top of page
  • Writer's pictureDon

Mastering the Left Hand: Classical Guitar Techniques for Injury Prevention

In this blog, we’re going to talk about the left hand, specifically regarding classical guitar and how best not to injure ourselves. The left hand unfortunately takes quite the beating, we press down extremely hard, hold uncomfortably positions for long periods and if we’re not careful we run the very real risk of injuring ourselves temporarily and potentially, long-term. Speaking as someone who has had to take year-long breaks due to Repetitive Strain Injury as well as other tendon-related issues caused by bad practice habits and hand position, I have had to re-learn many aspects of the left-hand technique which I hope to pass on to you all.

Firstly, relax your hand. Let it flop to your side and then without engaging any hand muscles lift it to your eye level. You should notice the natural curve of your finger. This is how we want our fingers to curve onto the fretboard.

We don’t want flat fingers or claw fingers

Next, bring the palm of your hand in front of your face and let your fingers curl inwards. Note that whilst the middle fingers curl mostly straight downwards, your index and pinky fingers curl inwards a little.

This means that our little finger (and index finger), which is massively prone to injury and also the weakest of all our digits should curve inwards on the fretboard

It should NOT be flattened. Doing so puts stress on the joints and ligaments and does not engage the muscles.

Even when doing big stretches with the little finger, dropping the elbow allows more of an inward curve to the digit making big stretches more comfortable and easier all around.

Another really big issue is thumb placement. Generally, we want the thumb to mostly be behind where the index finger is. Especially when doing big or uncomfortable stretches

The one exception to this rule is when we do big chords, especially barres. In this instance, it’s beneficial to have the thumb a little lower on the fretboard, this creates natural torque on the index finger and positions the barre finger on the side, where there’s more bone than flesh, meaning less pressure is needed to hold down the frets.

A little extra tip with the thumb is when playing mostly bass notes or mostly treble notes, you can move from the centre of the neck a little to accommodate the position

I hope that this has been helpful. Just a few final tips for you all, I’m sure most of you are aware but to try to refrain from using the flats of your fingers, instead try to use the tips. The natural curve of the fingers we spoke about earlier should help facilitate this

Finally, always play as close to the fret as possible! It requires much less pressure to produce a nice sound!

Happy playing everyone!

If you would like to book a free trial with our classical guitar teacher Don, just fill in the form on our homepage!

23 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page