Hey, I've noticed that when I play the G major scale in the 5th position (root on the E string, 15th fret), my hand automatically bends in a weird way so that my 3rd and 4th finger can reach the lower strings. I don't need to do that when I play the high strings, though. Here's a picture (not the G major scale on the 5th position but whatever):

Actually, it feels more comfortable and natural playing like that to me. If I try to keep my index finger perpendicular to the neck, it's harder to reach the strings with my 3rd and 4th finger. I just wanted to be sure that it's not a bad habit that I should avoid.

With some effort, I can position my hand like that:

I'm not really comfortable in this position because my little finger seems to be barely long enough to make it to the fret. Its tip can't touch the lowest string. I also need to lay my index on the high strings to mute them.

I have long fingers, so I can put my 2nd finger on the 14th fret and my 3rd finger on the 15th fret but again, it doesn't feel as comfortable as playing like on the first picture I posted.

Should I forget about it and play how I want to play?
Quote by Professor Plunk
Should I forget about it and play how I want to play?

In most cases, I'd say you should just forget about it, and in this case, yes, I also think you should forget about it and play how you want to play, but only to a certain extent. I think as you keep playing, your hands will gradually move into a place where it's perpendicular like you are in the higher frets. The problem with the angled way is that your dexterity will be limited IMO if you keep it at a weird angle that your fingers will have less freedom with. I'm not entirely sure but I think so.
Being comfortable is VERY important. If you're playing in a position that puts excess tension on your hands, you're more likely to get Tendinitis, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or a host of other nasty ailments.

That being said, I do have another position to suggest to you. Try putting the tip of your thumb (instead of using the pad as in your picture). As a general rule, try to keep it in line with your middle finger and pointing in the same direction as the frets.

Part two of this suggestion is to fret the notes with the tips of your fingers. It seems that (especially with your first finger, you're using more of the pad). Also, try putting more of an arch in your fingers. Using the tips will help that along, but keeping your fingers arched over the frets as opposed to being flatter from what I see in the picture (it could just be the angle), will really help your playing. It will allow you to play bigger stretches and will also help to reduce excess noise from the other strings (because your fingers will only be making contact with the intended string).

If you're a more visual learner, watch this video from Classical Guitar Maestro, Andres Segovia:


Generally speaking, I find it extremely useful to pay attention to the fingering technique of classical guitarists. I was taught to use this fingering method while studying under a teacher who, beyond being a fantastic shredder, had also studied classical guitar under one of Segovia's students. So...I can say from personal experience that it works wonders!

Of course, above a certain point, the neck joint of the guitar will get in the way and force you to change your fingering technique. In most cases, however, I'd recommend taking a classical approach to fingering. At the end of the day, it comes down to what works for you though, so I'd suggest that you try this method for a week or two, and if you don't find it more useful/comfortable, then by all means, revert back to what you're doing now. Hope this helps!
The more you play the more comfortable your hand should feel in that arched position. An arch is necessary for good pressure and a clear note for the 4th finger on the 6th to 4th strings. The 4th finger is always difficult to plant (and hold) because it is the weakest playing finger and has a much smaller fingertip.

I've played classical and electric and classical technique is to play in an arched position with the very tips of the finger pads on the string(s) and as close to the fret(s) as possible. This technique can be altered somewhat according to your hand and style and guitar (ie fingerboard radius) if you play electric.

The combination of different neck profile/contour, metal strings, string gauges, etc. on electric guitar requires slightly different techniques than playing a classical guitar with nylon strings, different neck/fingerboard shape/profile/radius.

Watch a player like Satriani (or Blackmore, Dimeola, etc.) and see how well he plants his fingers and how comfortable (and efficient) he tries to keep his playing hand up and down the neck.
Last edited by ifsixwasni9e at May 25, 2014,
I change more to over the top thumb as i go higher. Mostly my thumb stays behind, but some stuff is more comfortable and better sounding with my hand angled. Like on 1 string, fretting 1, 2, 5, 6 is a lot harder straight, thumb behind.. unless you're spock. Also bends and vibrato is better thumb over for most
1) Put the guitar on your left leg with foot prop when you're practicing technique. This puts the whole fretboard in easy reach so you don't have to adjust your wrist's angle

2) It looks like your elbow is tucked into your side. This is symptom/cause of tension, which severely limits your range motion. Let your elbow hang more loosely.

3) The tendon bulging from under your wristwatch indicates you're using WAY too much pressure. Look up some relaxation and finger isolation exercises.

4) Let your palm move away from the neck a bit so you can curl your fingers in.