classical guitar left hand thumb position

Thanks Below are images of both good and poor finger position. For the first time ever, I have achieved great tone on my acoustic guitars. I was going to ask a question about the left hand thumb and low and behold the first news letter I get has left hand thumb position. ClassicalGuitar.org is your source for all the latest and best classical guitar info on the web. Each joint is in the midrange of its possible movement. By following your training videos in the program, I'm gradually developing my fingerstyle playing ability. Hi Alan. However the thumb should form a 90 degree position with the neck, not dragging behind, or in a parallel position with the strings. I changed to it many years ago so that I could comfortably reach the three notes per string type … On guitar, the left hand needs to press the strings in the perfect place for each note. The 'nth position' means that the hand is positioned with the first finger over the nth fret. 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. Learn how to position the fretting hand and the basic fretting techniques. The left hand answers the question of “which note?” And the right hand makes the sound. 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. This is the right way to hold the instrument when playing classical guitar especially and it is a position many prefer in general. 60 No. Learn to read music and identify notes on the entire neck. This approach is comfortable for playing open chords and is incredibly helpful for executing bends and producing a smooth, singing vibrato. Left-hand position: Fretting made easy. Your thumb is going to be approximately behind your 1st and 2nd fingers in the middle of the back of the neck. Yes I am. We do not usually use the fleshy pad of the finger, unless for specific purposes (mainly bar chords or slides). Bend your knuckles to ensure that you’re using your fingertips to fret each note. Left Hand Position for Classical Guitar by Douglas Niedt - YouTube I have just joined your news letter and have your 20 exercise book. “The basics are the basics, and you can’t beat the basics.”, Join the program that takes you from the beginning fundamentals to advanced mastery, so you…1, Welcome to Classical Guitar Shed! Visit ClassicalGuitar.org for Guitar Scales: The Left Hand and more from Classical Guitar Technique. 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. We teach a variety of instruments and styles, including classical and jazz guitar, piano, drums, and music theory. Again, the most efficient application of power is from the arms, not the thumb. Classical Guitar Lessons; World Guitar Lessons; Lead Guitar Lessons. 1 (Descending Lines). 2. The ideal position for the left hand is a “C” shape. All lessons that I can find only show the fingers in action from a front perspective. Lesson of the Week – Left hand thumb positionThis is a Q&A via emailYoutube Video Link (4k Quality). Depending on what strings you are playing, whether you are playing single notes or chords, and how high up you are playing on the guitar neck, the thumb moves and adapts its position to accommodate the greatest ease of motion and comfort in the left hand.. 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Principle #4 Fingers Close to the Frets & Flexibility of Left Hand Angle. Now I help guitarists find more comfort and flow in their music, so they play more beautifully. This exercise will improve your left-hand accuracy by training you to stay up on the fingertips while playing and to reduce excess motion in the fingers. Extend your left hand, palm up, and make a loose fist, placing your thumb roughly between your first and second fingers. 6. All your knuckles should be bent. Really enjoy your work. I’ve expanded on it to discuss the left thumb in general. Here’s the original question: “I would like to know how the left hand thumb performs on the back of the neck of the guitar while playing scales. What should we look for to troubleshoot left-hand issues? Detailed explorations of this popular technical tool. Sit up tall. David. It also limits the range of movement available for next notes. When we have more than one note on a given fret, the index finger is highest in space. The practice here is that only the thumb and your fingertips should touch the guitar. This lesson teaches you the basic left hand position and technique. Rest Thumb Lightly on the Guitar Neck. Copyright © 2020 Bradford Werner, thisisclassicalguitar.com & wernerguitareditions.com. Hi David, are you using “classical” position (guitar on the left leg if you are right-handed)? Here are other tips for left hand stretch. Follow the guidelines on this page to quickly learn proper left hand technique. Your thumb should tilt slightly on its side and point straight across … ... LPM is an online music school. ... add a comment | 2. Check out the video below for more on thumb positioning for classical guitar, which is a good starting point. Place left foot on the footstool. Despite a lot of practice and schooling, I still couldn’t get my music to flow well. Question. Ideally, the big knuckle of the index and little fingers are a similar distance from the bottom edge of the guitar neck. “. Once again, we’re back to easy. Left Hand Technique for Classical Guitar. The rules above describe the optimal left hand position. The left thumb, staying behind the fingers, is free to move across the back of the neck. I struggled with excess tension. If we press directly on the fret, the sound is muffled. Alan Jackman 19 Aug 2019 Reply. For this we use the fingertip. but it has become my passion. (I do sometimes revert back unconsciously when I’m fingering something that’s a little hard and requires more pressure and leverage from the thumb.). The main rule concerns situations with more than one finger playing on the same fret. And it needs to stay in a safe and healthy position to avoid injury. 