Poll: Which position do you use?
Poll Options
View poll results: Which position do you use?
Position 1 - it is the correct position
14 29%
Position 2 - it is the correct position
5 10%
Either one/both - neither one is the absolute proper way
29 60%
Voters: 48.
#1
I've always thought my fretting hand was fine, until my guitar teacher mentioned something about it last week. He said that my hand seemed too slanted, and that my thumb shouldn't be as high on the back of the neck as it was. I've been obsessing over it for the few days since, and have begun to play everything with my thumb up against the back of the neck, and my fingers perfectly perpendicular to the fretboard. However, this doesn't seem the comfortable way to play when I'm just improvising over something and doing bends, vibrato, etc. So should I play everything the way he told me to? Also, how many of you play with either position?


Position 1 - Proper position, according to my teacher


Position 2 - Position I had always used
#2
I've always played with my hand slanted like your second pic. It works for me.
That being said, I'm pretty sure either way is fine.
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#3
to be honest, you're exagerating both.
you'll use a position for some things, and for other kinds of techniques, the other position.

for blues and normal rock, mostly the second, BUT, not with the thumb / fingers so angled.
for classical, and songs with lots of chords, the whole time, the first. but not completely perpendicular. that messes up your wrist or hand.

maybe you could show us a vid of you playing to further advise you?
#4
For general picking, the back of the neck position is better. It gives you a better reach and a stronger grip. However, the "baseball bat" grip with the thumb over the top is good for bending, because it gives you a fulcrum point for your wrist and forearm.
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#6
Well the thing that I was curious about was speed. I noticed that, although it was taking time to adjust, the first position allowed me to more comfortably play faster runs. However, it seemed hindering when I was just playing casually.
#8
I use the first position, and it works a lot better for me - overall my hand feels freer to move around and get the job done. I don't think it's the end of the world if you use the 2nd position. It did take me quite a while to get as comfortable with bends and vibrato in the first position as I was in the 2nd (previously I used to switch back and forth, until I realized I was wasting a lot of motion that way).
#9
I personally use the 'thumb over the top' method.
If I put my thumb on the back, it bends my wrist at an uncomfortable angle.
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#10
Quote by Sleaze Disease
I personally use the 'thumb over the top' method.
If I put my thumb on the back, it bends my wrist at an uncomfortable angle.


Sounds like you're playing your guitar slung too low.
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#11
It's really a manner of opinion, both work just fine.

I prefer 2, because I sweep a lot, and use my ring finger often.
#12
Quote by DaddyTwoFoot
Sounds like you're playing your guitar slung too low.

Nope.
It's up fairly high, actually.
Not Tom Morello height, of course, but it's not low.
It's the same height standing that it is when I rest it on my left leg when I'm sitting.
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#13
The first position allows better access to the frets, particularly for the fourth finger. It's obvious from looking at the two pictures which one is going to get around the fretboard easiest. It only works however when the guitar is quite high otherwise the wrist does have to bend too much. You can bend the fingers a little (like in the first picture) to straighten the wrist out as well if you don't want to bring the guitar up any more, if your fingers are straighter the wrist will have to bend.

If you're playing pentatonic box shapes with your guitar strung low the second position is best. Ever seen Jimmy Page's left hand? He gets around alright.
#14
I love Jimmy Page, but even I have to point out his sloppiness.
I'm sure a lot of that is due to his guitar being slung low.
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#15
Quote by Patrick Curley
The first position allows better access to the frets, particularly for the fourth finger. It's obvious from looking at the two pictures which one is going to get around the fretboard easiest. It only works however when the guitar is quite high otherwise the wrist does have to bend too much. You can bend the fingers a little (like in the first picture) to straighten the wrist out as well if you don't want to bring the guitar up any more, if your fingers are straighter the wrist will have to bend.

If you're playing pentatonic box shapes with your guitar strung low the second position is best. Ever seen Jimmy Page's left hand? He gets around alright.


Jimmy Page's technique has always been awful. Great musician; bad guitar player.

And Sleaze, to keep a straight wrist while you play, you need to try to drop your elbow down underneath the guitar neck as much as possible. Watch Freepower's YouTube video about posture if you haven't already.
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#16
Basically, the second one is the casual playing style, bending, power chords, blues, etc. etc.

The first one is the more "schooled" style, yes its uncomfortable, and impractical for most situations, if you learn how to use it, it's GREAT for speed runs, and 4+ string sweeps.

