David Hodge

Since joining Guitar Noise in 1999, David has written over a thousand articles, lessons, interviews and reviews here. He also serves as the site's Managing Editor, supervising all content in addition to the continued writing of his own lessons and articles. And if that wasn't enough to keep him busy, David is also the author of seven instructional books, the most recent being Idiot’s Guide: Guitar Theory.

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  1. James
    March 2nd, 2012 @ 11:03 am

    Hi, Thanks for this, I have been playing a month and my thumb is very guilty of holding up my chord changes. i will try to keep it behind the neck from now on :)

    • Akshay
      January 30th, 2016 @ 10:57 am

      I have been struggling with the rhythm for quite a while now. I have recognised my problems and got em charted down after reading this. I can’t keep a constant steady beat or play a full song.. It keeps draining the confidence out of me. And it has been pretty boring and seemingly mind-numbing practicing with the metronome and drum tracks. I don’t know if it will make any good but..i will persist… Until I succeed :)

  2. David Hodge
    March 2nd, 2012 @ 6:58 pm

    Hi James

    Thank you for writing and I’m glad this article was helpful to you. Not to totally contradict the advice here, but there will be times as you gain more experience playing that you will find wrapping your thumb around the neck of the guitar helpful. But when one is just starting out (or when one is having difficulties fretting chords properly), more times than not adjusting the thumb position can be very helpful.

    Please feel free to write anytime with any questions you may have. Or post them on the Guitar Noise Forum pages – you’ll find lots of helpful folks there with greeat advice.


  3. darrell phillips
    May 12th, 2012 @ 6:44 am

    Thanks so much for this article. I teach banjo, mandolin, and ukulele at our local music school, coffee house, Beans and Strings….
    This tips will be great for my students. You have made me a better teacher!!!

    • David Hodge
      May 12th, 2012 @ 4:23 pm

      Hi Darrell

      Thanks for writing and I’m glad this article is being of some help to you (and your students!). For whatever it’s worth, we’ve a bunch of ukulele articles coming up in the next few months to coincide with the publication of my latest book, “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Playing the Ukulele.” I hope you’ll find these new lessons entertaining and educational as well.

      Looking forward to chatting with you again soon.


  4. Nana A
    September 30th, 2014 @ 7:09 pm

    Hi! Thanks for this. I started learning about two weeks ago and my wrist has started to hurt. And I can’t seem to place my thumb correctly behind the neck. The side of my thumb presses on the back of the neck with the front of my thumb facing the right. And I always seem to be pressing too hard. Any tips for me?

  5. CK
    October 2nd, 2014 @ 3:59 am

    Came across this today, been on the guitar for 8 months and there’s some really good tips here. Thanks so much.

  6. Dead
    January 3rd, 2015 @ 3:56 pm

    Great article, my only point of contention is referring to Metallica for beginners learning whole songs (good luck with those solos).

    My question is if anybody here has any good reference for basic rhythm in general. I comprehend 3/4 and 4/4 patterns and can play the basic chord progressions (& maybe one in 7ths) but my timing ALWAYS sounds like a reggae guitarist. I listen to it occasionally, but when I try to do a blues style or (anything) else, it comes out weird.

  7. Cecile
    May 26th, 2015 @ 8:15 am

    I admit I’m one of those who focuses on the strum ‘is it up down or down up strum’ and yes I focus more on that then the actually counting and my husband who is trying to teach me is forever getting frustrated with my poor strumming. He always says ‘guitarists are lazy, we look for the quickest and easiest way to play’. He says I look more like I’m trying to chop wood then play guitar. I admit I sometimes wonder if I’ll ever learn and get so frustrated that I want to give up. I try to practice but get annoyed when I don’t see any progress. I’ve never been good at learning and my guitar playing is unfortunately a good indication of that.

  8. David
    July 9th, 2015 @ 5:44 am

    Hi.. thanks for this. I really appreciate it.. I have been on the guitar for a month + now but, I still have issues with strumming.. I tend to worry about my up down up down strumming a lot and can’t seem to get it right.. any more help please…

  9. Aoun
    November 7th, 2016 @ 9:31 am

    That was a good article. Simple yet effective. Can you help with counting time? I can’t grasp the concept of timing and have been struggling with this for a year. One more thing, i am not getting better at playing single notes either, i know my lack of practice is a major factor, but other than that it still doesn’t work.