Edit page

Left hand technique, classical vs. rock

(4 posts)
  1. jkw

    Hi everyone,

    There is an interesting discussion about the position of left hand, fingering, and the way it moves on the neck, and how it influence your musicality as a guitarist.

    First I heard it from great Czech guitarist - David Doru┼╝ka, who told me, that changing the position of left hand from classical to more loose, with visible thumb, and using most of the time only 3 fingers (without 4th) influenced his phrasing and sound in positive way.
    At first it sounded strange to me, because I always looked on the instrument only as a medium of your inner voice, so how the way you play can affect your musicality? but more i think about it, the more i get confused.

    Basically, in jazz there are 2 groups of players, when we are talking about left hand technique:
    - classical trained players like Adam Rogers and Lage Lund
    - definitely bigger group of great guitarist like, Metheny, Scofield, Rosenwinkel, Bernstein, Moreno etc. etc.

    So what do you think, does it make any difference how you play with your left hand? Can it really influence your musicality? As you know, changing technique / position of hand is a lot work to do, is it worth it?

    Contact us
  2. Basile865

    Theres no wrong and right way in my opinion. The only possible problem is if your technique or lack of technique is making you fall short of your goal. At that point you need to evaluate and modify.

    I think trying to realize your inner voice to its full potential is tough when looking through the lens of one instrument. If youre trying to find that, it helps experimenting with 2 or more instruments in my opinion.

  3. arewolfe

    I unintentionally developed my playing with a very high left hand thumb. It isn't always problematic, but I've had to recognize when a high thumb is potentially inhibiting (making more difficult than it needs to be) something I'm playing. Of course, I've seen KR play beautiful, fluid chordal passages with his entire thumb way over the top of the neck.

    Growing up I always put a lot of emphasis on using my pinky as often as possible to give it a work out. When I took lessons with Garrison Fewell he scolded me for using my pinky (on my fretting hand) too often, saying that I should use my ring finger whenever possible because it lends to a much warmer sound. It really changed my playing and made me take a step back from the whole "I have to make sure my pinky chops sky high" mentality that I was stuck in for over a decade.

  4. I would say that what matters most is how your hand feels on the instrument. I played for years with both types of left hand technique. I played classical in High School and kept that for jazz but I played blues also in High School. Not too long ago a friend remarked the he thought I was a better blues/rock player than Jazz. After thinking about it I realized that when i play blues/rock the way of playing with my left hand felt more natural and while it inhibited certain things (Holdsworth type chords for example) it felt more natural ---which came out in the music. Of course everybody's hands are different so instead of worrying about it too much i would say find a way of playing that feels comfortable to you and not concern yourself too much with other school's of thought.



You must log in to post.