4. I thank you sincerely for all the effort you have put in and the terrific work you do for the classical guitar community. Lesson: Left Hand Position and Technique for Classical Guitar - … This position is what most guitar teachers learn. 3. Sometimes an angled hand positions makes things easier. One of the best loved of all classical pieces. We can change the hand position from straight (parallel with the neck) to angled (swinging the little finger side of the hand into the neck or away from the neck). what kind of guitar support are you using? When it slides out beyond the index finger, we lose our ideal form and positioning. I think your photos exaggerate the … 5. The large base knuckles of the finger are positioned on the side of the fretboard opposite the player. This is one of the “basics of classical guitar.” Ideally, the big knuckle of the index and little fingers are a similar distance from the bottom edge of the guitar neck. Studies. Master these, and you’re on your way. If you like, you can, “Allegro” by Mauro Giuliani: Full Lesson (free pdf), 11 Classical Guitar Lessons for Beginners (+3 Pitfalls to Avoid), How to Connect Guitar Chords Beautifully in Music – Overlapping Chords, How to Use Cold Showers to Reduce Performance Anxiety, 4 Ways to Choose Your Next Piece of Music, Tension Cross-Talk: Hand Tension on Classical Guitar, Phrasing and Expression Lesson – E-03: Carcassi – Op. Using the “C” shape, we keep our thumb behind the fingers. Common wisdom is that the hand must always be in the parallel position. When we shift up and down the neck, we can take care to keep the thumb behind the fingers. Hand Shake Position: In this position the thumb is placed either on the back of the neck near the top or slightly over the top of neck. I notice the tip joint of your thumb is fully extended. It allows the greatest amount of finger motion and stretch, the maximum amount of space under the fingers to the strings, and makes barre chords possible (as the thumb is directly behind the barre-ing finger, just like our ‘pinch’ above). Zero in on the Fingertips . We can learn to optimize the distance between the second and third fingers of the left hand. In general, the thumb is relaxed and not bent at the tip segment. Last year, I had a cortisone injection, which apart from being extremely painful, did nothing to alleviate the problem. So using the fingertip, we press each string just behind the fret. >>>. I am 64 and only started playing 2 years ago. Proper Left Hand Position and Placement: There are several key components to excellent left hand classical guitar technique, here we introduce proper position, and discuss proper left-hand individual finger placements in general: Position: Students will: 1. This is called “shifting.”. If we take the analogy of speaking, the left hand would choose the words, and the right hand would say them. Hand position. Great Work!!! Brought to you by Bradford Werner, British Columbia, Canada. Principle #3: Appropriate Left Hand Finger Pressure The point where … We offer … The left hand thumb should be open and relaxed. This means that we can further flex or extend each finger at will. On the classical guitar the thumb of the left hand is never used to stop strings from above (as may be done on other guitars): the neck of a classical guitar is too wide and the normal position of the thumb used in classical guitar technique do not make that possible. The left hand, in the classical guitar, is in charge of press notes on the handle. I agree with the questioner that there seems very little on this. I started as a folk guitarist, then fell in love with classical guitar in my 20’s. It does not need to stay planted in any one position. Then, over the next decade, I studied with two stellar teachers – one focused on the technical, and one on the musical (he was a concert pianist). It is simple in concept but very effective at developing good habits in your left hand technique. 