Guitar technique Part One

The left hand.

An often misunderstood area of guitar technique is the correct functioning of the left hand. Left hand thumb position is the most important aspect of left hand technique.

Let us start with the open position. Most rudimentary guitar work is usually in the open position.

Firstly place your left hand thumb behind the second fret in the middle of the neck on a 45 degree angle (ie the thumb tilted slightly towards the headstock) A common mistake is to place the fingers on the strings first and then place the thumb in position. ALWAYS place the thumb in position BEFORE you place the fingers on the strings.

The thumb should not be bent or sitting on top of the neck (unless you are string bending blues or rock lead licks)

The wrist should be slightly arched in a natural and comfortable position. Fingers should be placed on the strings on their tips (not too close to the fingernail -but half way down the finger tip) Observe Maryanne (pictured above) who has superb left hand technique.

When playing on any string at each fret (ascending pattern) eg we leave each successive finger pressed down – Never release your fingers until we change strings – of course, these rules do not apply to descending patterns.

Please feel free to leave comments or questions in the space provided. I am always happy to hear from anyone on any matter.


Brendan Hains


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