My first guitar lessons at age 9 were with a college classical guitar teacher. The book I mention can be found on Amazon: The Bible of Classical Guitar Technique by Hubert Käppel which is an amazing 245 pages of exercises The basics of left hand position on the guitar ... We are going to start with what I call the home base left hand position. The right hand thumb is a quite busy finger and it will usually pluck more than one string. On the Guitar: Perform clapping/closing right hand motion as described for off the guitar. Too often students lag their thumb behind as they move up the neck. The reasons why we keep the thumb in a low position behind the neck to allow the fingers to stretch properly. We’ll also demonstrate how thumb position can affect the ability of your other left hand fingers to stretch over the frets. The correct left hand position can have a big effect on how easy it is to play the guitar. 5. 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: Left Hand Position Really Matters! Your thumb should be somewhere underneath your first and second fingers. For the best right hand position, see here. The left hand thumb should be open and relaxed. Hi I have a short middle finger to the first nuckle on my left hand I'm right handed which hand guitar would you suggest I learn to play left or right handed any help would be great Cheers Brent, Thanks for positing this lesson. All Rights Reserved. 3. Technique is an important part of playing any instrument. Wonderful! Wrap your fingers around the neck, as if you were going to do a pull-up, and let the arm hang. The thumb is open, relaxed, and to the left of the fingers. When we elevate the guitar neck, using a guitar support or footstool, we can keep the thumb behind the fingers. This is a great lesson for beginners and review for intermediates. Some fingers are in the right middle of the frets. The pinky finger is overly straight and the index finger is overly curved, so that the joints are not in the middle of their range of movement. The point where your fingers attach to your hand should be even with the surface of the guitar string. Below are images of both good and poor finger position. 6. Left Thumb Position On Bass Guitar: Try Pivoting The “proper” way of positioning the left hand on the neck is to have it so the left thumb is on the middle of the back of the neck, straight between where the first through fourth fingers will be on the fretboard. Fingerstyle guitar requires the use of the picking hand thumb … Extend your thumb to your pinky and then pull them apart slightly. A neutral position for the thumb is vertically in the middle of the neck and laterally in line with your index finger. Muting strings – the thumb could be used to mute the top strings that shouldn't be played when strumming chord. To get an idea of correct left-hand positioning on the electric guitar, extend your left hand, palm up, and make a loose fist, placing your thumb roughly between your first and second fingers. This is a very hard concept to teach. 1. While the exact positioning of each players hand might vary slightly because each player and each instrument are slightly different in size, the proper left hand position will follow the four rules of efficient musculoskeletal function . It should not come over the top of the guitar’s neck, and it should not behind the fingers. This is a very important position, and is a tool you should have in your toolbox. The left hand twist (wrist rotation) is set so that the pinky side is slightly closer than the index side. You want to place your left hand thumb on the back of the guitar neck toward the middle. And that’s where your left hand thumb is in the middle of the back of the neck so that all 4 of your finger have good access to the fretboard. Here's my take just in case you're interested: https://www.classicalguitaracademy.co.uk/left-hand-positioning-and-technique/. Left Thumb Position and the Angle of the Guitar Neck. If you’ve been playing other guitar styles (such as rock or blues) for a while, you probably often see your left thumb tip coming all the way around the neck, sticking out above the 6th string. Having your thumb stretched out and parallel with the neck should be avoided. Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. Filed Under: Fundamentals Tagged With: classical guitar , classical guitar left hand technique , left hand , position Most of this has to do with how you’re holding the guitar and your fretting hand position. As a rule, the left thumb stays on the back of the guitar neck, positioned behind the fingers. It will be up to you to keep an eye on yourself as you continue in this course, and make sure those proper positions are becoming habitual. Wrist Position. 2. Good positioning – left wrist is free of arch. Because of the demands of left hand playing, it is not always possible to stay in this position. Classical thumb position – the thumb is placed in the centre of the back of the neck (click image to enlarge) However, classical guitarists also use a very specific posture while playing – usually seated, left foot raised using a foot stool, and guitar between the thighs resting on the left thigh (for right-handed players). Everybody has a slightly different approach, but there are some general guidlines to follow. 