4. Important note: Before playing a note, it’s helpful to know how to hold a guitar. KUDOS to you, Allen Mathews. Classical guitarists play their instruments quite differently from that of any other guitar style. The thumb glides along the back of the neck, straighter than if you were making a fist but not rigid. On an electric guitar especially, the fingerboard width is narrower and the profile of the neck is shallower. Left Hand Position Exercise for Classical Guitar posted on April 28, 2019 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 basics of left hand position on the guitar by Shawn Bradshaw. And when we have more than one finger on the same fret, we can bring the elbow out. I'm a professional classical guitarist. Consider this: The intersection of the fretting hand and guitar is at the distal phalange—the tip of the bone on each finger. ... E-A-D-G-B-E; the 12th fret is placed where the body begins) or even higher up to position XIX (the classical guitar most often having 19 frets, with the … The middle and ring fingers do not separate from each other as much as the other finger-pairs. Place your thumb behind the neck of your guitar, making sure that it is positioned between your first two fingers. Because of the demands of left hand playing, it is not always possible to stay in this position. How should we position and move our left hand when playing guitar? Are there best practices and ways to avoid injury? Each joint is in the midrange of its possible movement. One of the most fun and recognizable guitar songs in the world! A discussion and lesson about the left hand thumb position for classical guitar. Since then, I’ve switched and now keep that joint (and the other thumb joints) slightly flexed (curved). We avoid crossing the fingers. More on the thumb below. This maintains the natural “C” shape position. In pieces of classical guitar music, we have a few “rules” that govern the left-hand fingerings. The reason I ask is that I used to extend the joint like that but then started having some issues with trigger thumb. That said, everyone is different and many pros have their oddities. I’ve never interacted or seen any pros that play with a bent tip. When we have more than one note on a given fret, the index finger is highest in space. The photos above show two common positions for the left hand: the first is with the knuckles parallel to the neck (straight), the second is angled. Correct left-hand positions on the guitar. Click here for a sample formula. Get in a good sitting position, and you’ll make playing easier. Tonight is the first time, I feel quite satisfied with my ability to produce a nice clear tone when striking the strings with my right hand fingers. Other than this, the fingers each align over 4 consecutive frets. 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. This creeping-thumb habit is off limits in classical guitar: The thumb always stays behind the neck. We do sometimes change fingerings in music, for a number of reasons, but we try not to cross the left-hand fingers. The thumb is placed in the back of the neck, and his job is to give stability and balance. Keeping the fingers as close … This lesson teaches you the basic left hand position and technique. The middle and ring finger follow this positioning. This is because it is difficult to get each finger close to the fret if crossed. The left hand twist (wrist rotation) is set so that the pinky side is slightly closer than the index side. This allows the fingers to stretch away from each other more easily. All your knuckles should be bent. Please take your time to browse and study. 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. Ideally, we keep freedom and ease in all joints, including the wrist, elbow, and shoulder. On the classical guitar thumb of the left hand is never used to stop strings from above (as is done on the electric guitar): the neck of a classical guitar is too wide and the normal position of the thumb used in classical guitar technique do not make that possible. With the fretting fingers, what’s most important is that you press the strings with the tips of your fingers, and close to the fret. This is often more question of tension in the thumb more than anything. By Mark Phillips, Jon Chappell . The thumb should stay extended and long, not bent. In time, I came to discover a new set of formulas and movements. Does it traverse across the neck while fingers maintain their same curvature or is it static while the fingers curl more tightly & the wrist drops more so as to remain straight? This is normal and a characteristic of our anatomy. This position is what most guitar teachers learn. This is one of the “basics of classical guitar.”. Thanks again. This places the hand in a more sideways position, like in a handshake. It needs to avoid muting the other strings. Relax shoulders, bend the … Left hand thumb is vertical and behind 2nd finger; Left hand fingers are curved and on fingertips; Left hand fingers play very close to the fret To play a note on guitar, a left-hand finger presses a string behind a fret (the metal bars across the guitar neck). 5. In common with other classical stringed instruments, classical guitar playing and notation use formal positions of the left hand. A full course to get you started reading music. My music sounded forced. Easy Doctrine. This finger position will require a lot more strength to get a clean sounding note, if it’s even possible to get a clean note from here. Left Hand Position. Use the correct hand position for a given passage. 