Knowing how to identify your finger position on the guitar is one of the first things every beginner should learn. Understanding how your fingers correspond to the fretboard will make it easier for you to learn how to play notes and chords.
Finger Position On Guitar Explained:
The fingers of the left-hand (fretting hand) are numbered as follows:
- 1 = Index
- 2 = Middle
- 3 = Ring
- 4 = Pinkie
- The position you are playing in is determined by your first finger.
- The four fingers of your left hand play the first four frets of the guitar in first position.
- Your first finger plays any note that occurs on the first fret of any string.
- Your second finger plays any note that occurs on the the second fret of any string, and so on.
If you were wanting to play in second position you would simply shift your left hand up the fretboard so that your first finger was positioned directly over the second fret.
Second Position Fingering:
- Your first finger plays any note that occurs on the second fret of any string.
- Your second finger plays any note that occurs on the third fret of any string.
- Your third finger plays any note that occurs on the fourth fret of any string.
- Your fourth finger plays any note that occurs on the fifth fret of any string.
*This principle only applies to single notes!
Chords require playing more than one note at a time, so your fingers have to move to the frets which contain the notes of the chord you wish to play. Consequently, you will sometimes have to move to another finger position on the fretboard.
However, there is a relationship between the chords you play and the finger position you are in. But we will save that discussion for another time.
It’s very important to establish your focus when you are just beginning to learn how to play the guitar. That’s why I suggest learning all the notes and chords that are associated with first position, first!
Here Are a Few Practice Tips:
- Play and say the notes on each string until you have them all memorized.
- Be sure to keep the first knuckle of your fingers bent.
- Press down on each string using the just the tip of your finger.
- Lift and place each finger down on the string one fret at a time.
Do not try to hold all your fingers down on the strings as you move up the fretboard when you are just starting out. This can be added as an additional exercise later. Instead, concentrate on getting a clear tone and developing coordination and dexterity in your movements.