Maybe more accurately we can call this your fretting hand. The position of your playing hand can truly differentiate whether you play your guitar adequately, or if you completely master your instrument. But let’s take a look at how your fingers should be fretting (pushing on) the strings. Keep your arm and shoulder relaxed and keep your elbow tucked into your body. See the article on Sitting and Posture for Classical Guitar in case you missed it. 2. The basics of left hand position on the guitar by Shawn Bradshaw. And it needs to stay in a safe and healthy position to avoid injury. As best you can, keep your fingers in the upper half of the fret space (closest to your body and the body of the guitar), being careful not to be on top of the fret wire, or to cross over to the next higher fret. Sure, there are times where you will need to put the thumb square on the back of the neck , eg bar chords or playing lower strings combinations, however generally the standard position of the left hand thumb should look like this, resting on the mid-side of the guitar that is closest to the lower strings: 11/22/2020 7:21:49 AM. Follow the tips below if you want to learn how to position the fingers correctly, how to press down the strings and how to achieve a clear sounding note. Thumb Position for Guitar is a free video lesson for beginning guitar players by Peter Vogl. Everybody has a slightly different approach, but there are some general guidlines to follow. Left-hand position: Fretting made easy. This is a good starting position but it may vary depending on what notes If while playing you notice your finger is in the middle or heading towards the back fo the fret, you should try to move it up until it's close to the fret. After a while – if you are practicing with good technique – this will become second nature and your playing will start to sound smoother and smoother. The thumb is placed in the middle on the back of the guitar neck. Your strumming/picking hand plays some part in the melody too (more so when playing fingerstyle) but is more responsible for the rhythm (and of course your fretting hand contributes to the rhythm too particulary with hammer-ons, pull-offs, slides, bends etc). What we are going to take a look at in this lesson are some general guidelines to give you a starting point. Another reason is also your choice of instrument. – Leave a space between your palm and the neck. Left Hand Position Really Matters! This is a very unnatural position for human’s hand and obviously maintaining that fretting hand position angle will cause pain and discomfort even when playing guitar for a short period of time. This is probably the more intuitive way people think of guitar positions, and it’s pretty easy to understand too. Going through Fundamental One my left hand position was pretty good until I started on the chords lesson. You want to place your left hand thumb on the back of the guitar neck toward the middle. For all the southpaws out there, Muso's understands that it can be a little frustrating living a world dominated by right handed players, and therefore right handed guitars. By keeping it loose and relaxed, you’ll be able to fret the strings with the least amount of effort. Play some simple things with your thumb behind the neck and your wrist in this position. This is hard to do if your hand is not in the right position. *Here is a great trick for getting a feel for the proper left and position: find a pencil or a pen that is at least 5 or more inches and hold it in your hand as seen in the picture below. Rest Thumb Lightly on the Guitar Neck. Again – it may be the case that at first you find that your hand fatigues or your fingers are sore. This makes it easier to play clearer and cleaner notes. Try this: Sit down and assume your regular playing position. So if you are feeling like you are getting sore doing this then stop playing for a while, rather than continuing with the wrong technique. Left hand position and finger placement (fretting hand) The thumb of your fretting hand should rest behind the neck of the guitar placing it approximately between your first two fingers. So it can be hard for the beginner to see why the other hand—the plucking hand— is normally considered the dominant hand in guitar playing. Classic position … Knowing proper left-hand position for bass guitar will make fretting chords and fingering strings simpler because the left hand will be more comfortable. Anyway, the point of this post is to discuss the proper positioning of the fretting hand and how to use that hand properly. Pressure – you don't want to press the fingers too hard against the strings. You should fret the strings with the tips of your fingers. Well right hand for Jimi Hendrix Sometimes the solos are chopped up a little, I wanted the focus to be on the hand position. A neutral position for the thumb is vertically in the middle of the neck and laterally in line with your index finger. For now the idea of the thumb is to use it to help you press down on the strings by providing counter pressure – and should otherwise be out of the way. This position is what most guitar teachers learn. Embellishments – it is easy to use other fingers for. I will definitely show this article to my daughter, I am sure she will learn a lot from your website. This is considered by most to be the proper way to play while sitting down. Copyright © 2015 - 2020 - SixStringAcoustic.com - Privacy Policy. Relax … See all articles about guitar. It is easier to play a nylon string guitar than an acoustic steel string guitar, and it is easier to play an electric guitar than a nylon string guitar. Position: Students will: 1. 