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Left hand technique when playing lead

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by Cloodie, Feb 27, 2021.

  1. Cloodie

    Cloodie Tele-Meister

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    Since I started learning lead playing my hand position has basically been for my thumb to hang on the top of the neck at the nuckle. This means there's a gap between part of my hand and the neck

    [​IMG]

    I'm currently trying to work on vibrato on my bends and when I watch some of the videos I've seen people mention that the hand should be tight up against the neck, like so:

    [​IMG]

    So the question is, how are folk in general positioning their hand here when playing? The first pic seems the most comfortable to me but if it's going to cause an issue with my techniqe then I'd rather sort it now rather than have to possibly do it further down the line.
     
    JL_LI likes this.
  2. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    all bets are off in rock, but to avoid injury, the baseline should always be this

    D6F3B6B5-AA3F-43F4-A9CB-90092610E0D7.jpeg

    but there are so many ways to skin a cat -- just don't strain in ways that make your tendons "burn"

    things should be comfortable
     
  3. Cloodie

    Cloodie Tele-Meister

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    Not sure if it makes any difference but I should probably add that it's Blues I'm playing.
     
  4. Lucius Paisley

    Lucius Paisley Tele-Holic

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    My left hand technique is quite different to most peoples when playing lead, usually I hold the pick between my thumb and forefinger.
     
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  5. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    I find that position varies a lot, especially if you're combining chords and single note lines. When you play loud, muting becomes really crucial. Suit the hand position to the job.
     
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  6. JL_LI

    JL_LI Friend of Leo's

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    Post #2 shows the classical grip which is most useful for single note solos. It's almost impossible to play a classical piece any other way. In much of country lead playing and at least some rock the solo is constructed off of the chords in the song, often requiring that at least a partial chord be fretted while playing the single note part of a solo. Playing that way, finger tips may be perpendicular to the fretboard but sometimes holding down a chord makes that impossible. The thumb is never used to fret notes in classical guitar pieces but sometimes holds down part of the chord when playing more modern music. I use my thumb instead of playing barre chords when I need open strings to resonate. I also occasionally fret notes in the solo with my thumb. So I guess the short of it is that your grip is dictated by the music you're playing and by the notes, chords, and partial chords you need to play. Be flexible in style, grip, and in never using more force than you need to play. Think of it this way. You don't want to strain your muscles, tendons, or joints. You shouldn't need more force to fret notes with your left hand than you need to pluck or pick them with your right.
     
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  7. suave eddie

    suave eddie Friend of Leo's

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    I don't know how anyone can play with that "choking" grip in your second photo.
     
  8. Festofish

    Festofish Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I find my pinky hanging out under the neck a lot. Makes for some clunky progressions.
     
  9. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    I basically use the Mel Bay approach with single notes, but plant the butt of my palm on the back of the neck for bends. It's all unconscious for me.

    I once made a video of single notes and bends. Speeding it up, it is quite funny to watch the thumb pop up over the neck, then go down, out of sight. It is to laugh.
     
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