My fretting hand tends to slant downward... the "wrong way"


I’m wondering how problematic this kind of positioning is, because it’s how I tend to handle 3nps in certain places on the neck. From this position my contact point is more on the pinky side, with a gap between the fret ends and my index.

I’m holding the guitar awkwardly here to take the picture. My wrist is fairly straight except when I reach for the low string.

I’d have a couple questions first.

Is this comfortable? Do you have any tension in your arms, back, shoulders?

Is the neck of your guitar comfortable to you?

Observations. You are sitting on the couch or something which might not be the best place to sit.

The reason I ask about the neck is your thumb is in a position that is somewhat counter productive as you have no leverage. If you experience any numbness or pain, the neck of your guitar might be too thin for you. If not, don’t worry about it. Generally you put your thumb on the back of the neck somewhere between your 1st and 2nd finger.

My wife took some better photos.

So there’s a bit of a complicated answer to your question. I did a few things wrong all once and wound up with some pain, and trying to narrow things down as to what caused it. I’m working on examining my posture and doing some isolated picking, but I’m not doing any fretting .

About ten days ago I switched over to the Ibanez after a year of playing only my hollow body guitars. A few days on the Ibanez and I started experiencing some pain, including some slight locking and unlocking, and pain in the small muscles of the fingers after a practice session. 25 years of playing in one form or another and this hasn’t happened.

I haven’t fretted a guitar since then. Looking back I realize I had been spending some time in this type of position doing some speed picking stuff. I did similar things on my guitars with fatter necks without experiencing this.

It’s difficult to give advice without without seeing your fretting hand in motion.

Could you possibly make a short video of your playing something from this posture? The best angles would be from the front focused on the fretboard and from the back, so I can see your thumb positioning.

My first impression is that this posture would be uncomfortable and problematic.

Thanks for your reply Tom.

I think I’ll rest my fretting hand for awhile and then get back to you for a consultation. I do have your email.

I’ve decided that I’ll be retraining to play that major third span differently.

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FWIW I was messing with this posture a few days back. It seems limited in that it does 1 (or 2 things) very well but other patterns require a posture shift which is awkward.

If I do a half step → whole step shape, or a whole step → whole step shape it is super comfy for both. It makes the tips of my index, middle and pinky finger all exactly in line with each other and there is no “reaching” at all. They are also just hovering right above the strings with no effort.

I’m horrible at combinations requiring index, ring and pinky, so I always opt for index middle ring or just reuse index middle pinky. From that above posture (OP posture) index middle ring is awkward, and that’s what I meant above about having to shift postures to get that shape to work.

Oddly, I can sort of do index ring pinky from this OP posture. I think, again, it’s because it positions my fingers so they are all at the same level. No matter what other posture I try that dreaded combo on, I always feel like my pinky has to stretch over when it’s that finger’s “turn” to play.