With both the right and left hands it is important to develop positions that are comfortable and allow the tendons to move freely through the wrist and finger joints. The wrist can gyrate and rotate in many directions allowing for a very wide range of possibilities when it comes to hand position. However, just as with the sitting position, let the body dictate your hand position in stead of your guitar.

As an example of what different positions do to our finger control and level of hand tension, try this simple exercise:

Start with your arm out, bent at the elbow like you were about to shake someones hand. Start wiggling your fingers and without moveing your forearm proceed to angle your wrist so that your wiggling fingers are pointing to the ground, now move them to point to the sky, continue to experiment with directions of the wrist – left, right, up, down etc.

Hopefully you would have found that the most comfortable position to wriggle your fingers was with your fingers, wrist and forearm aligned in one straight line. Over time it is possible to develop strange contortions of the wrist and hand that can lead to crippling injuries. This is the most compelling reason to develop a position that is first and foremost ergonomic and secondly one that enables you to do what you want in your playing.

To position the hands in a default position over the strings, I like to use the following method:

  • Place the thumb, index, middle and anular (ring finger) all on the third string.
  • Without moving any of the three fingers, move your thumb from the third string so it is resting on the fourth.
  • Now move the middle finger so it is resting on the second string, and finally the anular finger so it is resting on the first string.The index finger should stay in its original place as you are moving the other digits.

Now you should have a good basic hand position!