Okay for Left Hand Palm to Touch Guitar Neck?

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mhjones12
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Okay for Left Hand Palm to Touch Guitar Neck?

Post by mhjones12 » Fri Oct 20, 2017 3:07 am

I've read and watched about left hand placement and technique, and they say to keep your left hand palm parallel with the guitar neck. This makes sense. But I was wondering if it was acceptable to rest the left hand palm on the bottom of the neck while playing? I only recently noticed that I do this about 5-10% of the time. Sometimes I just place my palm to support/stabilize my left hand, but I also seem to use it to "ground" myself in the sense that once my palm is resting on the neck, my fingers are able to find their placement easier. I actually noticed that, particularly in a quick movement up/down the fret board, I will put my palm on the neck and then place my fingers. The extra step takes a small amount of time, but it can cause a slight pause in playing. I do this without even thinking about it. If I try to not place my palm, then I have a much harder time placing my fingers accurately. Is this bad practice?
Matthew
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2017 Batson Gypsy (steel string)
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Stephen Kenyon
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Re: Okay for Left Hand Palm to Touch Guitar Neck?

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Fri Oct 20, 2017 12:07 pm

If its a very light touch against effectively the part of the neck where it is joined by the fingerboard, I think that is something many players do, perhaps often unconsciously. Of course, this is assuming you do not need the top E string to sound.
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mhjones12
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Re: Okay for Left Hand Palm to Touch Guitar Neck?

Post by mhjones12 » Fri Oct 20, 2017 9:20 pm

Yeah I’m referring to the bottom of the neck where it joins the fingerboard. Occasionally I will accidentally mute the high e string, but most of the time it rings out.
Matthew
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Re: Okay for Left Hand Palm to Touch Guitar Neck?

Post by CathyCate » Mon Oct 23, 2017 2:50 pm

mhjones12 wrote:
Fri Oct 20, 2017 9:20 pm
Yeah I’m referring to the bottom of the neck where it joins the fingerboard. Occasionally I will accidentally mute the high e string, but most of the time it rings out.
I came back to this post, because I had trouble visualizing your issue and the contact points with the "bottom of the neck." Results could vary depending on what is going on with your left wrist. Is it relatively stable a good part of the time, then making smooth and purpose driven movement as necessary... or is the left wrist movement jerky and wavy, jutting outward and collapsing inward at will and unpredictably?

I offer the following from notes taken when I studied decades ago with Michael Stockdale at Detroit's Center for Creative Studies. He was a master teacher and diagnostician who spent a great deal of time reforming my left hand (with a good outcome):

For greater left hand stability,
Base of fingers need more contact with neck when playing on strings 4,5 & 6. To lesser extent on 3.
On strings 1 & 2 , left hand fingers should have a natural curved playing position that makes neck contact less necessary.
Follow the most natural hand movement.
The key is to refrain from overextending hand or fingers.

Hope this helps! & Thank you, Michael, if you're out there.

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BugDog
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Re: Okay for Left Hand Palm to Touch Guitar Neck?

Post by BugDog » Thu Nov 02, 2017 3:21 am

I've noticed myself doing this and wondered if there was a problem with it. I avoid it if it's causing a problem otherwise I don't worry too much about it. Thanks for the replies, they were useful.
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Re: Okay for Left Hand Palm to Touch Guitar Neck?

Post by HNLim » Thu Nov 02, 2017 6:36 am

mhjones12 wrote:
Fri Oct 20, 2017 9:20 pm
Yeah I’m referring to the bottom of the neck where it joins the fingerboard. Occasionally I will accidentally mute the high e string, but most of the time it rings out.
I have this problem too, but I am going to solve my problem by allowing 6mm spacing from the edge to the first string for the next guitar that I am building. Problem solved.

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Re: Okay for Left Hand Palm to Touch Guitar Neck?

Post by SteveL123 » Thu Nov 02, 2017 2:40 pm

One of the best lesson I've come across for the left hand (couple of days ago) is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KolJMGn0ib0

Pay close attention to his explanations. It helped me a lot and produced almost instant results.

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Re: Okay for Left Hand Palm to Touch Guitar Neck?

Post by D.Cass » Thu Nov 02, 2017 7:25 pm

Short answer is no, the L.H. palm should not touch the neck. This will deviate your wrist causing for more stress on the left hand. If your palm is touching, where is your thumb? The wrist should be straight when playing. Your thumb will be the anchor to find the notes, but the thumb moves with the hand as you move vertically up and down the strings
Using the palm as position shift, or as a guide, doesn’t seem to be effective. As you mentioned you add one extra step and it can cause pauses in your shift. Once again your thumb will be far more effective or using a guide finger.

