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Hand position


(@number6)
Estimable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 152
Topic starter  

I find that most guitar books tell you to keep your thumb straight and anchored in the centre of the neck, but I have much difficulty playing like that while standing. Is there really anything wrong with just using the most comfortable position?

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(@off-he-goes)
Noble Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 1274
 

I know that alot of people remove their thumb from the back of the neck sometimes to use as a counterweight for bends and vibratos. For open chords it doesn't seem nessacary to anchor in the middle of the neck. I place my thumb all over the place for open chords.

Barre Chords on the other hand, I find, need a center anchor. It makes fretting them a lot easier.

Vacate is the word...Vengance has no place on me or her...Cannot find a comfort in this world.


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(@bennett)
Reputable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 297
 

Thumb position really depends on what you're currently doing on the fretboard, as "Off He Goes" has alluded to.

Mine certainly moves all over the place. :)

From little things big things grow - Paul Kelly


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(@noteboat)
Famed Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 4933
 

There's no way to answer without actually seeing your hands. There are plenty of 'most comfortable positions' that are functional, and plenty that introduce technique problems.

The most common problem I see as a teacher is people who rest the neck on the palm of their hand, like you were holding a baseball bat. That can give you a whole set of problems:

- you can deaden the high E string unintentionally

- you limit the 'arch' of your fingers, making it easy ti accidentally deaden strings inside a chord

- you limit the reach of your hand

- by limiting the interaction of the muscles you use for flexing your fingers, you reduce your speed

'Ideal' hand position is a personal thing. Guitars come in just a few standard sizes - people don't. In general, the approach given in the books will lead to the best hand position for a lot of people... but they don't really go into the 'why'; that makes it confusing. When you see someone like Hendrix (who had MONSTER hands for his physical size), you're not really aware of the fact that a 'standard' grip would have limited him - or that his grip will limit you!

This is one of the areas where one lesson from a good teacher who can make adjustments to your position (and explain the reasons for the changes) will save you lots of trouble later on.

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL


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(@audioboy)
Estimable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 187
 

Im not really an expert, But I think it just depends on what makes you comfortable. For some barre chords such as Fmajor or Bmajor, it is unfomfortable for me to have my thumb anchored in the middle of the fretboard. But on almost all the other Barres, I need to have it there or else....


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(@manitou)
Estimable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 121
 

Do what you can. I personally angle my hand towards the body so my fingers are actually at a downward slant... which makes it hard to play Ascending scales but I can do descending twice as fast... So just play around and decide what you do and figure out how to do it hehe. And you can have more than one hand position for different songs, people forget this hehe. Dont be a One grip kinda guy :D

SHUT UP ABOUT IRON MAIDEN SOLOS AND GO PRACTICE!
-Manitou


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(@elecktrablue)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 4389
 

Usually my thumb stays pretty much in the center of the neck, but, occasionally, when having to do a stretch on the low E or A strings (like a 2-4-5 shuffle, for instance), my thumb wanders down to the bottom of the neck to give me more reach. IMHO, once you figure out what position feels and works best for you, stick to it and just make minor adjustments as needed, coming back to your original 'feels good' position. IMHO.

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"Don't wanna ride no shootin' star. Just wanna play on the rhythm guitar." Emmylou Harris, "Rhythm Guitar" from "The Ballad of Sally Rose"


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(@off-he-goes)
Noble Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 1274
 

Just a note to go along with what Elecktrablue about the "original feel good posistion", once you get used to the neck of your guitar it becomes natural. Actually I had to pick up my guitar, play some chords, and stare at my thumb just to tell you how mine works. Give it some time, and you'll adjust to different posistions without even thinking about it.

Vacate is the word...Vengance has no place on me or her...Cannot find a comfort in this world.


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(@jocko)
Eminent Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 39
 

Saw a picture of Robert Fripp today and he was spanning from the first to the SEVENTH fret. His thumb was behind the neck!

45 years playing and still rubbish.


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