Learn To Play Guitar Efficiently - LH Techniques
Find Out How to Hold Your Left Hand and Proper Positioning of Your Fingers
What exactly do I mean by this? Let me tell you how important it is to do things with the minimum mechanical motion and effort and I guarantee you will play faster, and more accurately than you could ever dream you could.
First of all make sure you grasp the guitar properly with both you left and right hands.
Learn to Play Guitar - Proper Finger Placement
- Thumb firmly behind the neck, hand hanging down, almost like it is suspended from the guitar. A very simple way to illustrate this is to hold your left hand out and just let the finger relax and hang down. Now just flip up your hand and grasp the guitar in exactly this fashion and you will be holding the guitar neck perfectly.
- Also, when placing the fingers on the fingerboard, make sure for individual notes that just the very tips of the fingers come in contact with the fingerboard.
- All fingers should be arched and depending on your finger length, you could tip them slightly forward.
Learn to Play Guitar - Finger Number Diagram
- Index Finger (1)
- Middle Finger (2)
- Ring Finger (3)
- Pinky Finger (4)
Notice in the photo that the thumb is not overhanging the fret board. This is about the highest you should bring your thumb up on the neck - just to the joint where the fingerboard and the neck join.
Any farther up and around the neck will restrict movement too much.
General rule (not true every time), is that the finger number corresponds to the fret number that it plays. (i.e., first finger plays first fret, second finger plays second fret and so on).
This is true only in the first position, which extends from the open strings to the 4th fret.
- When you finger a note with your left hand finger, place the finger directly behind the fret, not midway between the frets.
- The string presses down and makes contact easiest at this point of the fretboard and you will get less buzzing.
- Keep your left hand fingers close to the fingerboard - especially the fingers that are not playing, but are "standing by".
- This will mean less wasted motion and these millisecond saving add up big time in the whole scheme of learning to play the guitar efficiently.
When playing your songs, keep an eye on the chords that go together with the lead notes. Often you can get some real clues as to where the melody is going by simply watching the chords.
Also, along with this, try to play the melody with chord forms. In other words if you see that you have 3 bars of a C chord, you can likely finger a portion of the C chord and many of these notes will be in the melody. So keep your fingers ready for a chord coming up by looking to the chord forms or shapes.
We will review this more thoroughly in our section on flatpicking and flatpicking solos sections, where this is extremely essential.
Learn to Play Guitar - Death Grip and Thumb Overhanging the Fingerboard
The hand holds the neck with a "death grip". What I mean is that you are holding the guitar so tightly you are restricting movement and blood flow to your fingers. Relax you hand and fingers.
The thumb hangs over the top of the fingerboard. It is true that this can be a technique that some players use to actually finger the bass notes, but for normal playing, get that thumb either in the center of the neck or somewhere between the center and the bottom of the fingerboard line.
A portion of the hand other than the thumb contacts the neck. The only contact with the neck from the left hand would be the thumb and possibly a portion of the left hand contacting the bottom edge of the neck the the base of the index finger - and of course the fingers on the fingerboard.
Immediate release of a note once it is picked. This is one of the more difficult tasks to master. Try to let notes ring through each other at least slightly.
Too much separation between fingers: When playing chords and fingers are adjacent to each other (i.e., Am, where the third finger is directly below the second finger), next the fingers together to give you added strength and power in holding down the strings.