How to Properly Position Your Fingers & Hand on the Neck of a Guitar

by Derek M. Kwait
Looking cool while playing it requires first knowing how to hold it.

Looking cool while playing it requires first knowing how to hold it.

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Guitarists are the face of a band. A list of great guitarists of the past hundred years -- Robert Johnson, Chuck Berry, Jimi Hendrix, David Gilmoure, Eric Clapton -- reads like a who's who of 20th century culture. It can take five minutes to learn the basics of guitar playing, but the skills take a lifetime to master. Still, even the greats had to start somewhere. Get the basics down today and with practice, the sky's the limit on what tomorrow can bring.

Step 1

Use your left hand to grip the end of the neck farthest from the body with your palm up, so that your fingers curl around the fret board and your thumb contours around the back.

Step 2

Position your fingertips on the first string, keeping your knuckles arched. Make sure no part of your finger is touching another string.

Step 3

Stretch your fingers so that each is right up against one of the ridges marking the different frets.

Step 4

Practice sliding your fingers up and down the fret board, always making sure to have only one finger in the bottom of each fret box.

Step 5

Reach up to other strings and practice quickly moving your fingers between strings up and down the neck.

Step 6

Work on moving your fingers on and off the fret board individually. Put your index finger on a random fret on a random string then take it off and do the same with your third finger. Once you feel comfortable enough with this, do it with more than one finger at a time.

Tips & Warnings

  • The procedure is the same for left-handed people, except they should hold the neck in their right hands.

About the Author

Derek M. Kwait has a Bachelor of Arts in English writing from the University of Pittsburgh and has been writing for most of his life in various capacities. He has worked as a staff writer and videographer for the "Jewish Chronicle of Pittsburgh" and also has training writing fiction, nonfiction, stage-plays and screenplays.

Photo Credits

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