The Basics - The Fret Hand - Holding and Playing Notes

The hand that you use to hold down strings is called your fret hand.  For most players, this is the left hand.  Here are a few tips on using this hand properly.

  • Play on the very tip of your fingers.  The top joint of your finger should be about level with the string and the tops of your finger nails will be facing up (see first photo).
  • The thumb should be low on the guitar neck, opposite your middle finger (see second photo).
  • Play as close to the fret as you can, but not on it.
  • Be sure to press the string all the way down until it touches the wood on the guitar neck.
  • Use just enough pressure to make the note work.  There is no benefit to squeezing the note hard.
Try playing a note on each string on the guitar.  Pick any fret that you would like to play.


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