1. You don’t want your set up to stop you from practicing properly. The hand needs no muscle activity to stay here. String Bending. It is also important to feel comfortable when playing guitar, and not force yourself to something you don’t like. Another factor that can compromise the tone of your fretted note is improper position in the fret space. So if you need to place your finger in the second fret, it means that you are placing your finger between the 1st and 2nd frets – but it should be as close to the 2nd fret as possible. Your fretting hand is the hand that presses down on the strings. Learn these left handed guitar chords and the world of bar chords will open up to you because basic bar chords are just the simple open chords further up the neck. Your hand should look about like that after you stick a guitar neck in there. Home base position To find the best general position for your left shoulder, upper arm, forearm, and wrist, position your guitar and right arm properly, then drop your entire left arm (or right, if you’re left-handed) from the shoulder toward the ground. We can think of it as “quiet”. It will be difficult at first and you’ll probably get a sore hand and/or wrist and/or fingers. These are all performed with the fretting hand, which is the left hand on a right-hand guitar. Just keep your sessions short – you want to be practicing right for a short amount of time – not wrong for long periods of time! Left hand position and finger placement (fretting hand) The thumb of your fretting hand should rest behind the neck of the guitar placing it approximately between your first two fingers. In the video below you will watch 14 great rock and blues players use this left hand guitar position. In this guitar lesson I am going to show you what I think is the best way to position your left hand on the guitar neck. Muting strings – the thumb could be used to mute the top strings that shouldn't be played when strumming chord. Your left wrist is should be generally flat, or in a slight and natural arch. Left Hand Position Really Matters! O.k. The left hand is straight, in-line with the forearm. If you are holding the guitar correctly you should not feel the need to hold the neck up with your fretting hand. But you are better to play with the correct technique for 10 minutes than to play poorly for 30 minutes. so this post is called “Left Hand Position on Guitar” but this may not be your left hand – if you are left handed then your “fretting” hand will be your right hand. The left hand, in the classical guitar, is in charge of press notes on the handle. There are three rules that I like to teach to all of my students. If your thumb is too high up the neck, or resting on the top of the neck on a guitar with a wider neck you run the risk of muting the high strings of the guitar with the palm of your hand. In Classical Guitar, the left hand presses the strings against the frets to determine the pitch of each note. Thumb Position for Guitar is a free video lesson for beginning guitar players by Peter Vogl. The practice here is that only the thumb and your fingertips should touch the guitar. This is why you sometimes see guitarists who have short fingernails on their fretting hand and long fingernails on their plucking hand (if they play fingerstyle with their nails). Knowing proper left-hand position for bass guitar will make fretting chords and fingering strings simpler because the left hand will be more comfortable. If your guitar starts to wobble around, or worse still, does a face plant, then you’re probably not holding it right. Place your thumb behind the neck of your guitar, making sure that it is positioned between your first two fingers. Assume Your Best General Position. Relax shoulders, bend the left arm at the elbow and elevate the left hand so that left hand finger 2 is over the 2nd fret 3rd string. Any less creates a buzz or thumbing sound. The “Classical” and “Rock” postures. With your left hand on the guitar, proper finger placement is right behind the fret. It helps to keep the wrist of the fretting hand in a more neutral position and the player will find that sitting up nice and straight is most comfortable, taking unnecessary strain off of the back and neck. What we are going to take a look at in this lesson are some general guidelines to give you a starting point. Note: half way through the lessons to the chord section I switch to the classical position - acoustic guitar - which I found to be a better position for me. Your thumb should be positioned behind the neck of the guitar or resting on the top of the neck. The rules above describe the optimal left hand position. YouTube Lesson Link Make sure to bend all your knuckles (1st, 2nd and 3rd). By using the "bat grip" (see the right part of the picture above), you will hold the guitar in a firm grip. For non-classical guitar players, the standard playing position is seated, with the guitar resting on the right leg (for right-handers). 2. For this reason it is important to set up your left hand correctly right from the beginning of your development. These are all performed with the fretting hand, which is the left hand on a right-hand guitar. The real key is that the neck be above the left elbow to allow for a good fretting hand position and to avoid over bending the wrist. This fretting hand position is very common for playing blues. Sit up tall. The classical guitar thumb position is the most effective hand position for playing barre chords and most scale fingering patterns. Your fretting hand is usually your non-dominant hand – and your dominant hand does the picking and the strumming. Any more tension than this is wasted. This is a good starting position but it may vary depending on what notes As you become more advanced you’ll find new positions and you’ll find you’ll need to adjust your position at times for certain chords and techniques – but use this as your foundation. Try this: Sit down and assume your regular playing position. Basic Left Hand Position and Alignment Exercises for Classical Guitar from my 20 Favorite Exercises for Classical Guitar – For beginner to intermediate classical guitarists. Last updated: April 15, 2020 by Nate 2 Comments. But this is a more advanced technique. Place left foot on the footstool. If your guitar starts to wobble around, or worse still, does a face plant, then you’re probably not holding it right. Make sense?