Looking at my left hand

Question: "One thing I need help with, when looking at my left hand to be sure I am fretting correctly, etc it is hard to keep the neck and spine straight out as you say. You have to bend the neck down in order to see the frets."

Answer: The important thing is to maintain the lengthening spine regardless of where your head is... you are not expected to sit like a statue!

Question: "How else can we watch our hands ?"
Answer: The scale and arpeggio fingerings in my books are designed specifically to help you find your way around the neck by feel... pay particular attention to the fingerings. Often a change of position will involve maintaining contact with the string and listening for the destination tone.

Presentation of the fretting hand

"Cradling the Guitar" (with an) ...expanding posture...

cradling the guitar with an expanding posture.

  • The arm moves to present the passive hand over the appropriate position on the guitar neck......
  • The knuckles align so the fingertips are bought naturally to rest on the string.
  • The thumb remains passive......the thumb contacts the neck but does not squeeze

Ascending the neck

Placement of the LH fingers ascending

  • By expanding the posture, the fingers are brought into contact with the strings.
  • The resistance of the strings is contained by the expanding posture.
  • The fingers 1 - 4 are placed simultaneously, so that when the finger 4 is placed, fingers 1, 2, 3 are still containing the strings.

Change of position ascending

  • The fingers relax
  • the arm moves to the new position with the 1st finger remaining in contact with the string
  • In the early stages an audible portamento will be heard. This can grow briefer as confidence is gained.
  • This technique is how Violinists achieve accurate position changes... the ear guides you as to how far to travel.

Descending the neck

Change of position descending

  • The fingers relax
  • the arm moves to the new position, with the 1st finger remaining in contact with the string.

Temporary Displacement

  • The thumb serves as a reference point
  • The thumb remains in contact with the neck and stationary as the arm displaces the fingers up to the new position.
  • The gap between thumb and fingers is thereby widened.
  • This is shown as T.D. on the scores.

Temporary displacement of the left hand