Guitar Left Hand Position

Guitar Left Hand Position

When playing the guitar, proper left hand position is important, it is absolutely vital that you learn the proper technique when you first begin playing the guitar.  You don’t want to practice bad habits and have to come back after a few years of playing and relearn the right way.  Simple things like your hand position can have an effect on your playing speed and accuracy. There are two basic left hand positions, “thumb behind neck” position and “thumb around neck” position.

In the “thumb behind neck” position you want to place your thumb behind the center of the neck.  Your hand should be raised up, with just your finger tips touching the strings.  For most of your playing you will want to use the this position.  The “thumb behind neck” position is the most versatile position, giving you the greatest reach and freer use of all your fingers, allowing them to stay closer to the fretboard than in the “thumb around neck” position.  Use this when playing chords and in most of your other playing.  Although this position might not seem natural at first and may take a little more strength, if you practice this way, you will get used to it pretty quickly.  One thing to keep in mind is, that you don’t need to use any more pressure than needed in order to make a note sound.

In the “thumb around neck” position you wrap your thumb all the way around the neck.  This position may seem easier and a lot more natural to most players, but you lose some of the reach and versatility of the “thumb behind neck” position, but it will give you more control and strength.  You will want to use this position when doing vibrato or string bending.  There have been a lot of great guitar players, even famous ones like Jimmi Hendrix, who used this position almost exclusively, but there is really no advantage in using the “thumb around  neck” position except for when you are doing string bending and vibrato.

You can find some exercises to improve your left hand technique here and here