Guitar Habits 2: Correct Left Hand Form On Guitar

guitar left hand correct form

The 2 Left Hand Positions You Need On Guitar

There is more than one "correct" position for the left hand on guitar. There are two basic left hand positions for guitar. However, one of them should be learned before the other, or important muscles in the hand will not develop properly.

1) The Straight Position

2) The Slanted Position

left hand straight on gutiar

​​​​Position 1: The Straight Position

The straight position is used for acoustic type playing. It gives full reach to all fingers, especially the little finger. It should be learned first because by doing the exercises necessary to develop this position, we develop  the stretch and strength of the hand fully. 

If we learn the straight position first, the slanted position is much easier to learn, not the other way around. 

 Position 2: The Slanted Position

 The slanted position is necessary for all playing that is based on the pentatonic scale. This means all blues/rock based playing. It is a mistake to use the straight position while playing rock lead guitar, yet often guitar students will do that.

Using the straight position for blues/rock lead playing makes bending strings correctly impossible. You won't sound good, and you will hurt yourself by putting extra strain in the wrong places.  

Get The Straight Position First

The best thing any guitar player can do is to get the straight position for the left hand into the fingers first. The best way to do that is to use "The Principles of Correct Practice For Guitar". The special set of exercises it contains will training your fingers for perfect action on the guitar. 

TIP! Get The Straight Position First

As we develop the straight left hand position with the Foundation Exercises from "The Principles of Correct Practice For Guitar" the muscles of the hand and forearm develop more completely than if we were to learn the slanted position in our early development. 

Unless the straight position is developed at some point (as it must be for major scale based playing), the student will experience many left hand problems with various musical passages. 

However, if the straight position is developed first, the slanted position is easily learned. This is especially true if you use the detailed guidance given in the Guitar Principles "Rock & Blues Foundation Course".

What Does "Getting The Straight Position" Look Like?


This video will show you what it looks like as you do the Foundation Exercises from "The Principles". , Watch Nate, Kaori, and Chris as they transform their fingers, and develop a high level of skill in their fingers. 

These students had the extra advantage of being taught directly by me in my online guitar class.

guitar 1

About the author 

Jamie Andreas

Jamie Andreas has one goal: to make sure that everyone who wants to learn guitar is successful. After her first 25 years of teaching, she wrote the world acclaimed method for guitar "The Principles of Correct Practice For Guitar". She put everything into this method that was essential for success on guitar. Called "The Holy Grail" of guitar books, the Principles has enabled thousands of students who tried and failed to play guitar for years or even decades, to become real guitar players. In 2012 Jamie was profiled in "Guitar Zero" (Penguin Press 2012), a study of how adults learn to play guitar. Jamie was interviewed along with some of the worlds leading guitarist/teachers, including jazz legend Pat Martino and Tom Morello ("Rage Against The Machine").

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