--jam As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. 5. A buzzy note is often a sign that you aren’t pressing hard enough (though it could also mean that your guitar needs a setup adjustment – if you press as hard as you can and you still get fret buzz then it’s likely that your action is too low). If you have ever had challenges getting your left hand to stay in position or get your fourth finger to remain close to the fingerboard, this exercise will likely be helpful. The left hand thumb should be open and relaxed. Once you become better, switch between Classical and Modern.Rule 2: Press down the fret with the fingertip. My daughter wants to learn to play guitar, but she is left handed. Everybody has a slightly different approach, but there are some general guidlines to follow. The majority of chord charts and tabs cater to the right-handed guitarist, so the left handers have to transform the charts or tabs before they can be played.This can be frustrating and very time consuming. Extend your left hand, palm up, and make a loose fist, placing your thumb roughly between your first and second fingers. The basics of left hand position on the guitar by Shawn Bradshaw. Because of the demands of left hand playing, it is not always possible to stay in this position. You want to place your left hand thumb on the back of the guitar neck toward the middle. How to Hold a Guitar. We naturally want to grip or prepare to play. posted on April 28, 2019. Meaning #1: Fret Position. Place left foot on the footstool. And it needs to stay in a safe and healthy position to avoid injury. Some of the advantages are as follows: To summarize and generalize: holding your guitar in this manner is especially suited than playing western guitar, whereas the other alternative may be more optimal when playing classical guitar. Now, raise your fretting hand. The following left handed guitar chord chart is for the most basic chords. What is the “Neutral” Position? Your email address will not be published. 4. Stand Up I'd keep it up to just below shoulder level, then it would benefit your left hand's awkward angle.. – user28834 May 24 '16 at 5:42 It is very important to practice this as it sounds awful when done badly. Since everybody has mention all other things, you might try keeping your guitar strap a little shorter so that your left doesn't have that extreme curled up position. Check out the video below for more on thumb positioning for classical guitar, which is a good starting point. Left Hand Position Exercise for Classical Guitar. Place the guitar at a "45-degree angle to the floor" resting on the left leg. All the complex chords evolve from these basic chords. Don’t tense everything up. Next step: bring this hand position to the guitar. Position: Students will: 1. 6. Getting this right at the beginning of your guitar playing journey will make you a better guitarist in the long run. A good printable left-hand guitar chord chart is probably hard to come by in a mostly right-handed world.. The point here is that the position of the guitar has a lot to do with which hand positions are/are not comfortable. Note: half way through the lessons to the chord section I switch to the classical position - acoustic guitar - which I found to be a better position for me. The classical guitar thumb position is the most effective hand position for playing barre chords and most scale fingering patterns. However, problems can arise with the fretting hand, as the left arm has a poor approach angle to the guitar neck. Sit up tall. Correct left-hand positions on the guitar. Exercise: squeeze a light fist a few times, then release your hand. The correct left hand position can have a big effect on how easy it is to play the guitar. These are essential for playing lead guitar. posted on April 28, 2019. String Bending. The left hand is required to run a lot of tasks while playing the guitar, and classical repertoire in particular makes hefty demands. If you have any comments or questions please feel free to leave them in the comments section below. Save my name and email in this browser for the next time I comment. In many situations, this positions is most advantageous. Here, the butt of the guitar rests between the legs with the neck angled upward. Here is an example of a live performance of a song “Thrill is gone” by the great B.B. It needs to avoid muting the other strings. Extra possibilities for bass notes – to have your thumb near the sixth string could come handy for playing the bass notes. #1. Your wrist should remain straight and the palm of your hand should be parallel to the bottom of the neck. On guitar, the left hand needs to press the strings in the perfect place for each note. The classic position that can be seen to the left on the picture above is recommended by many guitar teachers – it is somewhat of the scholar approach. On an electric guitar especially, the fingerboard width is narrower and the profile of the neck is shallower. As you can see most guitar players are holding their fret hand at an angle while jamming. On guitar, the left hand needs to press the strings in the perfect