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Tips to holding meck/thumb correctly for kid

New Member
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 1
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My 10 y/o dtr is a lefty, learning guitar. So she is holding neck with left (dominant ) hand. Her instructor is constantly having to tell her to get her thumb in the back and not let her palm touch the guitar neck. She is strangling it! Are there any tips to help remind her, non verbal tricks to help?

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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5366

When I introduce chords with students I demonstrate how much of the sound comes from the first string by playing the bit of American Pie between the chorus and the next verse (which is all first string movement), and I shove a pen between their hand and the neck of the guitar to show them a decent hand position.

However, your daughter is 10. You don't say how long she's been learning, what book she's studying from and what stuff she's playing and that would be helpful to know. My students who are 10 normally study with me for a couple of years, learning melody, music reading and very basic harmony, getting the first Guitar Exam out of the way (London College of Music, Classical Guitar Step 1) before they need to worry insanely about chords, strangling the neck or stress over where the left thumb is placed.

"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:

New Member
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 4

According to Scott Tennant's book Pumping Nylon, you should have a straight wrist and the thumb on the fretting hand should be behind the second (middle) finger. I was taught to have my thumb on my fretting hand somewhere between my middle and ring finger. When you're watching her play, you should never be able to see her thumb come over the next, although this gets harder as you move the left hand further up the neck, especially when bending. For many, including myself, it's extremely difficult to play a bend without using the thumb over the neck, however, I have seen it done rarely.