1. (See the post on technique for a fuller description.) You’ll find it much harder to see your left hand, for a start. Today, I would like to talk about the correct left hand position on guitar. Rock/Blues Lead Guitar Hand Position. It usually pluck the bottom three strings of the guitar (4th, 5th and 6th string). Also I want to tell you that when we place our fingers in the metal part of the fret (High E) there is good sound; and when we place (Low E) near the metal part of the fret there is good sound. Rest Thumb Lightly on the Guitar Neck. Hi David, are you using “classical” position (guitar on the left leg if you are right-handed)? Home base position The player may leave this position to make a stretch or play a difficult chord or barre, but the player should return to this optimal position as soon as is possible. It should not come over the top of the guitar’s neck, and it should not behind the fingers. The position of the left thumb depends on the angle of the guitar neck. The position of your left hand will vary depending on what you are playing. For right-handed players: How do you hold your guitar with your left hand: cradled in your palm, thumb positioned at the center of the back of the neck, or somewhere in between? It is extremely important to learn the correct fretting hand position for playing the guitar. I just wanted to find out your thoughts regarding using a guitar stool to improve holding the guitar as well as the fretting hand? To the extent you can, try to maintain the thumb in the center of the back of the neck and if possible keep it flat against the neck. Posts: 1. The pad, not the tip, contacts the guitar.Like the right thumb, the tip joint stays straight (or rather, we don’t bend it).Depending on what the fingers and the music are doing, the thumb may be nearer the top or the bottom of the guitar neck. I think there are two general types of hand positions that are useful when playing guitar. Sharp nerve twinges/pain up the fret hand thumb during Dorian fingerings also through playing runs and rhythm around and on the low E and A strings. A neutral position for the thumb is vertically in the middle of the neck and laterally in line with your index finger. I think there are two general types of hand positions that are useful when playing guitar. 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. By doing so, you will improve your fingers stretch and dexterity. 6. In some ways it makes sense that in order to stay in position you need to have a reference point which is usually the thumb. Thumb Position for Guitar We will discuss where to place the thumb of your left hand on the back of the guitar neck for the best results. Proper form is vital to success on the instrument, as well as, a way to prevent injury. Left Hand Thumb position. The left hand thumb should be open and relaxed. Left Hand Position. Make sure that your thumb is kept straight while playing. Brought to you by Strings By Mail and their excellent YouTube channel. Thank you very much for this very good explanation! David 23 Aug 2019 Reply. It should have no more than 10 degrees of arch, 20 degrees at the absolute maximum. The basics of left hand position on the guitar by Shawn Bradshaw. If you wear your guitar higher or play seated with a highly angled neck you could even play classical style with your thumb primarily on the back of the neck. The rules above describe the optimal left hand position. For good basic left-hand position, start by placing your thumb flat on the back of the neck and laying your fingers flat on the fretboard, with your thumb lined up behind your index and middle fingers. Some guitar learners attempt to play fingerstyle with just the thumb and index finger, which puts them at a disadvantage. When you’re ready for more, check out our premium membership plan that includes an 18 lesson course for beginners. Right hand thumb position and exercises for classical guitar Youtube Video Link. Extend your thumb to your pinky and then pull them apart slightly. Thank you for any assistance you can provide! Left-hand position: Fretting made easy. We will then move on to the techniques you will need to play a wide variety of songs. Repeat as many times as … First hold your left hand (or fretting hand) in a relaxed position. Poor positioning – Left wrist is arched (overly flexed) and deviated (to the ulnar side). However the thumb should form a 90 degree position with the neck, not dragging behind, or in a parallel position with the strings. We are so focused on our left hand in the early stages of development that we start to bring our head down and to the left. raterriegui. Relax everything—neck, shoulders, elbow, wrist, and mouth. Of course, special requirements of the music could force you to abandon the basic left-hand position from time to time. The wrist is turned so that the pinky side of the hand (ulnar side) is slightly closer to the fretboard than the index side (radial side). His job is to provide bass notes, rhythm and sometimes strumming. Make sure to bend all your knuckles (1st, 2nd and 3rd). Your hand should look about like this when it is positioned around the neck of a guitar. I also cover a left hand exercise near the end of the video. 