place for each note. And playing the guitar is fairly complex. Use the tip of your fingers to press down the strings and place them as close to the fret as possible. Although the explained position above is great, there are other ways to hold the guitar that can bring advantages in many situations. Instead it should be slightly to the left of the fingers. As best you can, keep your fingers in the upper half of the fret space (closest to your body and the body of the guitar), being careful not to be on top of the fret wire, or to cross over to the next higher fret. Filed Under: basic techniques, Guitar lessons. With some chords, you aren’t able to get that close to the frets and that’s fine, just try to place your fingers as close to the frets as possible. Check out the video below to see an example of this. Rock/Blues Greats Using this Hand Position. To find the best general position for your left shoulder, upper arm, forearm, and wrist, position your guitar and right arm properly, then drop your entire left arm (or right, if you’re left-handed) from the shoulder toward the ground. It is simple in concept but very effective at developing good habits in your left hand technique. The point here is that the position of the guitar has a lot to do with which hand positions are/are not comfortable. so this post is called “Left Hand Position on Guitar” but this may not be your left hand – if you are left handed then your “fretting” hand will be your right hand. Meaning #1: Fret Position. By doing that you will develop fingers stretch and dexterity. When you hold your guitar, your fretting hand should not be involved in keeping it in place. The correct left hand position can have a big effect on how easy it is to play the guitar. Rest Thumb Lightly on the Guitar Neck. It is simple in concept but very effective at developing good habits in your left hand technique. 11/22/2020 7:21:49 AM. Classical Guitar Left Hand Position. We will discuss where to place the thumb of your left hand on the back of the guitar neck for the best results. This same technique applies to left-handed guitarists – it’s just that their right hand is their fretting hand. This technique is essential for Blues, Rock and many other styles - I have included a couple of old lessons here but I think you're much better of learning these techniques in context and they're included in my Blues Lead Guitar 1: Essential module where you'll learn all about the technique and some cool licks (words) to put them to use in! The only issue that left-handed guitarists have is that there is typically a smaller selection of left-handed guitars to buy compared to right-handed guitars. Guitar Left Hand Position. There is a bit more leeway for a thumb to be higher on the back of the neck. This is because the fingerboard is wider and the neck often has a deeper profile. The left hand is required to run a lot of tasks while playing the guitar, and classical repertoire in particular makes hefty demands. Assume Your Best General Position. This is probably the more intuitive way people think of guitar … Answer: The left-hand fingers press strings, just behind the fret. The proper position also … No method is the only correct way of holding the guitar, but there are two predominant styles. Your palm (at the base of your fingers) should sit below the neck. If your nails are too long this can be difficult. This page caters for the left handed guitarist wanting to learn basic guitar chords that are easy to understand and easy to play. Use the tip of your fingers to press down the strings and place them as close to the fret as possible. This is a casual position, and it works nicely for most guitar types and body types. Make sense?--jam There are many awesome left-handed guitarists out there – Jimi Hendricks being one of them, of course. This position causes energy to be drained faster, and your hand would be fatigued sooner than normal. Let your hand remain completely passive. site map • about • contact • links • privacy policy, Classic position (left) and bat grip (right). 21 Guitar Playing Tips Every Beginner Should Know, Tips for Learning How to Play the Guitar and Sing at the Same Time, Acoustic Guitar Stands: Ways to Keep Your Guitar When Not Playing, Takamine Serial Numbers: What They Can Tell You and How to Decode Them. Now, raise your fretting hand. Basically from a straight arm position at your side with your palms facing forward you should be able to bend your elbow and be in a position to play the guitar. On a classical (nylon string) guitar it is more important to make sure that you have your thumb on the back of the neck – and it easier to keep it there. The correct fret hand technique when playing either electric or acoustic guitar allows you to rock through the night without any cramping or pain in your hands. Home base position All your knuckles should be bent. The best sound is achieved when you place your finger close to the fret. Going through Fundamental One my left hand position was pretty good until I started on the chords lesson. Your arm will need to be in the right place to get your wrist and palm where they should be. There are different ways to hold the guitar with the left hand (or the right hand if using a horizontally mirrored guitar). posted on June 8, 2012. So you want to play relaxed too – you want to try to find that nice balance of playing lightly but with just enough pressure to get a clear sounding note. Check out the link below to see if your guitars action is too high or too low. Insert the guitar neck between the fingers and thumb. O.k. It needs to avoid muting the other strings. 