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Re: Okay for Left Hand Palm to Touch Guitar Neck?

Post by Angela Carter » Sat Nov 04, 2017 12:10 am

SteveL123 wrote:
Thu Nov 02, 2017 2:40 pm
One of the best lesson I've come across for the left hand (couple of days ago) is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KolJMGn0ib0

Pay close attention to his explanations. It helped me a lot and produced almost instant results.
Thanks, good share.

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mhjones12
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Re: Okay for Left Hand Palm to Touch Guitar Neck?

Post by mhjones12 » Sat Nov 04, 2017 1:56 am

Thanks for all the replies. :merci: I realized there may be confusion with my description of where my hand can touch, so I thought I'd add a few pictures. Note these were just taken with a guitar on my lap and I'm not trying to replicate overall good left hand posture, just trying to capture the way the guitar neck touching my palm. Also note that I am still supporting my left hand on my thumb.
1.jpg
2.JPG
3.JPG
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Re: Okay for Left Hand Palm to Touch Guitar Neck?

Post by lagartija » Sat Nov 04, 2017 2:05 am

You appear to be holding a steel string, narrow necked guitar and not a classical guitar with a wide neck. The string spacings are totally different between the two types of guitar and that will make a large difference in how one might hold the guitar and the use the left hand.

The members who are teachers will chime in with some advice, I'm sure.
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Re: Okay for Left Hand Palm to Touch Guitar Neck?

Post by D.Cass » Sat Nov 04, 2017 2:17 am

I see you have a steel string. Your hand position doesn't alow the most optimal position. In the future your ability to stretch your fingers will be limited. If you drop your thumb you will be able to access 4 to 5 frets without moving your wrist. Also, it looks like you are putting a lot of stress on the index knuckle.

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mhjones12
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Re: Okay for Left Hand Palm to Touch Guitar Neck?

Post by mhjones12 » Sat Nov 04, 2017 4:24 am

Yes in the pictures I’m holding a steel string, but that’s just because that was the guitar I was holding when I took the pictures and I was trying to be quick. I have and play a classical and my question is still in regard to classical technique.
D.Cass wrote:
Sat Nov 04, 2017 2:17 am
Also, it looks like you are putting a lot of stress on the index knuckle.
That is essentially what I mean when I say my left palm sometimes touches the bottom of the guitar neck. Sometimes it is the entire width of my palm that touches, and sometimes it is mostly the base of the index finger as in the picture.
Matthew
2017 Hanika Natural PC Custom
1977 Yamaha G-231 II
2017 Batson Gypsy (steel string)
2011 Breedlove 000/CRe (steel string)

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Larry McDonald
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Re: Okay for Left Hand Palm to Touch Guitar Neck?

Post by Larry McDonald » Sat Nov 04, 2017 6:05 am

Hi,
Yeah, you are right to be concerned. The above posts are correct, it is going to be a "slow shifting" hand position. Plus, it won't easily allow for some advanced techniques. I don't know of any major artists who play this way.

I believe that the default thumb position should be behind or to the left of the first finger as a companion to the modern 4th finger approach (there are a bunch of threads on on Delcamp about the 4th finger approach.)

See ... http://larrymcdonaldguitar.com/pdfs/Lef ... sition.pdf

The thumb should really only counter-poise the fingers; try not to pinch too much from the thumb. I use the following teaching technique with my students:

"Try this, play a standard A minor chord. Then remove the thumb from behind the neck. You will feel an immediate counter pressure from the right arm. keep that pressure and then just tap the back of the neck with the thumb, like you are leaving a thumb print. That's were the thumb should go (for an A minor chord, anyway.)"

All the best,
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mhjones12
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Re: Okay for Left Hand Palm to Touch Guitar Neck?

Post by mhjones12 » Mon Nov 06, 2017 3:20 am

I have been more careful about not letting my left hand touch the guitar neck. It is taking some adjustment, but so far it seems promising that in the long run it will improving my playing. In some movements where there was a lag from the additional time to plant my hand and then my fingers, I have seen improved time at the expense of some accuracy. I have been working to improve my accuracy in those parts and sometimes it has been easy to adjust to not touching my hand and other times it is taking more practice. I'll stick with it and I expect I will eventually brake my habit and be able to keep my accuracy. Thanks for the posts.
Matthew
2017 Hanika Natural PC Custom
1977 Yamaha G-231 II
2017 Batson Gypsy (steel string)
2011 Breedlove 000/CRe (steel string)

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