I've been playing more and more percussive fingerstyle, and one thing I have trouble with is getting volume when hitting strings with only my left hand, for example like Jon Gomm and others. Especially for the higher strings.

I am currently using light-gauge strings (cycling various brands and types), with a rather low action, on a Taylor 214. Does anyone have any knowledge on this? I suppose that heavier strings would help, but I would like to ask before I get my truss-rod adjusted again as there isn't somewhere conveniently close to where I live.

1 Answer 1


It sounds glib - but learn to adjust the guitar yourself! Certainly if there's no-one local to help you. It's not difficult, and with care, not risky. Turn the nut a quarter each time, re-tighten the strings, wait a while, and check.

Heavier gauge strings will be more effective, but will be harder work. You have to be quite brutal with hammer-ons using l.h., and of course pretty accurate where your fingers hit. It's not an easy technique, so loads of practice! But as soon as your fingers start to tell you they've had enough, let them rest.

  • I always thought about that, but everywhere (on the internet) I've looked for this, I've usually seen warnings of "unless you know exactly what you're doing, you risk damaging your guitar permanently!"... So after turning the nut, re-tightening the strings, waiting a while... what do I actually check for?
    – Steve Heim
    Mar 31, 2018 at 15:31
  • 1
    You check to see what made the cracking noise... only kidding! Sight along the neck to see how close the strings are to the frets, and if there is still a slight bowing. Play each fret for buzzing, if o.k., turn again, and re-check. It's a methodical job to take time over, don't rush, as the guitar needs to settle after each adjustment.
    – Tim
    Mar 31, 2018 at 15:37

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