3. Meaning #1: Fret Position – where the left hand is located on the guitar fretboard; Meaning #2: Scale Pattern – the notes of a scale on the fretboard if you stay in the same fret position. Economy – try to switch from a bar chord to an open chord or from a power chord to open, and you will only need very little movement if you are holding the thumb on the back of the neck. Reach – compare different positions and you will notice that it is best for the hand to be in a horizontal position along the fretboard, and this will happen with the explained grip. Follow the guidelines on this page to quickly learn proper left hand technique. Left Hand Position Exercise for Classical Guitar. The position of your left hand will vary depending on what you are playing. Hey guys, welcome to the lesson n.2 of the beginner guitar course. How to Hold a Guitar. A neutral position for the thumb is vertically in the middle of the neck and laterally in line with your index finger. It has several rewards and among these are: Now try out for yourself and see what you think. King. In fact, if your guitar is in tune, it is very hard to play a note out of tune, unless you bend. In Classical Guitar, the left hand presses the strings against the frets to determine the pitch of each note. 3. Here are a few tips to make sure that you are getting a good sound out of your guitar. The idea is to "bend" (push a string across or over the fingerboard with your left-hand fingers) so that the string gets tighter and the pitch goes up. Meaning #1: Fret Position – where the left hand is located on the guitar fretboard; Meaning #2: Scale Pattern – the notes of a scale on the fretboard if you stay in the same fret position. Acoustic vs Bass Guitar: Which is better for Beginners. Relax shoulders, bend the left arm at the elbow and elevate the left hand so that left hand finger 2 is over the 2nd fret 3rd string. It should not come over the top of the guitar’s neck, and it should not behind the fingers. Place the guitar at a "45-degree angle to the floor" resting on the left leg. There are different ways to hold the guitar with the left hand (or the right hand if using a horizontally mirrored guitar). This is a casual position, and it works nicely for most guitar types and body types. Place your thumb behind the neck of your guitar, making sure that it is positioned between your first two fingers. When you hold your guitar, your fretting hand should not be involved in keeping it in place. If you have ever had challenges getting your left hand to stay in position or get your fourth finger to remain close to the fingerboard, this exercise will likely be helpful. Some guitarists use the thumb to come over the top of the neck to play notes or to mute the Low E string. If you find your elbow moving away from your body (chicken winging), tuck it back in. Make sure to bend all your knuckles (1st, 2nd and 3rd). It is the main creator of the melody and the chords. This is a very unnatural position for human’s hand and obviously maintaining that fretting hand position angle will cause pain and discomfort even when playing guitar for a short period of time. Maintain good posture and sitting position by following the X- Y axis with the shoulders and the spine. Thank you very much for this excellent post! It should not be touching the neck. So it can be hard for the beginner to see why the other hand—the plucking hand— is normally considered the dominant hand in guitar playing. There are two seated positions for the guitar that are largely the most accepted. Rock/Blues Greats Using this Hand Position. You need to exert enough pressure your finger so that a clear sound is heard and that there is no fret buzz. Playing with a sharp bend in the wrist is ok from time to time when attempting big stretches or awkward chord voicings, but should not be the default position. The fact that your daughter is left-handed doesn’t disadvantage her at all when it comes to playing guitar. We will discuss where to place the thumb of your left hand on the back of the guitar neck for the best results. Whilst it differs depending on the steel string acoustic guitar you have, on a steel string acoustic guitar the neck is closer in width and shape to an electric guitar than it is to a classical (nylon string) guitar. The thumb is placed in the back of the neck, and his job is to give stability and balance. Your email address will not be published. What you practice will become a habit – so if you practice the wrong thing a lot then it will be much harder to start playing with the proper technique. However, problems can arise with the fretting hand, as the left arm has a poor approach angle to the guitar neck. Is this could be a problem for her? 1. What is the best left hand position on guitar? 5. posted on June 8, 2012. Left Hand Technique for Classical Guitar. With your thumb, wrist and palm in the right position, your fingers should naturally be in the right position. We should be able to stay in this position for any length of time. So, you can't take the position of the hand in isolation - you have to take the position of the hand AND the position of the guitar into consideration. You should place your finger as close to the fret as you can (without actually putting your finger on the fret). Notes on the back of the guitar your fretting hand is usually your non-dominant hand – your... Fist on the chords lesson? ” and the profile of the neck with... The spine is simple in concept but very effective at developing good habits in your left hand to! - 2020 - SixStringAcoustic.com - Privacy Policy, classic position … another factor that can compromise the tone of development. The fingertip the melody and the profile of the hand needs to in. Gone ” by the great B.B you place your thumb near the string! 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