Hello everyone. Let’s get into another basics of playing guitar today. Remember, basics are one of the most important when learning anything new. A good foundation in basics will help you a lot in the later stages even though you may not realise. It will take you a level up making it easier for you to learn the next level. So, get the basics right. Knowing how to hold the guitar and positioning your hands and fingers properly is very important when learning to play the guitar. Holding it correctly helps your hands to play naturally and with better efficiency.
Sometimes, when learning guitar, many of us hold the guitar improperly which minimises the flexibility, movement and reach of our hands and fingers causing stiffness and discomfort which affects the learning process. This in the long run becomes a habit and by the time we realise, it becomes difficult to get rid of the bad habits. So, it’s better to develop good habits from the the start. Here goes today’s How To lesson.
There are different styles to hold the guitar – The Classic Style, The Modern and more popular style and standing up.
- HOW TO HOLD CLASSIC STYLE:
In the classic style, you sit down on an armless chair and place the lower dent of the guitar on the thigh of the left leg if you are a right handed guitar player, i.e, if you pick with your right hand. If you are a left handed player, you place the lower dent of the guitar on the thigh of your right leg.
In classic style of holding guitar, you always place the body of the guitar on the leg towards the fretting hand side. This classic style of holding the guitar allows you to reach the higher frets with much ease since the guitar body is closer to your fretting hand. Beginners tend to let the guitar slide down outwards so that they can see the fretboard. Instead try to keep the guitar body as close to your body. You won’t be seeing the fretboard later on when you improve.
- HOW TO HOLD MODERN STYLE:
This is the more popular style in modern days. In this style, you sit down and place the lower dent of the guitar body on your leg that is towards your picking hand side. That means you place the guitar on your right leg if you are a right handed guitar player or on the left leg if you are left handed. You may also cross your legs if you want to. If you are right handed, cross your right leg over the left and if you are left handed, cross your left leg over the right leg. Remember to keep the guitar body tight against your own body. This style allows you to reach the lower frets (beginning frets) easily.
- HOW TO HOLD THE GUITAR WHILE STANDING:
When you play guitar while standing, you hang the guitar on your shoulders with the help of a guitar strap. You will some guitarists like in the punk and metal hanging their guitar very low and you can some guitarists hang the guitar very high toward their chest and some other guitarists hanging their guitar somewhere at the middle near their waist. The ideal location would be to hold the guitar somewhere near the waist. Holding the guitar high can also be good as makes reaching the frets easier. Holding the guitar very low can make it very difficult for you to reach the frets and is not much recommended.
HAND POSITIONS FOR BETTER
The picking hand is the hand which you use to pick and strum the strings near the sound hole of the guitar body. Rest the elbow of the picking hand on top of the guitar body towards the end. Your palms and fingers should reach somewhere above the soundhole and the strings. Keep your hands relaxed. Don’t rest your palm on the guitar. Let it hover over the strings. This will ensure that movement of your wrist, palms and fingers don’t get restricted.
Fretting hand is the hand you use to press down the strings on the notes. Let the upper arms of your fretting hand hang naturally beside your body. Now hold the guitar neck with your palm and fingers and push your wrist forward slightly and gently.
When you hold the neck of the guitar, your thumb should rest somewhere near the middle or a bit higher at the back of the neck. This allows more freedom, reach and flexibility to your fingers making them able to reach further more. Do not curve your thumb on top of the neck as it will restrict your fingers and cause discomfort and lessen your efficiency. It might feel awkward but keep practising that way and it will feel natural after some time. Curve your fingers at the knuckles and press the string with just the tip of your fingers. This way you will press only the required strings and not the unwanted strings.
HOW TO HOLD A PICK
Curve the fingers of the picking hand midway to making a fist. Now let the thumb fall over the index finger. Now place the pick between the thumb and the finger. The pointed tip of the pick should stick out by about half an inch or one inch. When in the beginner stage, purchase medium thick picks. These picks are not too soft and are neither too hard which is quite difficult to use for beginners. As you improve, you can go for thick picks.
When playing guitar, always remember to relax your body, especially hands and fingers. Try to make them free as much as possible. And never slouch too much. So that is the end of today’s How To lesson. remember to have fun.
You might also want to check out my tutorial on how to string a guitar.