1) Put your left hand on the neck as though you were going to use you thumb on th 6th string (some very good guitar players use this technique). Thumb Position. Good Positioning – the left hand fingers are naturally curved and position in the middle of their range of motion. Peter Vogl will take you step by step through basics like playing chords, strum patterns, scales, and more. Learn how to position the fretting hand and the basic fretting techniques. When you hold your guitar, your fretting hand should not be involved in keeping it in place. Fingering pressure should come from the left arm, the chest and the right arm sits on the bout to keep the guitar still (this is crucial because your thumb pinching used to hold the guitar still but you must stop pinching or you will injure your hand.) 2.3. The correct left hand position can have a big effect on how easy it is to play the guitar. The advantage of using thumb position on the bass guitar is that the left hand can cover two octaves or more without shifting position, which facilitates complex passages. – perform music with others – meet students and staff – enjoy light refreshments. 3. – have fun! One of the most common problems beginners will have is getting a sore thumb. Loosely maintain the closed hand position. Left-Hand Fingers Position. You’ll also learn the tips and tricks that separate a real guitarist from a beginner. No wrist flexion or extension. On both electric and acoustic, you’ll play most rhythm (chord-based accompaniment) and virtually all lead (single-note melodies) by holding the pick, or plectrum (the old-fashioned term), between the thumb and index finger.. To play pick-style, hold a guitar in your lap and drape your right arm over the bass bout. Thumb in the middle of the back of the neck and all 4 fingers having the best reach possible. Doctor Developed Premium Copper Lined Wrist Support / Wrist Strap / Wrist Brace / Hand Support [Single] & Doctor Written Handbook— Suitable for both right and left hands 4.3 out of 5 stars 13,246 $12.95 $ 12 . Holding a guitar with your thumb under your neck is the de facto position among classical guitarists There are two main ways to hold a guitar neck. Guitar Tricks Forum > Guitar Basics > Left hand thumb. Left Hand Position Really Matters! No Need For Speed Poor positioning. The rules above describe the optimal left hand position. Many players are taught to keep their left hand thumb in a fairly stationary position behind the neck of the guitar whilst playing. Make sure that your thumb is kept straight while playing. The left leg on a footstool. The guitar exercises in this lesson, will take things a step further. Traditional Classical Left Hand Guitar Position. Fingerstyle guitar requires the use of the picking hand thumb … ... Notice how the first joints of my left-hand fingers are right over the knuckles of my right hand. Watch the Left-Hand Thumb Position online guitar lesson by Bruce Arnold from Guitar Physiology Survival Guide In its position on the other side of the neck, the thumb needs to stay between your index and middle finger. Even the thickness of the hands can affect the position the hand might need to assume to get the fingers in the correct place to play certain fingerings of particular chords. This satisfies the requirement of muscular alignment. Steadiness – for some, this left-hand position makes the playing more steady and stable. Join us at one of our upcoming events! ©2015 Sage Music, LLC. A fifth "finger" – by involving the thumb you could achieve specific chord shapes, including chords with the thumb. Joined: 12/07/20. Repeat as many times as you want, but don’t over-exercise your muscles. Start a free 7 day trial of our premium membership plan and access our 18 lesson beginner guitar course. Your thumb should be positioned behind the neck of the guitar or resting on the top of the neck. We will discuss where to place the thumb of your left hand on the back of the guitar neck for the best results. Why? Online Music Lessons: Guitar, Piano, Voice, Violin, Cello, Flute, Clarinet, Saxophone, Drums and more. The Right hand Thumb The angle. Left Hand Position on Guitar: How to Use Your Fretting Hand Last updated: April 15, 2020 by Nate 2 Comments O.k. Gohar Vardanyan gives a lesson on right hand thumb position and movement. Assume Your Best General Position. In other words, it should be relatively straight. This guided series of video lessons will teach you the same material you would learn during the first several months of private instruction. String Bending. 4. When you practice scales, you should stretch the left-hand fingers as close as possible to the frets. Instead it should be slightly to the left of the fingers. Proper positioning – left hand is free of deviation. Thumb Position for Guitar is a free video lesson for beginning guitar players by Peter Vogl. As she outlines, make sure to start with posture and position first because there is not much you can do if your position is off. 