Home : Basics : Basic Left Hand Guidelines
To produce a good sound from fretted notes, follow the guidelines below:
  • Press the string down just to the left of any fret, as close to the fret as possible without actually sitting on top of the fret. If you press down too far from the fret, the string has room to bounce up and down against the fretboard and will produce a buzz or dud sound.  If you wedge the string closely against the fret it will produce a clear sound.
  • Press down with the very tip of the finger, just next to the fingernail, and keep the finger CURVED from base to tip. This will allow you to press the string straight down against the fretboard, and it will keep you from muting the sound of other strings. Avoid long nails on the left hand - they keep you from being able to press on the tip of the finger.
  • Keep the thumb of your left hand on the BACK of the guitar neck, approximately behind the index and middle fingers, and use it to help your fingers SQUEEZE. Your hand is made to use the opposable force created between thumb and fingers. Your fingers will be able to press the strings down much more easily if you keep the thumb BEHIND them.
If you have trouble getting a note to sound good on the guitar, check that you are following each of the above guidelines before you press harder.  When you follow the above guidelines, the notes you play will sound good and will be easier to play.

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