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self confessed neck hugger....


(@amira)
Trusted Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 78
Topic starter  

As is the case with most new guitars players i'm having trouble with barre chords... i'm learning to play the song i've posted below as i think it's great Bm Cm practice...

so here's what i'm a bit concerned about... i tend to hug the neck of the guitar when i'm playing open chords... ie i don't put my thumb on the back of the middle of the neck... so consequently when i transition from say a G to a Bm my fingers not only have to find the right notes... but my whole hand has to kind of swivel round 90 degrees to be able to barre the chord... does that make sense? so my question is... is this a problem?

also... my way around the dreaded barre chord thing at the moment is to build up to them bit by bit... which does seem to be working... although it sounds horrid to listen to... what i do is to play the chord without the barre.... so that my fingers learn where to go... then when i can do that... i play the chord with my index finger on the top E string of where it will eventually barre - which is helping to get my hand in positon... and eventually i hope to be able to play the whole darn thing!!! lol

so.. what do you think about the neck hugging thing?

Wake me up when September ends

G Bm
Summer has come and passed
Em Bm
The innocent can never last
C Cm G
Wake me up when september ends

G Bm
Like my fathers come to pass
Em Bm
seven years has gone so fast
C Cm G Bm/D#
Wake me up when september ends

Em Bm
Here comes the rain again
C G D/F#
Falling from the stars
Em Bm
Drenched in my pain again
C D
Becoming who we are

G Bm
As my memory rests
Em Bm
But never forget what I less
C Cm G
Wake me up when september ends

G D/F#
Summer has come and passed
Em Bm
The innocent can never last
C Cm G
Wake me up when september ends
G D/F#
Ring out the bells again
Em Bm
Like we did when spring began
C Cm G
Wake me up when september ends

Em Bm
Here comes the rain again
C G D/F#
Falling from the stars
Em Bm
Drenched in my pain again
C D
Becoming who we are

G D/F#
As my memory rests
Em Bm
But never forget what I less
C Cm G
Wake me up when september ends

G Bm
Summer has come and passed
Em Bm
The innocent can never less
C Cm G
Wake me up when september ends

G Bm
Like my fathers come to pass
Em Bm
Twenty years has gone so fast
C Cm G
Wake me up when september ends
C Cm G
Wake me up when september ends
C Cm G
Wake me up when september ends...


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(@guitarteacher)
Eminent Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 46
 

The two rules of efficiency are:

1. Conserve Motion

2. Conserve Energy

The more you think about, the more you come to the conclusion that playing guitar efficiently is more a matter of taking opportunities to remain still.

Practice your open chords with the thumb in the same position as when you play bar chords. It will feel unfamiliar at, first, but it should never feel physically uncomfortable. Think of the thumb in the same way you would a common finger and it will become one.

By the way, I really like your method of practicing bar chords without the bar (and I'm going to steal it!)

Hope that helps. I wish you well.

If you want to be good, practice. If you want to be great, you must constantly change the way you think.


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(@amira)
Trusted Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 78
Topic starter  

The two rules of efficiency are:

1. Conserve Motion

2. Conserve Energy

The more you think about, the more you come to the conclusion that playing guitar efficiently is more a matter of taking opportunities to remain still.

Practice your open chords with the thumb in the same position as when you play bar chords. It will feel unfamiliar at, first, but it should never feel physically uncomfortable. Think of the thumb in the same way you would a common finger and it will become one.

By the way, I really like your method of practicing bar chords without the bar (and I'm going to steal it!)

Hope that helps. I wish you well.

oh yes feel free to steal it... i hope it helps others... anyway i'm going to steal the word "egregious" from musenfreund... (although i havent told him yet )....

anyway... back to the thread... the thing is... the thumb thing doesn't just feel uncomfortable... it makes the guitar feel too loose in my hand... like i'll drop it even though i'm sitting down... does that make sense?


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(@maxrumble)
Reputable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 447
 

Sometimes I creep up on a chord. I tend to hug the neck on the D chord. Sometimes when I am transitioning from D I tend to begin moving my hand away from the neck while strumming. This is actually fairly easy to do. I also do it with some other transitions as well, although it is pretty much unconscious now and I couldn't even tell you which ones.

Hugging the neck on all of your open chord would, seem to me, to make it difficult to form them and transition, but I could be wrong on this as I am not a teacher. I would definitely ask your teacher about it.

Cheers,

Max


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(@lunchmeat)
Estimable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 153
 

I don't know what type of guitar you're playing, but if you have a strap, always use it (even when you're sitting down). It will hold the guitar in a desirable position so you don't have to hold it yourself.

Classical position dictates that you have the guitar on your left leg. This isn't completely necessary, but I find it's pretty nice for getting the guitar in position. Make sure your guitar is balanced on your leg; generally, when I'm holding a guitar in classical position, it will want to fall to my right, not my left, and this is easily controllable. (With your right leg and right hand.)

I hope that made some semblance of sense - good luck!

-lunchmeat


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(@margaret)
Noble Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 1689
 

but if you have a strap, always use it

Definitely! I read this in one of my guitar books, got a strap button put on the acoustic, and stopped feeling like I was going to lose the guitar off my lap.

Make sure the strap is adjusted snugly enough so that when you're seated, the strap will fully support the guitar. Then you aren't distracted by trying to balance it all the time. Your fingers are then free for playing instead of holding.

