Here are two more interesting emails and comments I have got lately.

I hope you find the emails and my thoughts useful…

Email #1

“Hi Dan

On one of your videos you show how to look away when you’re strumming and placing fingers on the chords.

This appears really difficult because there is no datum to start from?

I taught myself to touch type a few years ago but you have a datum of J and H to start from which makes everything else work fine.

I would appreciate further guidance on this if possible, chord progression is hard enough when looking at the neck never mind when you can’t look.

I only started playing the guitar from scratch in mid January this year.  I’m 74 but 21 in my head.”

– John


It’s very early days for John, so it will take some time to get to this point…but this is a good question.

The whole reason for avoiding looking at your hands when you play is this…

To build up spatial awareness, prevent dreaded pauses, and allow the music to flow.


In terms of getting good at this skillset, one way to improve is this…

  • Choose one chord (let’s say the G Major chord).
  • Close your eyes, feel the strings, and try to find the low E string with your fretting hand’s middle finger.
  • When you find this string, move up the string until you reach fret 3.
  • Now place your middle finger on this string at fret 3
  • …And then use this finger as an “anchor” and place the other fingers on the strings to form the full chord shape.


Be patient, really engage with your sense of feel, and breathe as you do this.

Later, you can (and should) try to get all the fingers on the chord at the same time.

You can repeat this process for other chords and, over time, you will improve your spatial awareness.

That’s just one example, and it takes some patience, but building up spatial awareness can be one of the best long-term things you do for your playing.

It doesn’t get spoken about enough, but it’s very important.

Stick with it – every little bit of focused practice helps!


Email #2

“Om gosh, lol, what an ‘eye opener’ in over 50+ years of stop/start ‘trying’ to play guitar…

…NO-ONE has ever covered that!

Most of the time, the dialogue is along the lines of ‘it will hurt’ ‘you will build callouses’ ‘press hard’.

As a teenager, ‘callouses’ were a passage of ‘rites’ – aha, you must be practicing well, you’ve got callouses, lol!

Thank you, Dan,”



Good stuff.

What Michael was talking about was a lesson on one of the most fundamental things I tell all students, which is…

You do NOT need excessive pressure on the fretboard.

It’s super simple what I taught him, but yep, it’s strange and shocking that no one really talks about this stuff.

I get bugged by the whole “you have to go through the pain barrier rite of passage” thing many preach.


I tell my students this as much as possible…

  • Get a guitar that feels comfortable for you to play and ensure it is nicely set up.
  • Place your fingers very close to the frets and use the least amount of pressure needed for the note to ring clear (I call this Minimum Pressure Required, or “MPR” for short).


If your fingers ever get sore when you play on a regular basis, spend a few minutes each day making “MPR” a good habit.

Your fingers will thank you for it.

This might be new to you, or if you’ve been a reader for a while, you’ll have heard me say it before.

Either way, I hope you find it useful.


…And if you’ve struggled on the guitar before and want the basics nailed, you can check out my 7-day course.

It’s a short and simple little course, but it will help you discover multiple things you might not have ever been told (plus, it comes with some great bonuses).

Find out more about the 7-Day Transformation course


Have a great day and keep nailing those fundamentals.

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.

Add Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.