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Electric Country Guitar Lessons: Left Hand Position

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This page contains a transcription of a video lesson from Country Guitar with Guthrie Trapp. This is only a preview of what you get when you take Electric Country Guitar Lessons at ArtistWorks. The transcription is only one of the valuable tools we provide our online members. Sign up today for unlimited access to all lessons, plus submit videos to your teacher for personal feedback on your playing.

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[MUSIC]
Okay, we've covered right
hand position and holding the pick.
And now were gonna move on to some
left hand position techniques and
just cover how this effects
the sound when you're fretting and
some different kind of
positions that I like.
Basically, sometimes a lot of people
learn that you're supposed to put your
thumb on the back of the neck.
And I think that's more
of a classical technique.
For country music and, basically,
electric guitar playing in general,
as far as I'm concerned,
it's okay to grab the whole neck like
this, and really get a good feel on it.
And it's okay if your thumb
goes over the top like this.
You don't wanna hold it to where these
fingers are down here, but it is okay for
your thumb to be up towards the top of
the neck, just to get a nice grip on it.
And basically, you're just reaching up and
naturally holding this part of the guitar.
And you want it to be just a nice
connection between the neck and this hand.
And it should almost feel like, I almost
think about holding a golf club or
something, or a bat, to where you're
really connecting with something and
making this a part of you almost.
Cuz it is, it's an expression of what
we're trying to convey musically.
So this is what we have,
we have this instrument in our hands.
So it's very important to
make a connection here.
And again, I'll reiterate the fact that
I think that one of the most important
things in all these lessons is just gonna
be to relax and really focus on that.
If you're getting tight in your shoulders
or your right hand's getting stiff, or
your left hand's getting stiff, and you're
clenching down because you're new at this,
or you're nervous, or
whatever it is, just relax.
That's the main thing I can say.
And with your left hand, the natural
way to grab this is to
just let these fingers
come up and form kind of what is gonna
in the future be your left hand position
to be able to play up the finger board.
And play over the span of these four and
five fret spacings.
So when your hand comes up here,
you can almost see, okay,
the little finger's gonna cover that fret.
This one falls naturally right there on
the fourth fret, third fret, second fret.
And I'm basically just taking this
hand and bringing it up like this.
Now, [COUGH] when you
actually fret the string, and
we're gonna get in to connecting the two
hands here in the next couple of lessons.
But when you actually
are fretting the string,
you wanna make sure that your finger,
the ball of your finger
is pretty close up to the front
of the fret right here.
So if you don't, you're gonna get
a [SOUND], like a buzzy sound like that.
So when you make the connection, it's best
to go just behind the fret, right there.
So behind, if you're fretting on the third
fret, you're gonna be just behind it.
And that's gonna give you your best sound.
It'll keep you from playing out of tune.
If you're fretting with the left hand and
you press too hard,
you'll play out of tune.
So when we get to these
more complex chord shapes,
if you're playing something, and
you don't have to worry about this now but
it's something that might
look like this as a chord.
If you're really grabbing too hard, and
you wonder why it sounds out of tune,
it's probably because
you're pressing too hard.
Cuz the harder you press in the middle,
it actually when you fret a string,
you don't think about this very often.
But the string is never touching the wood.
Your finger might touch the wood
of the finger board, but
the string just touches the fret.
So if you press harder than that, it bends
the string and it'll sound out of tune.
So again, relax,
a nice light touch on your left hand but
hard enough to where you're not buzzing or
anything.
So you do have to press
hard [SOUND] enough.
But once you get used to this,
you'll find the tension and
the muscle memory in your left hand to
be able to get a nice clear note and
not be out of tune or buzzing.
And you'll realize,
you don't have to press that hard
one you make that good connection.
And a good way to do that is,
just let's take your first finger and
put it on the second fret of the G string.
And we'll just do down strokes
a simple down stroke here.
And we'll just go.
[MUSIC]
And just work on making that
as clear as you possibly can.
And really focus on what this feels like.
It should just be a very relaxed feel.
And you're gonna use this part of your
hand and your thumb to grip that,
and keep this anchored to where these
fingers can do what they need to do.
And that's a very light touch.
And you wanna be able to hold the guitar
to where these fingers can do what
they're gonna need to do in the future,
which is work up the neck and be able
to solo and all these different things.
So with that being said,
again, this is just a super,
super relaxed, but
not to where your hand's,
you wanna make this good connection.
But it's not a tight, squeezing thing,
to where your hand is tensing up.
And we can elaborate more on that when
we get into connecting the right and
left hands, which is coming up.
[MUSIC]