GET OUR GUITAR SUCCESS SERIES! Learn to practice correctly....get rid of tension & bad habits....play like a pro!

* indicates required
Close
The Guitar Principles  
The TRUTH about Learning Guitar
 
Improve Your Skills > For All Styles > The 2 Necessary Left Hand Positions On Guitar

The 2 Necessary Left Hand Positions On Guitar



There is much confusion as to the "correct" left hand position for guitar. That is because there is no such thing as THE correct left hand position for guitar!

There are TWO left hand positions that are necessary to develop if we wish to be able to meet the playing requirements of "lead style" rock/blues guitar AND "solo style" playing.  "Solo style" playing can mean the more intricate guitar parts of such bands as Metallica or Ozzy Ozbourne (Randy Rhoads). Solo style includes all acoustic styles, fingerstyles, and anything that uses the 4th finger. 

I call the "solo style" left hand position the "Classical Position". It is more difficult to develop this "thumb down, fingers up and over" position than it is to develop the "slanted" position of the blues/rock left hand. However, it is worth it, and it is recommended. Without having the finger separation and position shown here, you will find many things difficult or impossible to play. 

However, the "Rock Position" is equally important to master if you wish to play any kind of lead work involving the bending of strings. Notice the differences in the positions. In the Rock Position, the thumb IS up and over the neck, and must be, in order to provide the leverage necessary to do a controlled bend, and more importantly, a controlled vibrato. 

After watching the videos demonstrating these two hand positions, read the special notes below to learn what many people do WRONG.

 

The "Classical" Left Hand Position

Needed for:

Solo Playing
Acoustic Playing
Classical Guitar
Anytime the 4th finger is used

 

 

Watch a video of the intro to "Crazy Train" 

demonstrating this hand position in use

 

 

The "Rock" Left Hand Position

Needed for:

Blues/rock pentatonic based lead playing

Anytime you bend a string
Anytime you do vibrato

 

 

Watch a video of the correct left hand action for string bending and vibrato

 

 

 

Most Common Mistakes 

Classical Position:  

  1. Not getting "up and over" with the wrist, hand and fingers. This will show itself in knuckles that are NOT parallel to strings, but coming off at an angle, bringing the pinky AWAY from the strings.
  2. Not placing the index on the SIDE of the TIP OF THE FINGER. The index should "lean back" toward the headstock of the guitar when it goes down.
  3. Not positioning thumb behind neck, but rather, keeping it sticking up (which is GOOD for the rock position).

The Left Hand Training in "The Principles of Correct Practice For Guitar" contains the necessary training exercises to deveop this hand position.

Rock Position/ String Bending:

  1. Not keeping the thumb "wrapped around" the neck. This thumb position, which is "bad" for the classical position, is ESSENTIAL for the rock position. 
  2. Not bending the string, and controlling the vibrato with the correct muscles. Many people try to bend the string WITH THE FINGERS THEMSELVES. THIS IS WRONG! You must bend with the muscles which turn the forearm itself. These are the muscles that you use to turn a dial. Hold out your hand, and pretend to turn a dial in the air. That is the action. 
  3. Allowing the fingers to COLLAPSE as they attempt to push the string. The fingers are held FIRM as the convey the force of the forearm to the string. 
  4. Not using the opposing force of the thumb to control bend and vibrato. Notice in the video how I am "squeezing" with the thumb, alternately opposing the force that my forearm is using to move the string. 

 If you wish to develop the Rock left hand position on guitar, this course contains all the training you need....

 



