Beginner Guitar Lesson: Finger & Thumb Positions

How to position your hands, fingers and thumbs may seem obvious to some, but there is a right and wrong way to do this. Watch the video below and learn the proper hand, finger and thumb positioning as well as instructions on how to hold your pick.   This lesson will teach you how to develop good guitar playing habits early on, which is extremely important.  Far too many beginners develop bad playing habits that are very difficult to break if not corrected.

One extremely important point that Peter makes in this video is how to actually push down on the frets of your guitar  with your fretting hand.  Many beginners falsely believe that you need to push down on the string so that it touches the wood. This is not the case. You only have the push the string down hard enough to where it is touching the fret.  This is demonstrated in the video below as well as some other great tips.  I hope you find this lesson helpful!  Please feel free to leave any comments or questions in the comments box below. Thanks!

Beginner Guitar Lesson: Finger & Thumb Positions

A big thanks to the folks over at for providing this lesson! You can learn more about them and view more awesome video lesson over at their site by following This Link. Highly Recommended!


20 Comments on "Beginner Guitar Lesson: Finger & Thumb Positions"

  1. Fran Welch on Sun, 31st Jan 2010 5:54 pm 

    The lesson on thumb and finger placement on the neck has helped me more than everything I have ever seen or read. The way the thumb controls by lateral AND horizontal movement has finally sunk in. Thanks!

  2. Alya on Thu, 6th May 2010 1:43 pm 

    wow thanks…I learn a lot in this lesson.

  3. Esmeralda on Fri, 21st May 2010 4:45 am 

    very helpful

  4. esther on Wed, 2nd Jun 2010 3:08 pm 

    challenging but very helpfull

  5. Jim Bogart on Thu, 24th Jun 2010 5:50 pm 

    This was a good helpful lesson. My fingers are more on the shorter stubby side rather than the long and thin and fingering close to the bar was really helpful to me. I am a very newby on the guitar so every bit of info is helpful to me. I am working mainly on pickin but know I need to learn chords as well. Thanks so much.

  6. Gerry on Fri, 20th Aug 2010 10:48 pm 

    Iam 70 years old and I just started to try play gritar my old hands are in pain but I still want to play do you think I will be able to do it. I know it will take me longer then a young person will the hands not hurt so much after a wild.

  7. Mike on Sun, 22nd Aug 2010 11:33 pm 

    Gerry, break some rules. Find a low-priced, 6-string, acoustic guitar with at least a 2 inch wide neck and “nut.” Get 2 sets of normal tension nylon strings. Have them installed as follows (example set, D’Addarios EJ45 Pro):

    E1 – use a B2 string, 0.0322 in. diam.
    B2 – use the other B2 string, 0.0322 in. diam.
    G3 – use a G3 string, 0.0403 in. diam.
    D4 – use the other G3 string, 0.0403 in. diam.
    A5 – use an E6 string, 0.043 in. diam.
    E6 – use the other E6 string, 0.043 in. diam.

    Thus, using larger diameters where connoisseurs or luthiers may object, but the change in load on your fingers may help you … during your “break in period” as long as you like.

  8. Mike on Mon, 23rd Aug 2010 12:14 am 

    Gerry, another idea … Using an archery glove as a model, such as the Wyandotte Open End Glove, you might find somewhere, a nice, very-thin-leather / very-thin-leather-like glove that fits your left hand well, and you could cut up the glove, to resemble the “archery glove model,” such that your 4 finger tips are protected, but most of the remainder of the original glove is now open. Work with it, you may come up with something.

  9. Mike on Mon, 23rd Aug 2010 12:31 am 

    Gerry, Oops – I meant for the model, the Wyandotte Closed End Glove.

  10. asim abbas on Sun, 12th Sep 2010 11:48 am 

    thanks a ton.this lesson really helped me. :)

  11. billie on Wed, 22nd Sep 2010 3:56 pm 

    amazing lesson! it has helped me so much, Thanks!

  12. Sandy on Wed, 22nd Sep 2010 5:51 pm 

    This lesson was very useful indeed… Thanks…

  13. Robert on Fri, 24th Sep 2010 12:57 am 

    This was a wonderful eyeopener! thanks so much

  14. Mike on Fri, 15th Oct 2010 5:42 pm 

    WOW this does really help me reach the strings.. but I find it uncomfortable… Is there a stretch exercise or something that will make this work easier?

  15. peet on Sat, 4th Dec 2010 9:17 pm 

    very helpful, thanks (:

  16. Ven on Sun, 5th Dec 2010 2:47 pm 

    Awesome lesson. Wanna learn more.

  17. ABR on Thu, 23rd Jun 2011 8:41 am 

    This is exactly what I was looking for as a beginner.very encouraging it is, especially when u know u r learning the right things at the rudimenatry levels. thanx a ton

  18. Jerry Conkle on Sun, 12th May 2013 11:59 am 

    I am still trying to learn the chords but am having trouble withthe Fmajor any helpfull hints on this thanks,, I am just beginning and trying to practice changing chords….tks

  19. Richard Bustamante on Tue, 24th Sep 2013 11:53 pm 

    I personally would like to Thank all, for this very nice tribute to the learning of the guitar…. Really enjoyed the tips we would have never received elsewhere….Ur Beautiful Man,,

  20. Richard Bustamante on Tue, 24th Sep 2013 11:58 pm 

    I personally would like to express all of you wonderful, professional people for this Great Guitar Tribute…. Thanks

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