guitar-fretboardThumb and finger position is one of the most basic issues for a beginner guitarist. Most people don’t even spend a fair share of time thinking or learning how to position their fingers properly … it all just seems natural, right?

Well, it isn’t.

Or at least it’s very difficult to get this right solely on pure instinct. Just because a given position seems comfortable when you’re holding your guitar, it doesn’t mean that it will feel equally as comfortable when you’re playing for two hours or so.

Wrong thumb and finger position can actually have some serious effects on your joints and fingers. I’m sure you don’t want to end up in a doctor’s office just because you don’t know how to hold your guitar…

Thumb position

When it comes to thumb position, you should always try to keep it somewhere in the middle of your guitar’s neck. This will allow you to reach every chord and fretboard position easily and, more importantly, quickly.

Whatever you do, don’t put your thumb over the top of the neck, gripping it like you’re holding a hatchet or something.

Another thing, don’t hold the neck with the tip of your thumb. Instead, rest it gently on the pad of your thumb.

I invite you to check this video by Peter Vogl from to get more in-depth look at the whole issue:

Finger position

The biggest mistake most beginners make with finger position is fretting strings with too much force. In reality, you don’t need that much effort. You just need to be able to hold a string against the next (higher) fret.

The best approach here would be to find out how much pressure you need. Try holding the strings with different pressure until you find a point where you don’t have to give much effort, yet there’s no buzzing noise.

Also, remember to keep your finger relatively close to the next fret, not to the previous fret. This way you’ll require a lot less pressure to produce a nice, non-buzzing sound.

Here’s another video by Peter Vogl, this time on finger position:

That’s it for this short tutorial. Do you consider finding a good thumb and finger position a difficult thing to achieve?