The 2 Left Hand Positions You Need To Know On Guitar:
There is more than one "correct" guitar left hand position.
Regardless of whether you play classical guitar, acoustic or electric…
There are actually two basic left hand positions you need to know for guitar.
You should learn one of them before the other, or important muscles in the hand will not develop properly.
Let’s dive in!
1) The Straight Position
2) The Slanted Position
Guitar Left Hand Position 1: The Straight Position
The straight position is used for acoustic-type playing, such as classical guitar. It gives full reach to all fingers, especially the little finger. You should learn it first because by doing the exercises necessary to develop this position, we fully develop the stretch and strength of the hand.
If we learn the straight position first, the slanted position is much easier to learn, not the other way around.
Guitar Left Hand Position 2: The Slanted Position
The slanted position is necessary for all playing based on the pentatonic scale (i.e., all blues/rock-based playing). Using the straight position while playing rock lead guitar is a mistake, yet often guitar students will do that.
Using the straight position for blues/rock lead playing makes bending strings correctly impossible. As a result, you won't sound good and will hurt yourself by putting extra strain on the wrong places.
Get The Straight Position First
The best thing any guitar player can do is to get the straight position for the fretting hand into the fingers first for good left hand technique. The best way to do that is to use "The Principles of Correct Practice For Guitar." The unique set of exercises it contains will train your fingers and left thumb for perfect action on the guitar and will teach you how to avoid injury to the left wrist.
TIP! Get The Straight Position First
As we develop the straight left hand position with the Foundation Exercises from "The Principles of Correct Practice For Guitar," the muscles of the hand and forearm develop more thoroughly than if we were to learn the slanted position in our early development.
Unless the straight position is developed at some point (as it must be for major scale-based playing), the student will experience many left hand problems with various musical passages.
However, if the straight position is developed first, the slanted position is easily learned. This is especially true if you use the detailed guidance in the Guitar Principles "Rock & Blues Foundation Course."
What Does "Getting The Straight Position" Look Like For The Left Hand Fingers?
This video will show you what it looks like as you do the Foundation Exercises from "The Principles." Watch Nate, Kaori, and Chris as they transform their fingers, and develop a high level of skill in their fingers. Notice where their left hand thumb is placed on the guitar neck.