Classical Guitar Lessons: Correct Hand Placement

Classical Guitar Lessons - Correct Hand Placement

Correct Right and Left Hand Placement Will Give You Greater Speed and Agility 

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Classical Guitar Lessons - How to Place Your Hands Correctly

The Classical Guitar typically is held somewhat different as you were taught in Classical Guitar Lesson 2 - How to hold a Classical Guitar.

Now we will go the next step and show you how you should place both your right and left hands on the guitar.

I would like to reaffirm the importance on this as the correct posture and hand placement is critical in being able to excel with the Classical Guitar.

You must concentrate on these position exercise and be as precise as possible to allow free movement of the right and especially the left hand.

  • First, let's look at the left hand from the fretboard side.
  • Correct Left Hand Position from Front

    Proper Left Hand Positioning

    In the photograph above notice the hand is in a relaxed position, the fingers are gently arched and able to contact the strings at a sharp angle - between 45 and 60 degrees, which will allow a great deal of freedom and strength to press down the strings without buzzing.

    Also notice that there is quite a bit of space between the palm of the hand and the neck. The hand does not grab the neck in a "death grip" position, which is typical with beginning  guitar students.

    Imagine you are holding the guitar by your fingernails and then allow your hand to completely relax and suspend only by the tips of your fingers. That is how your hand should look

    Another thing that should be noted is how the finger tips are placed very near to the fret. In other words the first finger that is fretting the second string in much nearer to the first fret than to the nut.

    Likewise for all other fingers. The reason for this position is the string is easiest to play near the fret and you are less likely to get a string buzz near the  fret rather than midway between the frets.

    Now let's take a look at the backside of the right hand...
    Left hand Position Back of Neck

    Place Your Thumb on the Center of the Neck

    Proper Left Hand Position - Back of Neck

    As the above photograph indicates, place the thumb of the left hand in the center portion of the neck. Again notice the space between the palm of the hand and the neck, thus minimizing friction and  allowing adequate ventilation to all parts  of the hand.

    This will be challenging at first and feel somewhat uncomfortable, but stick with it and it will grow on you and once you master it, you are on your way to becoming a concert guitarist.

    Proper Right Hand Placement

    Next we will evaluate the correct right hand positioning...

    Correct Right Hand Position

    Proper Right Hand Positioning

    Place the right forearm at the top of the lower bout about equal with the line of the center of the bridge. Allow the arm to gently arch outward and let the fingers of the right hand naturally hang down and curve inward toward the strings.

    Notice how the index finger, the middle finger and the ring finger all contact the string at close to a 90 degree angle to the strings?

    This will give you very good control of tone and attack of each string. The fingernails of each finger will also strike each string at a 90 degree angle, producing a bright, clean tone.

    The thumb can also arch outward very gently and contact the strings at an optimal angle, giving a great deal of power to the thumb when needed.

    Classical Guitar Player

    Proper Way To Hold The Classical Guitar

    Summing Up This Classical Guitar Lesson...

    Seated Position:

      Left foot on about a 4" step.
      Waist of guitar resting on the left leg.
      Angle of guitar between 30 and 45 degrees.
      Left and right hands - very relaxed positions.
      Left hand palm does not contact the guitar neck.
      Right forearm contact the guitar in-line with center of bridge.
      Fingers of right hand contact strings at 90 degree angle.

    There you have it. Every time you pick up your Classical Guitar, concentrate on these points and Get Them Right! After a short while you will not even think about it as it will become second nature. Doing it right from the beginning is crucial because it is very hard to undo bad habits.