Margaret

When my mind is free, you know a melody can move me
And when I'm feelin' blue, the guitar's comin' through to soothe me ~


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(@guitarteacher)
Eminent Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 46
 

anyway... back to the thread... the thing is... the thumb thing doesn't just feel uncomfortable... it makes the guitar feel too loose in my hand... like i'll drop it even though i'm sitting down... does that make sense?

If that's the case, then your left hand is probably assisting in holding the guitar. This is very restrictive and should be avoided. As Lunchmeat mentioned, classical position will allow you to hold the guitar without using either hand. The four points of contact are as follows; top of the left thigh, inside of the right thigh, against the chest, and under the dominant hand's forearm.

You could probably come close to duplicating this position with a strap, but it won't feel quite as secure.

One more point regarding the left hand; the only points of contact should be the pad of the thumb (where your thumbprint is) and the tips of the fingers.

Good Luck!

If you want to be good, practice. If you want to be great, you must constantly change the way you think.


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(@amira)
Trusted Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 78
Topic starter  

brilliant advice everyone... thank you so much!!

running upstairs now to put on a strap and sit properly. :D


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(@mrjonesey)
Reputable Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 470
 

My first guitar instructer taught me strict Mel Bay. I initially learned the classical hand position with the thumb in the proper location on the back of the neck. My problem is that my hands are a bit big (I'm 6'7) and I am actually much more confortable wrapping my thumb over the top. I use it to mute the top string and sometimes to fret the base string. I am very confortable switching positions between the "neck hug" and the classical postion. I have no problem with my chord changes and feel that I am very efficient and plent fast. It works for me and I have no pain or discomfort. I see a lot of the blues guys hug the neck as well. Also, you will see a lot of folk/bluegrass players use that position to finger pick with the alt BN patterns.

I suggest that you do what is comfortable for you. Just make sure you don't do anything that hurts your wrist, arm or shoulder. Strict classical players will likely disagree.

"There won't be any money. But when you die, on your death bed, you will receive total conciousness. So, I got that going for me. Which is nice." - Bill Murray, Caddyshack ~~ Michigan Music Dojo - http://michiganmusicdojo.com ~~


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(@jasonrunguitar)
Reputable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 273
 

My hand does the exact same thing. My thumb wraps pretty far around, especially on open chords like an open D. Two things though:

1) When you said "swivel round 90 degrees" I knew exactly what you ment, well said! I do the exact same thing, and, though I'm sure it doesn't conserve energy, I've learned to make it work, and I can still get to my barre chords relatively fast. So I'm just saying that it can work (wih practice...and lots of it...of course )...it's all about what feels comfortable.

2) It's totally not a bad thing. Here's an example, when I'm playing a chord progression like G-D-Em (fairly common in the key of G) I like to use an D/F#...putting the F# in the bass fits the chord and it makes a cool descending bassline (G, D#, E)...how to you fret that though, while keeping the rest of the D chord?...The answer: your thumb!!! Some people have to learn to swivel their hand like you do to get that thumb fretting, but you already have it down solid, it would seem! So not only is your problem not terrible, it's actually quite usefull, in it's own way

-Jason
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
To those about to rock, we salute you!
http://www.soundclick.com/jasonwittenbach


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(@kent_eh)
Noble Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 1885
 

When I first started playing, I read that thumb-behind-the-neck was the only "proper" way to play, and you'll never be a good player if you let your thumb stick up.

Then I heard from lots of other players who said it ain't nesecarily so.

These guys seem to have done ok with it.



I wrapped a newspaper ’round my head
So I looked like I was deep


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(@taylorr)
Honorable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 740
 

dont worry too much about it.

aka Izabella


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(@amira)
Trusted Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 78
Topic starter  

When I first started playing, I read that thumb-behind-the-neck was the only "proper" way to play, and you'll never be a good player if you let your thumb stick up.

Then I heard from lots of other players who said it ain't nesecarily so.

These guys seem to have done ok with it.



wow... that's some serious thumb sticking up there! :D

thank you all so much for your really interesting and supportive comments...

i love this place. :D


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(@donzo)
Eminent Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 31
 

One more comment on this - you might want to evaluate whether your guitar is well "set up". I'm a newb myself and so I'm not really the person to instruct on this... but basically if the action isn't so good on your guitar (i.e. the strings are too high off the frets) then barre chords are a lot harder. I played a friends guitar and suddenly found I could do barre chords quite easily, and the answer turned out to be that his guitar was well set-up and mine wasn't. Set ups here in Canada cost around $40.

Don


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(@amira)
Trusted Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 78
Topic starter  

One more comment on this - you might want to evaluate whether your guitar is well "set up". I'm a newb myself and so I'm not really the person to instruct on this... but basically if the action isn't so good on your guitar (i.e. the strings are too high off the frets) then barre chords are a lot harder. I played a friends guitar and suddenly found I could do barre chords quite easily, and the answer turned out to be that his guitar was well set-up and mine wasn't. Set ups here in Canada cost around $40.

Don

well i have just bought a new guitar... a really nice simon and patrick... and the action is a little high compared to what i'm used to on my old guitar... so you'd think i'd find it harder... and in fact i think i do a little... but then the tone is so much nicer that when i do manage them they sound much better which is good... i'm looking forward to my next lesson and seeing what my teacher thinks about the action and if he thinks i should get it adjusted...

good point thanks...


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