There’s nothing unusual about it. Every guitar beginner has weak fingers. Finger strength is something every guitarist has to develop. It is a necessary condition for almost every guitar technique.

If you have weak fingers, it’s perfectly natural that you’re experiencing pressing problems. To press a string onto fretboard requires a certain amount of strength in a finger that’s pressing it.

Check out this related article from this site. You might find it interesting and helpful.

6. String Type

It is important to know the differences between electric, acoustic and classical guitar strings. It may sound silly to someone experienced, but it’s worth noting it.

Classical guitar strings are wider than acoustic ones. Those are nylon strings. Acoustic ones are wider and harder than electric ones. Acoustic guitar uses steel strings. That’s why it’s much easier to press the strings on an electric guitar.

If you’re a guitar beginner, starting with an acoustic or a classical guitar, it’s important for you to know those differences. Also, it’s important not to put classical strings on an acoustic guitar, or the other way around.

For more information, check these interesting articles from this site.

7. Humidity Issues

If pressing the strings on your guitar is too hard, it may easily be the result of too low humidity.

That’s why it is important to monitor the humidity of the room where your guitar is regularly.

Why is the humidity important? Well, if the humidity is too low, your guitar may shrink. To be more precise, guitar neck shrinks in those situations. When that happens, you often end up with the fret sprout.

What is fret sprout? It’s when frets hang on from the guitar neck. That’s because guitar neck shrunk more than steel frets did.

If you live in the areas with harsh winters, or in the areas near the coast, it is especially important to look after the humidity level.

For more information, check the article from this site about it. I hope it will help you.

8. Warm Up

Pressing issues may come because your hand is too cold. If you didn’t do proper warm up routine, you’ll experience discomfort when you play.

It is important to warm your hands and to stretch your fingers. If your hands are too cold, everything, including pressing the strings, becomes harder to perform on a guitar.

Cold hands are common problem. Even I suffer from cold hands occasionally. I hope the following article will help in making your hands a bit warmer.

9. Guitar Differences (Wide Neck)

Lastly, think about differences between each guitar. Some guitars have wider necks, and therefore, to press on the strings on those guitars is a bit harder than usual.

You may want to examine if your guitar has too wide neck for you. Of course, those are the problems characteristic for guitar beginners.

If you’re a beginner looking for a guitar, it is worth knowing what do you want. Therefore, I recommend you to read this article to find out what suits you the best.

Additional Question

How Hard Should I Press The Guitar Strings?

You should press them just enough so you hear the sound that’s full and sustained. Of course, some guitar players prefer harder touch, some lighter. In the end, it’s up to you.

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Final Words

I hope this article gave you some valuable information about pressing issue. If it helped you in any way, I’m more than happy about it. It is always a pleasure helping other fellow guitar brothers all over the world.

Don’t forget to check out other interesting articles from this site about various guitar topics and issues!

Cheers, and rock on!

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