Perfect Left Hand Finger Placement

One of the first things we learned about guitar was that our left hand finger tips go right behind the frets.

The real scoop is that the left hand has to exert enough pressure so that the string does not move when it’s plucked by the right hand. There has to be a firm break over the fret. When we place left hand fingers right behind the fret, this is easy to do and takes very little pressure.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out so nicely. When two or more fingers have to crammed onto the same fret, one finger might not be able to snuggle right up behind it. The result is an unclear sound or fretbuzz.

What to do? It’s simple: the finger that has to be positioned farther away from the fret just takes a little more pressure to overcome the string motion caused by the right hand. Knowing this can instantly improve a tough chord’s sound. All it takes is fine tuning the pressure of each finger.

There is such a thing as perfect left hand finger placement, but sometimes situations necessitate a less than perfect placement. Fine tuning left hand pressure is a way to make a good sound out of a less than ideal situation.

Posted on in Classical Guitar Technique


  • Bobber

    Boy this is a big topic and I think there is so much that can be said. A few things that have occurred to me recently.

    Playing on the finger tips is a good general rule but it should not be a hard and fast rule. Sometimes it helps to use other areas of the finger to get closer to the fret and avoid excessive pressure.

    How much of a difference does the size of the frets make? Does a certain size of fret match a size of finger? What about the width of the fretboard? These parameters of a guitars construction could make quite a difference in the playability of an instrument. That’s why it’s a good idea to play a lot of different guitars before you settle on one in particular (and plunk down a bunch of money to get it).

  • Saei

    thanks for your article, but i never saw that this problem came on same fret, maybe on other figering its happen but for me it never happens on same fret