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Guitar technique Part One - The left hand - Caroline Springs School of Music guitar lessons

At Caroline Springs School of Music all of our teachers are expert in helping students achieve technical mastery of the instrument. We have a number of technique exercies, scale studies and etudes that facilitate students acquiring technical profiency on the instrument in all areas.

One of the most misunderstood areas of guitar technique is the correct placement and functioning of the left hand. Left hand thumb position is the most crucial aspect of left hand technique.

Let us start with the open position where most beginner work takes place.

Firstly place your left hand thumb behind the second fret in the middle of the neck and on a 45 degree angle (ie the thumb tilted slightly towards the headstock) A common mistake is to place the fingers on the strings first and then place the thumb in position. ALWAYS place the thumb in position BEFORE placing the fingers on the strings.

The thumb should not be bent or sitting on top of the neck (advanced blues/rock players can be an exception)

The wrist should be slightly arched and fingers placed on the strings on their tips (not too close to the fingernail -but half way down the finger tip) Pictured is MaryAnne who has superb left and right hand technique.

If we were to play on any string at each fret (ascending pattern) eg we leave each successive finger pressed down - Do not release fingers until we change strings - these rules do not apply to descending patterns.

If you are in any doubt regarding any of the above please speak to your guitar teacher. We are proud to offer the best guitar lessons in the Western suburbs of Melbourne and our focus on developing sound technical skills is of paramount importance.

Stay tuned for Guitar technique part 2 The Right Hand- coming soon

Brendan Hains (principal guitar teacher and owner of Caroline Springs School of Music)

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