Here are two more interesting emails I have got lately.

I hope you find the emails and my thoughts useful.

Email #1

“Hi Dan

I follow all your advice as best I can at my ripe old age of 74. I find your advice both rewarding and fulfilling. 

Having purchased several of your courses, my playing has come on leaps and bounds.

I agree that tension is a main contributor to playing, so I followed what you had to say and I improved and began to play a lot more fluently.

Which I think is pretty good for someone who only came to guitar at 69 and fingerstyle even later.

Another method I adopted, which helped tremendously, was to try and play as quietly as I could. This had three dramatic effects.

  1. Keeping my fingers nearer to the fretboard.
  2. Minimising amount of movement.
  3. Become more creative without tension at all.


– Tony


That’s good to know.

Less tension = more fluidity.

…Most of the time anyway.

Of course, there are other subtle musical things to keep in mind, such as not looking back and forth at each hand.

…Not having to keep checking notation.

…And not cutting notes short accidentally.

All of those contribute to the big picture, and keeping those in mind while removing tension is so important.


In terms of playing quietly, it can have a big impact.

Quiet playing can help you relax and that can help reduce tension.

For instance, with strumming, many people struggle because they keep getting a harsh and abrasive tone.

That’s often because they grip the pick too tightly.

Playing quietly in this instance can really help.

I would say a word of caution though – you don’t want to get in the habit of playing everything quietly – especially fingerstyle.


Picking notes with a strong and confident tone is important for picking.

It’s all about balance, but do give it a go if you struggle with tension.

Try playing softer, louder, softer, and see what works for you.

Speaking of fingerpicking, this is what Larry said in a comment on the Fingerstyle 101 course…


Email #2

“One thing I do when I’m learning a new pattern (or maybe practicing one I know) is to adapt it to Amazing Grace if I can.

That song is so very flexible. It works well in several keys and slight rhythm changes.

Once I can do that well with a new pattern, it’s mine, I own it now.”

 – Larry


That’s very cool.

I love having “go-to” songs that you can do what you like with.

“Amazing Grace” is a great choice of song for this sort of thing.

I think so mainly because there is no one definitive version, unlike many songs.

…But either way, having a few fingerpicking patterns you can use in your locker at any time is very useful.

It means more options for songs…

More options for jams…

…And more dexterity for your fingers (I say that as each pattern will work your fingers in different ways).


Anyway, those are two reader thoughts this week.

I hope you enjoyed that.

Keep having fun.

…And if you want to check out the Fingerstyle 101 video course for much more on this sort of thing, you can do so below.

Find out more about the Fingerstyle 101 Video Course


Enjoy your Wednesday

Dan Thorpe

Guitar Domination


P.S. This post was originally taken from Dan Thorpe’s private email list. To get blog posts like this sent to you which are full of great tips to make fingerpicking, strumming, and learning guitar more enjoyable (especially if you are over 40) join Dan’s list. It’s 100% free, HERE.

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