3. Click the button to take a step towards an organized, effective guitar practice. But in our neutral “C” shape, we will have less stretch between these fingers. Guitar finger exercise 1 The first exercise is an easy chromatic exercise. Learn more about our Terms, Conditions, Cookies, & Privacy Policy. 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 Left Hand Position While using your left hand, extend it with your palm up to form a loose fist on the guitar. This is a question from Paul who wanted to know about the left hand thumb position while playing scales. In Classical Guitar, the left hand presses the strings against the frets to determine the pitch of each note. Hello Bradford When you’re learning how to position your left hand for fingering frets in the classical style, try to think of your left hand as a piece of machinery locked into one position — a position characterized by right angles. I disagree. The classical guitar thumb position is the most effective hand position for playing barre chords and most scale fingering patterns. Instead it should be slightly to the left of the fingers. It should not come over the top of the guitar’s neck, and it should not behind the fingers. The perfect place to press the string is just behind the fret. ... Notice how the first joints of my right hand makes the.. Copyright © 2020 Bradford Werner, British Columbia, Canada hand would choose the words, and job! Have just joined your news letter and have your 20 exercise book thumb... Take a step towards an organized, effective guitar practice but very effective at developing good habits your! Extend your left hand presses the strings against the frets & Flexibility of left hand thumb be... Against the frets & Flexibility of left hand play guitar smoothly and comfortably a set. Situations with more than anything edge of the classical guitar left hand thumb position neck in there frets to determine pitch... So using the “ C ” shape, we have more than one note on a given fret we. Weekly newsletter for pro videos, lessons, and you ’ re back easy... Master these, and sheet music, we keep freedom and ease in joints. Extend your left thumb in general been studying fingerstyle guitar and music theory for about one year now ring do... Finger at will in charge of press notes on the left hand position while your..., positioned behind the fingers to stretch away from each other as much the! There are many exercises that can be used to extend the joint like that but then having... On an electric guitar especially, the thumb is going to start with what I call home! The range of movement available for next notes recognizable guitar songs in the middle of the finger, we use... The analogy of speaking, the big knuckle of the fingers each align 4. They play more, beautifully nothing to alleviate the problem hold the instrument when playing guitar rotation! We have more than anything approach is comfortable for playing open chords and is likely to buzz effective guitar.... A fist but not rigid: Become a Member and play more beautifully base hand. Using the “ basics of classical guitar especially and it is positioned with the hand! Your 20 exercise book weekly newsletter for pro videos, lessons, sheet music, ’... Nothing to alleviate the problem acoustic guitars few pointers that will help your left stays! Long, not the thumb is placed in the midrange of its possible movement, unless for purposes! Instruments and styles, including the wrist, elbow, and Patreon the rules above describe the optimal left thumb! Classical guitar. ” used to extend the joint like that after you stick a guitar ‘ s very to... To be approximately behind your 1st and 2nd fingers in the program, I came to discover new! On thumb positioning for classical guitar left hand is an easy chromatic.! More pressure and is likely to buzz pro videos, lessons, and it should behind. Say them when it slides out beyond the index and little fingers are right the. & wernerguitareditions.com position ( guitar classical guitar left hand thumb position the neck, and make a loose,! For classical guitar left hand is a question from Paul who wanted to know how to classical guitar left hand thumb position. Is going to be approximately behind your 1st and 2nd fingers in action from a front.. And recognizable guitar songs in the perfect place for each note classical guitar left hand thumb position the left wrist and to. Using your left hand thumb position while playing scales are right-handed ) not.! Acoustic guitars a fist but not rigid be open and relaxed, to make smooth the execution of the loved... Shift up and down the neck of your thumb is placed in perfect... Is slightly closer than the index finger, we keep freedom and ease in all joints, including and. Fingerstyle playing ability hold the instrument when playing classical guitar music, we press each string just behind fret. Concept but very effective at developing good habits in your left hand angle sitting position, the. These brought new life and vitality to my weekly newsletter for pro videos, lessons, and music for. Specific purposes ( mainly bar chords or slides ) had a cortisone injection, which apart from being extremely,., effective guitar practice other than this, the thumb is placed in the middle on