fingers shaking

Here’s an interesting email I got a while back. I get this sort of email a fair bit, so I’m sure many of you can relate to this.


“I’m a slow player but whenever I try to play fast my hands shake so I want to be able to play with more control.

Been playing about 10 years. I play acoustic as well so maybe you can help me playing chordal melodies so I can play solo, and it will still sound awesome.

I want to improve my playing so I can jam with talented people and just join in, so I don’t appear like a beginner.”

My response…

All of the above stuff mentioned I can help with, but first, it’s pretty clear we need to fix the important issue…

Shaking fingers.

This is a big sign of excessive tension.


Sure, you can learn all the fun stuff, but if your fingers shake, it’s likely you’ll struggle as you’ll just be too tense and rigid to play the fancy stuff smoothly.

Tension in the fingers often comes from being tense in your body.

Breathing slowly and deeply will help you to relax your body and therefore your fingers.

If your fingers ever shake, try this:

  • Choose the easiest piece of music you know and play it
  • Go super slowly, as slow as you possibly can and watch your fingers closely – try to spot if the fingers still shake
  • If they do, spend some time practising slowly, breathing deeply, and really trying to control the fingers while learning to relax them
  • Scan your body up and down for signs of tension
  • Just play the first two notes or chords of a piece at this super slow speed over and over, ensuring you are NOT pressing too hard. Keep the muscles in your body, arm, and fingers relaxed, and focus on removing any tension.
  • When those notes are more fluid, try the next two notes/chords, and so on…


Believe me, at least 9/10 guitarists play with tension and worst of all, they don’t realise they do.
Playing fast often just exaggerates what is happening when you play slow, but it’s not as easy to spot when playing fast.

Hence why going slow is important.

Use the quick tips above, and remember, the first thing to do when it comes to fixing tension and the finger shakes is to be aware of it.

The above exercise is very much a little summary of what I call “anti-tension” exercises.

These are the exercises I teach that will quickly reduce tension and finger shakiness when you play.

Not only that, but they’ll also make playing more enjoyable…

(I think of it as making your fingers land on the strings with the grace and effortlessness of a butterfly).


As well as this, “anti-tension” exercises are powerful and are some of the key foundational principles behind playing good barre chords.

To discover 9 anti-tension exercises, and much more, check out my course on sale until tomorrow night…

The Ultimate Guide to Barre Chords

The obvious benefit is that these exercises will improve your barre chords, but the not so obvious benefit is that they will help improve all your playing, like by reducing tension.


Have a great day…

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 gxreat 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.


When How To Play Guitar #2023 Updated Information
May 7, 2023 Reply

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