#1
So, maybe it's odd that it's taken this long, but I'm only recently starting to notice that my fretting hand is curved most of the time with my fingers forming a diagonal angle towards the neck, with my thumb up over the top of the neck. I realize that this is probably not the optimal way to do things, but if I try to play with my thumb against the back of the neck and my fingers straight on, it's pretty strained/painful because my fingers/hands are so damn long (I can comfortably stretch from 12 to 19 on an ES-335 with my thumb at the top of the neck) that I have to practically break my wrist to get them onto the fretboard.

My question is this - Is there any real way to correct this, and is it even worth doing?
#4
Froosh and Hendrix (I think) both play/played with their thumbs over the top. Nothing wrong with the way either of them play

I've always been a great believer in doing what FEELS right over what people SAY is right, at least in terms of playing guitar :P
#5
Quote by guy_tebache
Froosh and Hendrix (I think) both play/played with their thumbs over the top. Nothing wrong with the way either of them play

I've always been a great believer in doing what FEELS right over what people SAY is right, at least in terms of playing guitar :P


If you've been doing the same thing for a decade, though, then that's going to feel right even if it's completely "wrong". But I do understand what you're saying - not everyone's mind/body works in exactly the same way, besides, if it weren't for people just doing what feels right and following strict rules, it would all be quite boring wouldn't it?

The important thing is that you're relaxed, comfortable and get the sound you want at the speeds you're happy with while maintaining accuracy. I don't know what kind of music you want to play; some styles are suited to having your thumb over the neck all the time (especially Hendrix etc). However if you want to branch out into other things, especially stuff with crazy lead playing with wide stretches, it would be very useful if you were at least able to play with your thumb behind the neck. Plenty of fantastic players use both positions, putting their thumb behind the neck when they really need to. I'd say if you can adapt to using either when the situation calls for it, it doesn't really matter.

For the record I'm entirely a thumb behind the neck kinda guy, even for bends, but I think that's partially because the thin neck of my Ibanez isn't well suited to having your thumb over the neck whereas it's quite comfortable on my Schechter, especially for bends. I have similarly long/stretchy fingers (I'm not at my guitar right now so can't say exactly how stretchy, but my point is that it doesn't limit my ability to play with my thumb behind the neck). I get what you mean about it making your wrist bend more, the simple solution is to wear the guitar higher/angle the neck more.
ESP Horizon FR II (EMG) / Ibanez Prestige RG1570 (DiMarzio Crunch Lab & LiquiFire pickups)
Last edited by llBlackenedll at Jan 10, 2012,
#7
Classical position for stretches

Other positon for everything else (especially vibrato and bends)

Get good at both
Last edited by mrbabo91 at Jan 10, 2012,
#8
I'm mainly a thumb over the neck player like you, but I'm also able to play comfortably with my thumb behind the neck when it's preferred. I think it's a handy skill to strive for.

Use whatever way you like as long as you're relaxed, while still maintaining your accuracy.
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#9
Quote by JezzeZ
I'm mainly a thumb over the neck player like you, but I'm also able to play comfortably with my thumb behind the neck when it's preferred. I think it's a handy skill to strive for.

Use whatever way you like as long as you're relaxed, while still maintaining your accuracy.


From watching Freepower's video I've notices that I pretty much go back and forth between both positions. I think I mostly use the "classical" position but for certain things go thumb-over-top (for example, I sometimes use my thumb to mute the sixth or fifth string in certain chords)
#10
What you are doing isn't wrong, it is just emphasizing one tool in your toolbox.

I think it is good to learn both methods. Some passages require the thumb over the top (especially handy for muting bass strings and fretting the 6th string), but others play better with a more classical method.
#11
Quote by Freepower
Check this out -

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

Yes, and definitely yes - the current way you hold the guitar is very effective for bends and rock vibrato, but lots of other stuff really requires "classical" position.


Thanks, this is pretty much what I wanted to know. I've always noted that I can stretch a bit further with my thumb behind the neck than over the top of it, I've just yet to be comfortable with it. I can pull off a lot of "crazy" lead stuff with my thumb over the top mostly due to playing that way for many years (Malmsteen stuff although the difficulty of his stuff aside from speed is pretty debatable amongst more experienced guitarists, I submitted the Jordan Ver. 2 tab that's still up on here a few years back, etc), and I do predominately play more rock styles of music/pentatonic stuff than crazy Rusty Cooley stuff, but I really hate feeling restricted in my playing and I feel like my legato has probably suffered quite a bit from my technique.

Thanks for all of the responses, guys. It's not gonna be easy, but I'm pretty excited to have a new technique to work on for the first time in years that will hopefully significantly improve my playing in a lot of areas (I've felt for a while like I have hit a plateau with shred guitar, especially legato runs and repeating Paul Gilbert-style licks on the lower registers; hopefully this is what I've been needing to work on to finally break through that barrier).
#12
You are probably an incredibly good player :P but you could indeed be sooo much better with your thumb behind the neck :P

Correcting a bad habit after 10 years is gonna be a pain in the ass, but props on your approach mate, i think that mentality of treating it as a new technique will make it way easier :P

When you get used to it you are gonna fall in love with it and wonder why the hell you learned it the other way :P

Good luck and best wishes.
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Last edited by Slashiepie at Jan 11, 2012,
#13
Quote by Slashiepie
When you get used to it you are gonna fall in love with it and wonder why the hell you learned it the other way :P


Heh, I've actually found that to be a PROBLEM before. I tend to find it quite easy to adapt to new approaches to techniques that I can already do (different ways of pick holding, or string crossing for example) and generally see a benefit quite quickly. But sometimes the benefit is entirely because I seem to respond quite positively to just doing something new, rather than it being that the new way of doing the thing is superior. I don't know why it is, but it can be quite annoying when I see immediate benefit and think "this is it, the holy grail, doing it this new way is perfect and I'll never change it". Then the next day it sucks.
ESP Horizon FR II (EMG) / Ibanez Prestige RG1570 (DiMarzio Crunch Lab & LiquiFire pickups)
Last edited by llBlackenedll at Jan 11, 2012,
#14
Quote by llBlackenedll
"this is it, the holy grail, doing it this new way is perfect and I'll never change it". Then the next day it sucks.


hahaha happens to me all the time, im like "level up" biaches!!
and the next day all the techniques are automatically on the same level as me and kicking my ass again.. i need some haxes ffs..

seriously though, the only way to tell is if you record yourself and listen to how you played something before and after a couple of months of working on certain technique.. there you will notice how much you have improved.
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Quote by Steve Albini
Remixing is for talentless pussies who don't know how to tune a drum or point a microphone.
Last edited by Slashiepie at Jan 11, 2012,
#15
(I've felt for a while like I have hit a plateau with shred guitar, especially legato runs and repeating Paul Gilbert-style licks on the lower registers; hopefully this is what I've been needing to work on to finally break through that barrier).


Prepare to smash some barriers man!