article 1
The Secret Of Speed On Guitar
The secret of speed on guitar is a state of relaxation during playing that I like to call The Incredible Lightness. When you experience it the first time, it feels incredible!
> Read More...
article 2
Are Your Guitar Exercises REALLY Helping You?
The sad fact is, for most guitar students plugging away at "guitar exercises", they are not only wasting their time, their "practice" is actually making them worse! Here's why....
> Read More...
article 3
Optimizing the Movement Process On Guitar
Good guitar players learn to use their fingers in ways that make difficult things easy to do. You can learn too!
> Read More...
article 4
Can Your Fingers Do This?...They need to!
If your fingers can't do this "simple" thing, you will have trouble with everything you play! Here is a simple test to see if your hand has the basic ability it needs to play well.
> Read More...
article 5
Hammers & Pulls - Essential Training
The most detailed, powerful training you will find on Hammers & Pulls on Guitar- 2 Essential Techniques used in ALL styles of guitar.
> Read More...
article 6
Your POWER Practice Attitude
Attitude Is Everything!-10 ESSAYS THAT WILL HELP YOU GET RESULTS FROM YOUR GUITAR PRACTICE-You play the guitar with your fingers, but what goes on in your head is much more important than your fingers
> Read More...
article 7
The Importance of Fingering On Guitar
Guitar students often practice music without really knowing what fingers they should use, or are using. This is a quick route to frustrating practice and bad playing!
> Read More...
article 8
Guitar Development: Stage 2
After learning the basics of playing guitar, covered in my essay "Guitar Development: Stage 1", these are the things all players, of any style, need to know.
> Read More...
article 9
Guitar Development Stage 1-What You Should Be Learning
Guitar students are notoriously uncertain and confused about what they should be practicing. Here, I am going to tell what the top priorities are for any beginning guitarist.
> Read More...
article 10
Strengthen That Bar!
It is an under-appreciated fact that the bar must receive special, and extended attention at some point in our development......
> Read More...
article 11
The Real Meaning Of Relaxed Guitar Playing
"Relaxation" on guitar is not what you think. It is not a state of the body, it is an action. It results in the state called "poise" which means a balance of forces being used to play.
> Read More...
article 12
Slanting The Pick For Speed
Slanting the pick is common practice for most guitar players. It has many advantages, such as better tone and more speed. Here is how to do it....
> Read More...
article 13
Discover Your Discomfort - How To Relax On Guitar
Most guitar students have excessive muscle tension when playing, and this is at the root of their playing problems. Discover yours!
> Read More...
article 14
The 5 Biggest Mistakes Guitar Students Make
These extremely common guitar practice no-no's will prevent you from reaching your full potential as a guitarist...
> Read More...
article 15
The 10 Best Ways To Get Better On Guitar
Download this free powerful report on "The 10 Best Ways To Get Better On Guitar"!
> Read More...
article 16
Finger Rise: A Disease of the Left Hand
Finger Rise is one of the most common "diseases" that afflict a guitar player's hands. It causes countless playing problems for players of all styles.
> Read More...
article 17
10 Reasons Why Using A Metronome Makes You Better, Faster!
Knowing how to use a metronome in guitar practice WILL make you a better player!
> Read More...
article 18
Correct Thumb Placement For Guitar Scales
What should my thumb be doing while my fingers are traveling around the guitar strings?" That is an important question, and we are going to answer it right now.
> Read More...
article 19
Pivot Fingers
Left hand finger movements on guitar are made much easier when we use "pivot fingers".
> Read More...
article 20
Unlocking Hidden Finger Tension
At GuitarPrinciples, we get a lot of long time guitar players who want to figure out why they haven't gotten any better at guitar in the last few decades...here is a major reason why!
> Read More...
you might also like
What Are "The Principles"?
Read More...
Play Happy Birthday!
Read More...
The Importance of Repertoire
Read More...
Correct Thumb Placement For Guitar Scales
Read More...
 
IN THIS SECTION
The Secret Of Speed On Guitar
Are Your Guitar Exercises REALLY Helping You?
The 2 Necessary Left Hand Positions On Guitar
Optimizing the Movement Process On Guitar
NEWSLETTER SIGNUP
RECEIVE “THE POWER OF TEN”
We Never Email More then Once a Week.
Upon signup receive 10 ARTICLES THAT WILL TRANSFORM YOUR GUITAR PLAYING.
FEATURED CONTENT
The Principles of Correct Practice for Guitar-Hard Copy
Why Is The Principles The Best Way to Learn Guitar?

156 - Why Is The Principles The Best Way to Learn Guitar?

All other guitar methods have serious flaws that leave you struggling on guitar. The Principles is different....
Learn To Play a Guitar by Learning HOW to Practice!

16 - Learn To Play a Guitar by Learning HOW to Practice!

Everything that happens when you play is the direct result of what you do when you practice. Learn to train your fingers EFFECTIVELY when you practice guitar.
Your First Perfect Guitar Lesson

18 - Your First Perfect Guitar Lesson

Many guitar players carry for a lifetime the mistakes they learned when first learning how to play the instrument... Tips to avoid this can be found here!
What Are The Principles?

15 - What Are The Principles?

Those who know "The Principles" know that there is no other guitar method like it. It is the key to using every other method! Find out for yourself.....