Skip to content
Help with wrist pos...
 
Notifications
Clear all

Help with wrist position

11 Posts
5 Users
0 Likes
6,274 Views
(@josephnyc)
Eminent Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 15
Topic starter  

Hi,

I started lessons 3 weeks ago and am very excited about learning to play.

I've been practicing every day and just yesterday realized that my thumb position is wrong: I bend it at the last knuckle (the one about 1" from the tip of the thumb) to form a right angle -- the tip of the thumb is then pushing on the back of the neck of the guitar.

I've read about 6 or 7 articles so far about thumb position, and I have a general grasp of the back of neck vs. over the top debate.

I'd appreciate some help with getting me in the correct position.

I'm trying to put my thumb pad on the back of the neck (so the thumb itself is straight), while keeping my wrist unbent (straight) and keeping the palm of the hand parallel to the length of the neck (as opposed to the the index-finger side closer to the neck than the pinky-finger side). But, when I do that, my thumb does not point straight up -- it points slightly toward the head of the guitar when my fingers reach up to the strings.

I'm attaching a link to some images: Perhaps one of these is correct?



Picture # 1: Thumb straight but wrist bent
# 2: Wrist straight but thumb bent
# 3: Wrist straight and thumb straight but thumb pointing toward head

Thanks very much,

Joseph


   
Quote
(@ricochet)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 7833
 

Dunno about "correct," but mine's usually more like #3.

#1 will put you at risk for carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis.

#2 looks hard on the thumb.

My take is that if it works, it's correct.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
ReplyQuote
(@josephnyc)
Eminent Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 15
Topic starter  

Thanks for the help.

In 3 weeks I haven't felt any frustration or pain. Now I start playing in #3 position, and I feel like I just can't do it -- I can't keep the wrist straight , thumb straight and hit the strings perpendicular to the fretboard without pain.


   
ReplyQuote
(@ricochet)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 7833
 

Your guitar position's likely poor. Works best when you're close to the position classical guitar players use, with the body of the guitar fairly high, and the neck of the guitar up at a high angle along the side of your body. Gives the most natural wrist and hand position without strain. Trying to play in the "cool" looking low slung position is really hard on your wrist, especially.

I've got a guitar playing son named Joseph in NYC, BTW, but I don't think you're him. :lol:

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
ReplyQuote
(@noteboat)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 4921
 

+1 with Ricochet.

Your thumb position in #1 is good, but two things are off - the wrist (which you already knew) and the angle of the fingers... you're coming in from 'above' the frets. You'll get maximum reach if your fingers are parallel to the frets, and coming in from above says your peghead is too low.

Positions 2 and 3 are both a bit off - in both cases you've got the heel of your palm too close to the neck. That makes it tough to get a good arch with the fingers. In addition, #2 is going to give you too much stress at the base of your thumb.

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL


   
ReplyQuote
(@josephnyc)
Eminent Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 15
Topic starter  

Thanks so much guys!

I think I've got it: the neck had to higher and at a higher angle (pointing up to sky).

My problem is that with the guitar in that position, I'm able to keep the wrist almost straight, keep my palm parallel to the neck, keep the thumb straight and in the middle of the back of the neck, BUT I can't see the fretboard or where my fingers are on the strings (being new to this, I need to see where my fingers are going).

Any suggestions?

Thank you!


   
ReplyQuote
(@alangreen)
Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 5342
 

Put a mirror in front of you and watch your fingers in that. It fries your brains for a while but it's surprising how you get used to it.

A :-)

"Be good at what you can do" - Fingerbanger"
I have always felt that it is better to do what is beautiful than what is 'right'" - Eliot Fisk
Wedding music and guitar lessons in Essex. Listen at: http://www.rollmopmusic.co.uk


   
ReplyQuote
(@noteboat)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 4921
 

It's a common beginner error to tilt the guitar so you can see your fingers... but it puts too much strain on the wrist, and you want your eyes free (to watch a conductor, the sheet music, the girls in the audience, etc)

I have my students warm up by playing single note scales with their eyes closed. You'll get used to it in a few days, and if you can find the strings with your eyes closed you can play with your eyes anywhere - including NOT on your fingers :)

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL


   
ReplyQuote
(@ricochet)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 7833
 

You'll also note that your guitar, like most, has key fret positions marked on the edge of the fretboard facing you.

(Doesn't work for lefties playing upside down.)

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
ReplyQuote
(@josephnyc)
Eminent Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 15
Topic starter  

I've been shown the fret position indicators -- big help indeed.

Now if there were something to indicate which strings my left and right hand's fingers were on, I'd be on my way (;-)

Been practicing "Born Under a Bad Sign" with proper (I hope) left-hand position. It's starting to feel okay.

When I try chords, I'm basically groping in the dark.


   
ReplyQuote
(@dogbite)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 6348
 

I'll jump in late here.
I prefer the pic in number 3. I like my thumb pointing towards the guitar head. just slightly with open chords and more so with barre chords. barre chords has my thumb nearly parallel with the neck; pointing straight at the head stock.
you never want the tip of the thumb placed as shown in number 2. that's plain wrong.

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=644552
http://www.soundclick.com/couleerockinvaders


   
ReplyQuote