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yet another thumb position question

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Dave T
Reputable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 239
Topic starter  

So after 4 months away from my guitar, I decided to ditch the old death grip thumb over the neck style and go with the thumb behind the neck. Seems to be a positive thing, initially some wrist pain and heck of a time landing the chord in the right place but coming along pretty good. Sometimes I revert to the death grip especially with an open B7 but overall have a lot better range with the new style.

Anyway, I find myself on open chords moving more at times to having the thumb pointing up the neck towards the headstock. I guess if anything this is good position for moving into full barres, which I have not done yet. Just want to make sure I am not developing another bad habit I will need to break some day.


Illustrious Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 6348

I play guitar with thumb over or behind the neck depending on the chord, my mood, the voicing I want, etc.
I do firmly believe that when playing thumb behind the neck, the best position is for the thumb to be pointing nearly straight at the head stock; almost parallel with the neck. when the thumb is in this position the fingers acutally position themselves right over the strings without strain.
the thumb behind the neck position:
stick the left arm forward, bending at the elbow. turn the hand so palm is up( like when you receive change for a dollar)
place the guitar neck in the palm.
the thumb is pointing towards the head stock and the fingers aim straight up. the wrist angle now allows all the fingers to reach the strings. the pinky can even reach for farther frets.
the guitar of course is not worn below the waist for this technique.

Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 4921

I think a lot of "best" position depends on hand size. I keep my thumb perpendicular to the neck in most situations - 90 degrees off from what Dogbite does. This places my hand in sort of a "C" shape, allowing the fingers to come straight down on the frets and extending my reach. If I point my thumb towards the peghead I get less reach.

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