View Full Version : Right and left hand

01-01-2003, 05:53 PM
Hi! I am new to this forum. I have been playing guitar now for more than half a year now and I have some questions for you guys!

I am a self taught and because of that i have always tried to find the right or the best way to play through reading articles and stuff on the internet. While reading this forum i found out that many of you guys play with "floating" right hand. Either I dont know how to do it properly or it is just not working for me! I normally lay my hand on the upper 3 strings, because it gives me stability and the strenght to pick notes fast and accurate. But when i try not to tuch my guitar at all (with my hand), then i am just not capable of hitting the right strings... i lose the sense of knowing where the strings are and because of that i dont pick them so cleanly and fast... I just dont know how you guys can do it??

The other thing i was interested was the left hand. Do you have your thumb at the middle of the neck? I always try to do so, but at frets 12 and higher it is impossible for me to keep putting my hand in that position...

I am also interested how high do you have your guitar.

Please do answer and excuse my english...

Thank you.

Bongo Boy
01-01-2003, 06:15 PM
I've been playing for about 7 months--very close to your experience, and am also not taking lessons from an instructor. I most often rest the heel of my right hand on the bridge, but lately have found that I can't get as nice a sound from the instrument as I can if I pick the strings further away from the bridge. So, I'm trying the floating hand, and yes, it's difficult.

I began with the guitar very high, with the 12th fret within 15cm of my chin when looking at it. I've lowered the guitar three times since then, as it is beginning to feel more comfortable a little lower.

01-01-2003, 06:31 PM
Welcome to the forum!

Your assumption on the floating hand technique is correct. You do lose a lot of control (at first) if your picking hand is not touching the guitar (strings, bridge, pickguard, etc). If you want to use a floating hand technique, then you may want to rest your forearm against the guitar to give yourself a fixed point of reference. Check out the articles on this site for more info.

For the left hand thumb, I move it around to fit the situation. IMHO, the thumb acts as a brace and it should enable your fingers to be in the best position to fret the strings. You don't want a lot of tension in your thumb. This requires me to move my thumb around depending on where (and what) I'm playing. It took a lot of experimenting to get this down to where I didn't have to think about it. I don't think it's wise to keep it fixed in one position, especially if you're playing standing up.

My guitar is roughly waste high. My guitar is lower than Eric Claptons, but higher than Zakk Wylde (you can search the internet for pictures of these guys). I adjust my guitar strap so my wrist does not bend backwards, "fall asleep" or stay at awkward angles too long. Everybody is a bit different so you'll have to experiment, so search for a comfortable position. If you play a 4 hour live show you'll really appreciate finding the most comfortable strap/guitar height!

Once again, welcome to ibreathe! Don't worry about your English skills, you're doing very well so far! :)

01-01-2003, 11:39 PM
Welcome Ziga! I think you're our first Slov (Sloveniak? whatever :) )

I've always used the floating right hand. I do find that I watch my right hand during play more than I watch my left hand. I do as Bizarro mentioned and rest my forearm the edge of the guitar, and it works pretty well.

As for the left hand thumb, I don't think its necessary to keep it on the back of the neck. It is often helpful to wrap it over the top of the neck to fret or mute the 5th or 6th strings.

Good luck to ya. You've found a great resource in this site with lots of knowledgable and helpful people.

01-02-2003, 09:38 AM
Thank you for your replies!

Sloveniak, lol. Well it doesnt matter.
But what are then the pros of the floating hand? You lose stability and strenght, but why is then floating hand better?
And I think even Satriani (from what I seen in the Live from SF video) lays his hand on the strings... And with my hand lying on the upper 3 strings I also make sure that those 3 strings dont ring for they can start ringing just by shaking guitar a little...
So what are the pros of floating hand?

I try to put my thumb on the middle of the neck, because i can then spread my fingers more widely and have better control of the notes... I ve also seen Satriani and Alexi(Children of Bodom) and Jani (Sonata Arctica - great band) do it and I wold say that these three guys have really good tech. Since I dont want to play only chords:) but a lot of melody I started to use this tech. Well I dont have my thumb always in the middle because I would have to break my wrist for that. I keep guitar quite high (like emppu of nightwish..) so the frets are easily accessible. It is just a tech I like, though I started playing low and with thumb over the neck... I think that with thic tech you can play melody with much less effort but you have to keep your guitar quite high (kinda nerdly looking- but that effect goes away the moment you play something good).

Well I have to say that I run into this page just recently and I found out it is one of the best webpages I ve ever seen... and the most helpful. Really thanks to whoever had done it.