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!


  1. Fran Welch says

    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. Jim Bogart says

    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.

  3. says

    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.

  4. Mike says

    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.

  5. Mike says

    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.

  6. Mike says

    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?

  7. ABR says

    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

  8. Jerry Conkle says

    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

  9. says

    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,,

  10. Richard Bustamante says

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

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