(This is just the expieriences of one of 'em guitar guys who wasn't schooled but tries out everything )
#17
i use position 1 when runs start on the lower (thicker) strings or for big stretches, but am mostly in position2, perhaps from force of habit, or just comfort, or watching other guitarists do this. Also position 2 tends to work better for me when standing up.
#18
i play somewhat in between both, so i voted theresd no absolute proper way.

when playing past the 12th fret for example, my thumb sort of sticks up a little
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#19
just depends what you are doing. If playing chromatics its flat to the neck, if playing an open A chord the hand is at 90 degrees almost. If playing a bend the thumb is up on the top to clamp down on the wood.
#20
You have to be familiar with and use both positions. The first position allows for the greatest stretch and channels the strength of the fingers much better, basically meaning that it's superior for everything except (and this is extremely important for electric guitar) bends and vibrato.

http://guitarprinciples.com/Guitar_Technique/Bending.htm

Take a read. Quite simply, there are things you will never play unless you are able to use both positions.
#21
^ + 1

i generally stick with the way you hold your hand in the first pic, the "proper" way if you will as it generally suits my style of playing. but i have noticed that depending on what and how im playing it may shift to how you hold you hand in the 2nd pic or maybe even somewhere in between.
#24
Quote by Sleaze Disease
I personally use the 'thumb over the top' method.
If I put my thumb on the back, it bends my wrist at an uncomfortable angle.


Well then,

^ this guy will never get good at guitar unless he has hendrix's 3foot hands
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#25
Quote by bnich
Well then,

^ this guy will never get good at guitar unless he has hendrix's 3foot hands

What the ****?
You've never even heard me play.
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#27
I play almost exclusivly in the second simply because a huge portion of my playing style is based on bending.
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#28
I use position 1 90% of the time. It's the way I teach positioning to every student I work with... it doesn't mess up your hand and it shouldn't be uncomfortable at all if you're doing it right.

Position 2's only advantage is the thumb on the back for leverage, which you'll need for bending and vibrato. Other than that, there's really no reason to use it.
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#29
I wouldn't get too caught up on one way being THE correct way. Depending on the situation, either one of those postures could be appropriate.

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Position 2's only advantage is the thumb on the back for leverage, which you'll need for bending and vibrato. Other than that, there's really no reason to use it.


If you play electric guitar, chances are you'll being doing plenty of bending and vibrato.
No need to downplay 2 of the most commonly used techniques for lead guitar playing.
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Feb 16, 2009,
#30
Quote by DaddyTwoFoot
Jimmy Page's technique has always been awful. Great musician; bad guitar player.


Just because his technique wasent great, doesn't mean he's a "bad guitar player". Im not that huge on Page, or Zeppelin.. but to call him bad because his techique wasen't the greatest is pretty stupid. Theres alot of guys who have great technique who will never come close to Jimmy Page
#31
Any chance we can avoid a opinion argument for once?
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theory states 1+1=2 sometimes in music 1+1=3.
#32
Quote by Peaceful Rocker
Just because his technique wasent great, doesn't mean he's a "bad guitar player". Im not that huge on Page, or Zeppelin.. but to call him bad because his techique wasen't the greatest is pretty stupid. Theres alot of guys who have great technique who will never come close to Jimmy Page


in what? being rich and famous? please...
#34
it's best to use both the first is best for lead lines and allows you to bend lots and helps your speed. the second is best for chords
you are what you is
#35
Quote by RCalisto
in what? being rich and famous? please...



You, being worthy of criticizing Jimmy Page.... Please.

The guy was a great musician/guitarist.

Quote by DaddyTwoFoot
Jimmy Page's technique has always been awful. Great musician; bad guitar player.


awful? bad guitar player? compared to who? you?

Why criticize players that are far more accomplished then yourself? It only makes you look foolish. The same goes for Calisto or anyone ignorant / arrogant enough to say things like that.
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Feb 16, 2009,
#36
Honestly you can play either way, it's what ever most comfortable. But position 1 gives you better maneuverability to all the frets with less work and stress on your wrist.
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#37
Quote by GuitarMunky

Why criticize players that are far more accomplished then yourself? It only makes you look foolish. The same goes for Calisto or anyone ignorant / arrogant enough to say things like that.


We all have the right to criticize. Jimmy Page is definitely a pretty sloppy player. Why is someone arrogant or ignorant just because he or she points out bad points in there playing?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JEYLOrY9SUQ

Listen to that solo, around 2:20. Sloppy as ****.

My two cents.