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. While the exact positioning of each players hand might vary slightly because each player and each instrument are slightly different in size, the proper left hand position will follow the four rules of efficient musculoskeletal function. Exceptions should only be used for techniques such as bending, vibrato, playing chord roots with your thumb, muting the lower strings with your thumb and playing different chords, or if you are sure that you can strum everything while staying relaxed. The large base knuckles of the finger are positioned on the side of the fretboard opposite the player. I understand about the times when there is an advantage to that hand position. All your knuckles should be bent. The tension in your hand will reflect in your music and make it harder for you to learn new techniques. 20 years of classical guitar now left hand thumb pain the last 3 years by: Jim Hi. I used to cradle it, but I've started trying to play it the way my teachers have always said I should: with the thumb at the center of the back of the neck. I agree with a lot of what you're saying here. Now engage only the left biceps to bring your hand to the guitar’s neck at the fifth fret. Take your left thumb and rest it lightly behind the guitar neck. Sometimes the pain isn’t just isolated to the thumb, but it spreads to the tendons in the hand, wrist, and arm that connect to the thumb. You can also subscribe without commenting. Try it and you’ll see what I mean. This forces the hand into a better position and establishes good habits. To get an idea of correct left-hand positioning on the acoustic guitar, extend your left hand, palm up, and make a loose fist, placing your thumb roughly between your first and second fingers. Isn't there any buzzling sound when we use chord? The finger’s base knuckles are in front of the fretboard, in other words, opposite the player from the fretboard. Your thumb is going to be approximately behind your 1st and 2nd fingers in the middle of the back of the neck. All your knuckles should be bent. Use the tip of your fingers to press down the strings and place them as close to the fret as possible. 95 $24.50 $24.50 Getting this right at the beginning of your guitar playing journey will make you a better guitarist in the long run. Hand Shake Position: In this position the thumb is placed either on the back of the neck near the top or … How to Hold a Guitar. Sitting Position – Head Down and the the Left. Others overuse the thumb, using other fingers only when absolutely necessary. Some guitar learners attempt to play fingerstyle with just the thumb and index finger, which puts them at a disadvantage. 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. Registered User. Guitar at the perfect angle. Are your students exclusively classical students, or do you have acoustic/electric too? How you position your fretting hand will make a difference to how well you can play the guitar – simple as that. Guitar solos in a rock and blues style involve a lot of string bends. The sitting position is not difficult to achieve, but it can be difficult to maintain. Extend your left hand, palm up, and make a loose fist, placing your thumb roughly between your first and second fingers. 2) Now put your left hand on the neck with your thumb on the bottom of the neck (classical position). 3. Make sure you have a good guitar strap, adjust it to a comfortable length (forget slinging it down around your knees — looks cool, but it’s a crap playing position) and regularly practice playing while you’re standing up. I’ve expanded on it to discuss the left thumb in general. Now, raise your fretting hand. The placement of the thumb sets up everything about how the fingers approach the strings. On the cello Edit The cello thumb position is introduced on the second or half-string harmonic , [1] the note "A" on the highest string. The left hand fingers should be positioned so that all of the joints in the fingers are curved and in the middle of their range of motion. This is a question from Paul who wanted to know about the left hand thumb position while playing scales. This is a good starting position but it may vary depending on what notes or chords you are playing and possibly hand size. Let's quickly recap the most important points to keep in mind as you are learning how to properly position your left and and your right hand for playing guitar. While in this position, see how far and how quickly you can reach up the neck with your pinky finger. Regards from Portugal. Let's quickly recap the most important points to keep in mind as you are learning how to properly position your left and and your right hand for playing guitar. I'm glad it was helpful! Principally, always position your thumb in the lower area of the neck of the guitar. With your fingers in this position, the tip of your thumb should be touching the midline of the neck; that is, behind the G string. Continue this