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How to hold the neck? Noob question...


(@mystery)
Eminent Member
Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 34
Topic starter  

When I was practicing, I noticed that I can hold the neck in two ways.
1. Neck touching palm under high E side.
This makes the neck rest on the palm and some chords are easy but usually the high E is touched with palm.
Also, the arm doesn't need to be moved much.

2. Neck not touching palm under high E side.
This makes the fingers arch more and the neck balances by the pressure of thumb and other fingers making the chord.
The arm also needs to move little under the neck for this and is more effort.

I'm not sure which one is good method for practice.
Could you guys shed some light on how/where you put your thumb/palm when playing?
Thanks


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

#2 is the right way, in general.

You may want to rest your palm against the neck in some situations: when you deliberately want to damp the high E, when you're using the palm for leverage for a big bend, etc. But if there's no special reason to do so, you want to be able to have all the strings ring.

A lot of beginners develop bad habits because they're "easier". But I tell my students that in the long run, it's usually better to practice the "harder" technique, even if it doesn't matter which one you use in a specific situation. My reasoning: if you've practiced something enough, it's not so "hard" anymore... and if the other approach is truly "easier", it'll come pretty naturally when you do actually need it for musical reasons.

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL


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(@mystery)
Eminent Member
Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 34
Topic starter  

Thanks for reply Noteboat.
I find it difficult to switch the chords using #2.

To be more specific on the position, when you play D or A major chord, does your thumb stay behind the neck or the tip comes over the neck? I find it easier to switch when the thumb's tip is over the low E side rather than behind the neck.
#2 usually makes the thumb's tip hide behind the neck.
Hope you got the picture. :?


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

For A major, my thumb is always behind the neck. For D major, it usually is - there are songs that use D/F#, and depending on the tempo, I might fret the F# with my thumb.

Thumb-over fretting is usually done by people with large hands - Hendrix, Johnny Smith, etc - but not me. I find that hooking the thumb over to fret slows down chord changes, so the only time I'm likely to do it for a chord is if a song ends on a 6/9 (like a C6/9: 332233). Since that's most often used as an ending chord, I don't have to change from it to anything else.

Like most things in music, there's always an exception. But like most things, there's a reason for the exception, and in general, I find thumb behind the neck is better.

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL


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(@mystery)
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Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 34
Topic starter  

Thanks for suggestions NoteBoat!


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(@srmaximo)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 25
 

While I almost never seen a professional guitar player place their palm flat against the back of the neck, many guitarists (including myself) cup the back of the neck with the part of the hand between the thumb and the first finger. When the other posters talk about draping the thumb over the top of the neck, I believe they're talking about that position.

So avoid using the whole palm, but this other position is very common. Unless you play in classical guitar position or standing up with a very short strap, it's usually more ergonomic because it decreases wrist bending (which is hard on your tendons).

I wrote a blog post years ago on this.

Hope this helps,

Rob

Teach Guitar
Free Guitar Tabs
Strum Patterns


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(@mystery)
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Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 34
Topic starter  

srmaximo,
Thank you for the information and the blog.
Will go through the blog in detail soon


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