Ergonomics and correct position of left hand.

Ergonomics and Posture for Classical Guitarists, Aches and Pains, Injuries, etc...
Iwo Koronowski

Ergonomics and correct position of left hand.

Post by Iwo Koronowski » Sat Jun 13, 2015 12:04 pm

Few days ago I noticed that my left hand position is more similar to this which is popular for rock guitarists. I put my thumb near the sixth string and touch the neck with the joint near index finger. I tried to change it today, put the thumb on a back of a neck, keep palm parallel, and fingers perpendicularly to the neck and strings . But I found it quite difficult and uncomfortable. I had to keep my elbow much higher to have straight wrist. Also my forearm muscles becomes fatigued very fast. Are those changes correct and I will get used to playing this way? Is this position gives more possibilities during playing and finally Is it important to change my habits?

Iwo

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Jacek A. Rochacki
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Re: Ergonomics and correct position of left hand.

Post by Jacek A. Rochacki » Sat Jun 13, 2015 1:05 pm

The right position is necessary for playing classical guitar. It is precisely described in many places on this forum and in many other places.
Here we have some links
http://www.thisisclassicalguitar.com/le ... -position/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3BfKQ0pelQ
But first of all I believe that it would be sensible to browse our forum including lessons given by prof. Delcamp; watch, please, the positions of professor and the students. And take under serious consideration getting enlisted to these lessons.
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Re: Ergonomics and correct position of left hand.

Post by Kjetil Heggelund » Sat Jun 13, 2015 1:12 pm

I think of the thumb-position you get when playing barré-chords as a good start for a good position. As Mr. Rochaski says: Look at the links :-)
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Re: Ergonomics and correct position of left hand.

Post by wortspur » Sat Jun 13, 2015 1:33 pm

DumDum wrote: I had to keep my elbow much higher to have straight wrist. Also my forearm muscles becomes fatigued very fast.
Iwo
You are doing something wrong here. Normaly, your elbow should drop when you change the thumb position from the upper part of the neck closer to the center. Check your left shoulder. It should hang down without any tension.

Here's a video as a visual reference. The section about the left arm starts at 11:20
[media]https://youtu.be/VqfBYjI0LjM?t=11m20s[/media]

Iwo Koronowski

Re: Ergonomics and correct position of left hand.

Post by Iwo Koronowski » Mon Jun 15, 2015 8:51 am

Thanks very much, I found all your ansers really helpful and made great progress. I have some problem with pieces that I have played for a long time. This is a kind of muscle memory, I think, but new pieces can be performed quite comfortable with this correct technique.

Iwo

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Cary W
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Re: Ergonomics and correct position of left hand.

Post by Cary W » Mon Jun 15, 2015 11:31 am

Just listen to Kevin R. Gallagher :)

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Iwo Koronowski

Re: Ergonomics and correct position of left hand.

Post by Iwo Koronowski » Thu Jun 18, 2015 6:45 pm

Thanks Cary, it was also very helpful and confirmed my opinion that I'm on the good way to improve my technique.

Michael D Bryce

Re: Ergonomics and correct position of left hand.

Post by Michael D Bryce » Fri Aug 28, 2015 7:06 pm

Sorry I don’t have a video of this so I hope my words will suffice:
Let your left arm hang loosely with your elbow alongside your side. Let your upper arm remain hanging while you lift you forearm at the elbow so your forearm is parallel to the floor. Turn your forearm over so your palm is facing upward (don’t raise your hand, just let it be however it is when you turn your arm). That’s the position.
Move your arm back a little to bring your hand to the guitar neck, until your fingers make contact with the strings. Your middle finger will be at about fret 7 or 8.
Move your thumb around back of the neck, approximately under string 2.
Now your palm at your little finger should be closer to the neck than your palm at finger 1, so your knuckles are not parallel to the neck. This way, your little finger (the shortest and weakest) has excellent access to the neck and is in a strong, curved position. When you need to extend fingers 2 or 3 (strong fingers), they will actually point toward the nut, but they can reach very well that way. You won’t have to lift your elbow – it will be hanging at your side, and the weight of your arm actually helps pull your fingers into the strings.
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Pete Meyers

Re: Ergonomics and correct position of left hand.

Post by Pete Meyers » Fri Aug 28, 2015 9:33 pm

Cary W wrote:Just listen to Kevin R. Gallagher :)
YES. Nobody can teach posture and positioning like somebody who has beaten focal dystonia

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Re: Ergonomics and correct position of left hand.

Post by Victor2016 » Sun Mar 27, 2016 5:22 pm

Sometime ago, I noticed that my shoulders would become tense during playing, especially the left one. I would get them both relaxed, resume playing and then notice that they would get tense again. I could not figure out what caused the tension. But then I noticed that my LH thumb would often be extended to the left, towards the nut (see the left picture below). That habit had been developed during many years of my playing steel string acoustic guitars. I started watching my LH thumb position, making sure it was more like on the right picture. As a result, the shoulder tension disappeared (it was a great feeling!), some LH fingerings started to come more natural and LH movements became more economical. The thumb position influences the elbow position which, in turn, has impact on the shoulder, etc. I guess we should never underestimate seemingly minor details.
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ronjazz
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Re: Ergonomics and correct position of left hand.

Post by ronjazz » Tue Mar 29, 2016 2:47 am

There are no minor details.
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Re: Ergonomics and correct position of left hand.

Post by Victor2016 » Tue Mar 29, 2016 9:09 am

I now know that my thumb would get out of whack during shifts between LH positions (when changing frets), even though I would start with the correct thumb position.

To develop a new habit for my LH, I have been playing things that make controlling the LH position easier - scales, simple pieces executed in the same position (like Giuliani's Op. 50 No. 1 or Krieger's Minuet in Am) or arpeggio-based studies with shifts (like Carcassi Op. 60 No. 2 and 3). This approach seems to work.

I have noticed that when I play simple pieces in the same position, all the LH work is done by the fingers while the LH thumb, wrist and elbow stay relaxed and pretty much stationary. Is that the way it is supposed to be? Should minimization of LH thumb, wrist and elbow movements be viewed as an objective?

Here's a picture to compare wrist and elbow movements or their absence while playing in the first position.
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Re: Ergonomics and correct position of left hand.

Post by Luis_Br » Thu Apr 14, 2016 4:40 pm

Alfredo Escande teaching Abel Carlevaro LH technique (with English subtitles), about arm and wrist:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pTW-sxo ... q-RlKzB1Zi
Here the first lesson on LH hand positioning:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0k1zGLev ... q-RlKzB1Zi
By the way, this year Carlevaro would make 100 years old.
To those who doesn't know Alfredo, he was a great friend and pupil from Carlevaro and he helped writing Carlevaro's famous book "School of the Guitar", written in 1975.

Bluey

Re: Ergonomics and correct position of left hand.

Post by Bluey » Sat Jun 25, 2016 10:18 pm

Well this is a handy thread.

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Re: Ergonomics and correct position of left hand.

Post by catie » Tue Jul 05, 2016 11:43 pm

Hello ,
I've searched the old threads regarding left hand position and clean fretting, however I haven't found an answer to my particular problem.
It seems that every time I use my left ring finger on the 1st string, my finger straightens. I always do this finger straightening when I fret a G chord as example, or from first finger F on 6th string and any note on 1st string using this finger. I'm sure there is a way to overcome this. When I concentrate on using the tip of the finger, the finger curls over. I have lately discovered using my left shoulder moving more forward which helps overall in fretting, but I still notice my left ring finger straightening. Any thoughts much appreciated.

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