motion with the rest of your fingers: ring, middle, and then your index finger. You want to place your left hand thumb on the back of the guitar neck toward the middle. Your thumb should tilt slightly on its side and point straight across the guitar neck. What other topics would you find helpful? Poor positioning – Arched wrist from excessive wrist extension. I find it easier to help students achieve this position on the classical guitar than the other two - but I think that is more a problem of posture and positioning. All your knuckles should be bent. Take a good look. Although I've played for over 20 years, only in the past 2-3 years I've had a problem with increasing, acute pain in my left thumb joint when holding particular shapes. Before we get into the Rock/Blues lead guitar hand position, I first want to contrast it with the traditional guitar hand position that’s taught most often. Lesson of the Week – Left hand thumb position This is a Q&A via email Youtube Video Link (4k Quality) A discussion and lesson about the left hand thumb position for classical guitar. Positioning your Thumb. The thumb glides along the back of the neck, straighter than if you were making a fist but not rigid. The left wrist should be kept straight. In this position, your thumb will act as a guide and pivot-point for your hand, allowing your fingers to remain relaxed on the strings. Thanks for sharing this lesson, I hope your readers get a lot out of it! The benefits of taking your guitar lessons online, The Benefits of Taking Online Singing Lessons, Getting the most out of your online saxophone lessons, The best setup for your online guitar lessons. Principally, always position your thumb in the lower area of the neck of the guitar. Perfect post and photos! This lesson teaches you the basic left hand position and technique. I was watching Christopher Schlegel's video on the position of the thumb on the left hand, and learned the fact about opposition and how it helps things flow smoothly. Left hand form is one of the least discussed topics when beginning to learn how to play the ukulele. It’s like it’s due to compressing my hand (bringing left fret hand thumb and pad in towards the centre of my hand and opening up again). the chest is vital because it … First hold your left hand (or fretting hand) in a relaxed position. So think of the preceding guidelines as just that: guidelines. More tips for the left hand: As I said before, I’ll post more in the article on the left hand, this is really more focused on the arm position; Your left thumb should be vertical and not bent at the tip joint; Your left thumb should be behind the 2nd finger Because of the demands of left hand playing, it is not always possible to stay in this position. With out it, the beginner will experience a lot of difficulty grabbing chords and playing scales. Squeezing the thumb against the neck will make your hand feel tired until you develop a more refined sense of weight and touch in the left hand. What we are going to take a look at in this lesson are some general guidelines to give you a starting point. Everybody has a slightly different approach, but there are some general guidlines to follow. Continue this motion with the rest of your fingers: ring, middle, and then your index finger. Instead it should be slightly to the left of the fingers. It will be up to you to keep an eye on yourself as you continue in this course, and make sure those proper positions are becoming habitual. Hello everyone, I've been trying to practise the guitar in my free time. Let your right wrist float out away from the guitar, keeping contact to the top/corner of the guitar … I studied classical guitar for years. Hand Shake Position: In this position the thumb is placed either on the back of the neck near the top or … The first, pictured above, is with your thumb directly under the neck; this is de facto in classical guitar technique—try otherwise with a classically trained teacher and be prepared to receive a earful. Your hand should look about like that after you stick a guitar neck in there. I'm a professional classical guitarist. 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! Your membership also provides access to over 500 more exclusive lessons (full list) that will teach you how to be a great guitarist. 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. Think of these exercises as a starter in getting muscle memory in your left hand fingers. Try this: Sit down and assume your regular playing position. Others overuse the thumb, using other fingers only when absolutely necessary. Curving the fingers is certainly advantageous, although we may differ slightly on what we believe to be the ideal thumb position. 5. It's mostly preference, you just want your guitar position preference and your wrist geometry preference to … If your guitar starts to wobble around, or worse still, does a … This gives the left-hand fingers the largest range of movement across the guitar neck. Loose fist, placing your thumb to your hand to the neck, then take a look at in lesson... 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