Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #10323  by Benthegoodbum
 Wed Nov 15, 2006 11:07 am
So, ok..since I started playing guitar about 2 years ago I've always placed my thumb either over the top of the neck for playing chords where I don't hit the top strings or pretty close to the top for chords where I do. Now I'm curious, will that turn out to be a bad thing in the long run. Will it not develop my hand muscles properly or anything like that? I put my thumb in the middle when I play barre chords and I usually can't get past a single verse.

 #10325  by HOWEYMAN
 Wed Nov 15, 2006 11:41 am
I only use my thumb in first position chords, sometimes.

With Barre chords you just simply need to play and practice them over and over to get strength in your thumb and so forth.

When playing alone, you are more often inclined to play barre chords to anchor your rythm (or beat) by playing the low root note, while playing in a band, usually three to four string voicings are more commonly played, because the base player is picking up the low root.

I have found that simply with time barre chords become easier and easier to play. (always easier on an electric of course).

So, In only my opinion, you need to be able to play barre chords with ease to become a good guitar player.

Only playing with your thumb since you started shouldn't be a setback. Now when you need that technique, you have it mastered.

 #10326  by hlblyhipy
 Wed Nov 15, 2006 11:45 am
Hey Ben good question.I've been playing quite a while and took classical guitar in college.I guess there is no hard and fast rules for where your thumb goes.I usually dont keep my thumb in one position but am constantly shifting it's placement while playing.As long as your thumb is comfortable.As for bar chords making your hands tired they always made mine tired too but over time that stopped being a problem.When I play now I seldom play full bar chords.We have a keyboard player and if I were to use bar chords it tends to muddy things up.So i play triads or chord fragments.
Hope that helps

 #10329  by Benthegoodbum
 Wed Nov 15, 2006 12:39 pm
This information is much appreciated gentlemen. I'm never really worried about it but thought that if I make a go of guitar playing for years to come I'd better have the simple things down first.

 #10855  by qiuniu
 Sat Dec 09, 2006 11:59 pm
I worried about that same thing oh so many years ago...

Some point I stopped thinking about it and now I couldn't even tell you what I do. Main learning point in any finger placement: make sure you don't deaden any strings that you want to ring out. Otherwise if you're playing everything you need to be and your hand doesn't hurt, its the right spot.