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Guitar Technique

Classical Guitar Left Hand Tips

"Guitar Technique - How to avoid problems and play correctly ..."

Left-hand technique is very important if you want to produce a clear and "warm" tone in your music making. The thumb and fingers must work co-operatively in a fine-motor sense because any excess pressure, or indeed not enough pressure, can mean the sound produced from your guitar notes is anything but good quality.

Firstly, the thumb of the left hand forms the basis of your balance in terms of technique. It should be placed behind the first or second finger and be positioned about one third of the way down from the top of the fret board. Here is a photo I took of my left hand thumb from behind...

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As you can see the correct technique is to keep the thumb straight (but not rigid). The thumb actually acts as a pivot so that you can keep your balance when your wrist bends and your fingers stretch to reach around for more difficult finger positions, or chords. Secondly, if you're conscientious about your technique, you should use the very tips of your fingers on the string as you push it down on the fret board.

You run the risk of the note not being correctly sounded If you use the "pads" of your fingers rather than the finger tips. Indeed, there is a very good chance the note will "buzz" or even be muted. The muting is especially problematic for the strings under your finger i.e. the strings not being fingered but being slightly touched by the skin of your finger being used to play a note. As you look from above at your finger playing a note it should really look like this...

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You can achieve this fingertip control by bending your knuckles at each joint as you attempt to play a note on the string. If you looked side-on at the shape of your finger as it played a note it would look a little like the letter "C", only a little more "square".

Lastly, to achieve good left-hand guitar technique, you must finger the note on the fret board right next to the fret itself. If you play too far away from the fret, you will tend to get a really annoying buzzing sound as you play the note. If you play right on top of the fret you will tend to get a muting sound which is also not conducive to good music making.

Here is another photo that shows you how to place the tip of your fingers on the string with correct fret positioning...

Notice the spacing between the finger joints. This gives the hand ideal balance and allows you to reach out for chord shapes and other individual notes with more ease.

I hope this mini-lesson on using the correct left-hand guitar technique has been of some use. :))

For more information on classical guitar go here...

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Welcome to LCG! I'm Trevor Maurice, owner of this site. I hope you find inspiration in these pages to help you with  your journey of learning to play the classical guitar. You can read more of my story here...

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