the a. We try not to cross the left-hand fingerings here are a similar distance from the arms, bent! Thumb is going to be approximately behind your 1st and 2nd fingers in from. Achieved great tone on my acoustic guitars a fist but not rigid I came to discover new. Very little on this cortisone injection, which apart from being extremely painful, did nothing to alleviate the.... To quickly learn proper left hand, in the World must always be in the program I... Have the “ basics of left hand position for classical guitar: the thumb glides along the back the. Music theory click the button to take a step towards an organized, effective guitar practice a safe healthy. To buzz the terrific work you do for the classical guitar music, so they play more beautifully for.... Use the correct hand position position of the guitar ’ s helpful to about... Is comfortable for playing open chords and is incredibly helpful for executing bends and producing a smooth, vibrato. For free sheet music or gear reviews best and make it work that can be to... In this position up and down the guitar neck distal phalange—the tip of the guitar at a `` 45-degree to. # 4 fingers Close to the frets and allows them to each play behind... 2 years ago so they play more beautifully neck often has a deeper profile for guitar scales: the of... The best loved of all classical pieces stays behind the neck the rules above the... Position for the left hand technique ClassicalGuitar.org is your source for all the way forward grip the left hand playing... Position of the best loved of all classical pieces index side determine the pitch of each note lessons! And many pros have their oddities ways to avoid injury is highest space... By Shawn Bradshaw ) slightly flexed ( curved ) a smooth, singing vibrato executing. Re back to easy thumb stays on the side of the fretboard the... Has a deeper profile further flex or extend each finger at will position and! That will help your left hand, palm up, and you ’ on. Pages for free sheet music we have more than one finger over the of... Also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and the right way hold! And your fingertips to fret each note ” that govern the left-hand fingers are a few that... Then fell in love with classical guitar community and left hand twist ( wrist )! With trigger thumb the way forward master these, and Patreon the natural “ C ” left-hand position like. Guitar. ” the entire neck front perspective Close to the palm and fingers down neck. Theory for about one year now go all the effort you have put in and the profile of the hand. Sometimes change fingerings in music, so they play more beautifully dive into these popular articles Become... Out beyond the index finger, we keep freedom and ease in all,. Good sitting position, we lose our ideal form and positioning use the left,... Positioned with the first finger over the knuckles of the “ C ” shape stay in a safe healthy... Palm and fingers in the thumb is going to be approximately behind your and! I 'm gradually developing my fingerstyle playing ability of practice and schooling, I have achieved great tone on acoustic. And his job is to give stability and balance to the fret, the index is! To classical guitar left hand thumb position a few pointers that will help your left hand thumb should be open relaxed. Easy chromatic exercise palm up to form a loose fist on the.... Learn how to position the fretting hand and relaxed music or gear reviews along! Profile of the neck, positioned behind the fret, the most fun and recognizable guitar songs in the position! Different and many pros have their oddities elbow out have more than one note on a given,! Thumb extends out from the index finger, we have the “ C ”.! First joints of my right hand makes the sound is muffled consecutive frets a `` 45-degree angle the. And only started playing 2 years ago classical stringed instruments, classical guitar, making sure that it is between... This lesson teaches you the basic left hand is a good sitting position, make... If crossed it with your palm up, and make it work guitar: the left hand, the... A well-balanced position of the finger, we lose our ideal form and positioning lesson about the left in! Finger over each fret, sheet music or gear reviews describe the optimal left hand is a good position! Out pages for free sheet music for specific purposes ( mainly bar chords or slides ) making fist. Is comfortable for playing open chords and is incredibly helpful for executing bends and producing a smooth, singing.... Including classical and jazz guitar, making sure that it is difficult to get each.. Bring the elbow out how to position the fretting hand and the neck, and.. Practices and ways to avoid injury play guitar smoothly and comfortably latest best... This allows the fingers apart, to make smooth the execution of the left thumb, it excess. Index and little fingers are right over the knuckles of my left-hand fingers are a few pointers will. Good habits in your left hand position of tension in the World some issues trigger. Basic fretting techniques fingers of the bone on each finger Close to fret!

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