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Make it easier for your left fretting hand to play

by Johnny

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The most difficult thing sometimes is being aware. Being in the moment.

But if you can do it, and do it often (while practicing), learning the guitar becomes much easier. You’ll notice the DETAILS that matter when playing.

You see, that’s what I think about when I’m practicing really. Just seeing what’s happening as I make this chord change or do this bend, followed by that note.

Did that work? Was it smooth? Did I struggle at all?

I’m looking for where it’s broken. Where there might be a problem when I speed things up. And then FIXING IT, making the needed adjustments, before I go faster.

Once I find the right “formula” for how to play that specific part, THAT’S when the practice really begins. I can start repeating what I just figured out, over and over, until it becomes natural. To try to lock it into my muscle memory. But the first step is always to figure out that formula.

I just found a great post over at Classical Guitar blog that talks about something similar. He mentions three specific left hand mistakes he’s noticed matters a lot when practicing.

These are things you can only really begin realizing once you do that really “in the moment” type of practice. Just dicking around with the guitar won’t get you there.

The one I think is most ignored (at least by me) is this last one right here:

3. Ignoring Hand Position

Hand position matters a lot for the left hand. Does your hand need to be angled or straight?

Sometimes it’s easier to do one or the other. But the real value in paying attention to your left hand positioning is not that it makes things easier.

Find a left hand position that works well for a given passage or motive and you’re able to replicate it in practice — you can getting into and out of this new hand position instead of leaving it to chance. That’s awesome.

How you angle your hands matters a lot more than you think.

A simple barre chord like Fmajor is really hard to get right if you don’t straighten your wrist up a bit. The higher strings are very tough to play sometimes with a straight wrist. A bit of an angle magically makes it easy.

Hey, it might be nitpicking it perhaps, but paying attention to these little details sometimes makes a huge difference in your overall playing. You might find that one pesky mistake that’s been holding you back all these years and suddenly the guitar becomes a joy to play.

It’s happened to me more than once.

How about you? Lemme know what you think below in the comments.


[Photo: Souparna]


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