Hopefully, as an aspiring guitarist, the principle of precisely pinching frets with your fingertips has been engrained and you now know that it is very difficult to play well without putting this principle into practice. From slurs to counterpoint, training left hand fingers to place carefully insures the likelihood that our notes will emerge clearly from the guitar. But, as any investigative and intellectually-oriented student will discover, there are many cases where sloppy, finger pad pinching would prove the exception to the rule.
One such case would be when reaching for a bass note while playing or holding voices on the higher strings. If there are a few strings between the bass note and the voices being held, flattening the finger slightly while reaching will relax the hand more so than struggling to arch the fingertip into place.
Another case builds on this idea, what if you could use the flattened finger to silence a note on a neighboring string while simultaneously playing a note to achieve the correct musical intent of the composer or to maintain the integrity of a bass line? I’ve mentioned Bach’s Prelude in D Minor BWV999 before as a great piece to study many aspects of left hand technique so I will use a two measures from it as an example.
I’m hoping to post my edition of BWV999 soon with more pointers but for now, try to find places in your repertoire where it would be advantageous to not pinch so perfectly!