#1
Is it a bad idea to play with your fret hand thumb pointing to the headstock? I don't do this for all chords but I notice lately I've been doing it, and I don't know why. For the chords I do this on, when I try to bring my thumb vertical on the back of the neck, it feels weird and foreign to me, and I can't play.

I've also been getting some pain in my thumb lately, about 3 weeks after I starting playing my first barre chord (F chord). I'm not sure where this pain is coming from but it's really annoying as it stops me from playing a lot.
Last edited by LucidDreem at Feb 21, 2012,
#2
You should be looking to avoid having your thumb pointing towards the headstock, yes.

Of course it's difficult and weird, you're not used to it...
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#3
Whoa...I never thought about this. I'm very guilty of playing in the hitch-hiker position when playing barre chords. While it doesn't affect my playing, I'm worried I could be risking wrist damage by not using proper form. Zaphod is a vote against, what's everybody's else's thoughts on this?
#4
I pretty much always either use hitch-hiker, or hook my thumb over the top of the fretboard. I don't really have any problems with it.
#5
The thumb should naturally fall behind the middle finger—if you make a fist, notice that it's your middle finger that the thumb is mostly crossing over. As you relax your hand, this is the desired left hand position for guitar.

In regards to pain or fatigue with barre chords, try not to squeeze your chords. Barre chords can be achieved without the thumb applying any pressure, or even touching the neck. Use the natural weight of your arm to apply pressure to the strings.
#6
Quote by MatthiasYoung

In regards to pain or fatigue with barre chords, try not to squeeze your chords. Barre chords can be achieved without the thumb applying any pressure, or even touching the neck. Use the natural weight of your arm to apply pressure to the strings.


Correct me if I'm wrong, but the natural wight of the arm pulls towards the floor, where as you need it to be pulling towards your body to use it to press down on the strings...?
"Yeees I am your god!" John Petrucci, Phsyco excercises
#7
Quote by Avielp
Correct me if I'm wrong, but the natural wight of the arm pulls towards the floor, where as you need it to be pulling towards your body to use it to press down on the strings...?

I'll be more specific - with your were to completely relax your left arm and let it fall away from the guitar neck, then yes, it naturally moves towards the floor. However, when the elbow is bent and considering that the shoulder is a rotating joint, the motion is to bring the hand down towards the strings and not directly to the floor.
#8
Thanks for the tips, guys. I think the pain was coming from me squeezing too hard. I've lightened up, and its definitely better now.

....Of course, this means I now have to get myself used to playing with normal thumb position again Don't know how I slipped into using hitchhiker but i'll just have to fix it
#9
Is it a bad idea to play with your fret hand thumb pointing to the headstock?

I've also been getting some pain in my thumb lately, about 3 weeks after I starting playing my first barre chord (F chord). I'm not sure where this pain is coming from but it's really annoying as it stops me from playing a lot.


Basically, there you go, that's why it's bad to play with the thumb out like that. It should be opposite your first two fingers, think about the natural gripping action of the hand. If you try to do barres with the thumb out then you need to press super hard and the thumb is at an odd angle.

If you find the thumb in the proper place odd, it may be that your guitar is the wrong position, or your arm. Move the guitar so you're comfortable, not the other way around. This may help - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZcIZaZthqbg
#10
I'm trying to play with the right thumb position... with the pad of the thumb flat against the neck, no higher than halfway, parallel with the neck, opposite the first or 2nd finger.

I read that the lower you put your thumb, the easier it is to stretch your fingers. But when I try to bring my thumb low enough to let my fingers stretch, I start feeling another pain in my thumb and outside forearm, and then I feel myself naturally sliding back into hitchhiker position (thumb pointing towards headstock); when I do that, I can place the thumb lower on the neck and stretch my fingers farther with no pain. But that's the exact thing I'm trying to get away from!
#11
I think what's going on there is that your posture is a bit off so your wrist is getting in to a horrible position when you try and stretch like that.

Watch these:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZcIZaZthqbg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OyvGD9edWcg

While the annotation on the second video says the other one is better I don't think so myself, personally I think they just cover different areas of posture (silly Freepower )

Edit: just saw that Freepower already posted this

Could you post a picture of your posture when you're trying to play stretches like that?
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”


Album.
Legion.
Last edited by Zaphod_Beeblebr at Feb 24, 2012,
#12
Thanks, those videos are a great help. I would upload some pictures of my posture, but I have no way to get them onto my computer.

I keep hearing how one should hold the neck "as if he were holding a bottle" and that you're supposed to keep your thumb flat against the back. I don't know if it's the same for everyone, but when I hold my hand in imitation of holding a bottle, the pad of my thumb isn't directly parallel with the pads of my fingers (like when you hold the neck of the guitar); it faces them at an angle.

When I hold the neck, it's the inside of the pad of my thumb that naturally touches the neck. This means I have to twist my hand rather uncomfortably to make it so that my thumb is directly parallel to the neck, and in the process my fingers are usually skewed so that they lean towards the headstock, and aren't parallel with the fretboard. This then results in my hand cramping up pretty fast.

Is this natural? I wish I could upload some pictures, because it feels pretty uncomfortable to play through.
#13
Whoa whoa whoa whoa WHOA. I do this a ton, and I hear this is a bad thing according to most, yet how else are you supposed to keep your thumb on the treble side of the guitar?
#14
Whoa whoa whoa whoa WHOA. I do this a ton, and I hear this is a bad thing according to most, yet how else are you supposed to keep your thumb on the treble side of the guitar?


Read through the thread.
#15
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr

While the annotation on the second video says the other one is better I don't think so myself, personally I think they just cover different areas of posture (silly Freepower )



Quoted for truth
"Yeees I am your god!" John Petrucci, Phsyco excercises