One Trick for Perfect Hand Positioning

In this lesson, I will show you an easy exercise to practice that will make sure your frethand is in the proper position for playing scales and bar chords.

As I mention in the video lesson, there are many playing instances when this "perfect" hand position is not suitable. For things like open chords, bends and vibrato, I more angled hand position is preferable and more natural to your hands.

But, for a majority of chord and scale playing, having the your palm parallel to the bottom of the fretboard with the proper amount of spacing, along with arched fingers that come down straight onto the string will be the most economical way to play. Economical meaning that it requires the least amount of finger pressure as possible along with being the most mobile.

One of the greatest classical guitar players of all-time, the great David Russell, uses this practice technique to maintain optimal hand positioning in his playing. If fact, I learned this from attending one of his masterclasses. 🙂

There are many different hand types, so it is difficult to nail down an exact way to tell someone to position their fingers. The great thing about the exercises I demonstrate in this video lesson is that it is impossible to do unless you place your hand in the best position for YOUR HANDS.

Leave a comment and let me know how this worked for you!


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One Trick for Perfect Hand Positioning


  1. Adam Carr on July 23, 2017 at 4:49 pm

    Hey Carl, I’m a regularly a premium subscriber just not at the moment. I know this is an exercise to help keep the right position but I’ve been told in the past by teachers to NOT barre when I’m going down through pentatonic scales and stuff. Is this a technique you should only use to keep proper positioning or is it ok to do it while practicing pentatonic scales too? Thanks

    • Carl Brown on July 26, 2017 at 10:20 am

      Hey Adam, great to hear from you! To answer your question, this is just an exercise and no I don’t feel the using a bar in real playing situations is the right way to go.

      The exercise moves back and forth between the bar version and the actual way you want to play. The key is, you won’t be able to play the bar version unless you hand is in a good position. You will then want to maintain that position when going back to the normal way of playing.

      This is just a quick and easy way to check that your hand is in the proper position. 🙂

  2. Scott Sykes on April 12, 2018 at 5:24 pm

    I’ve watched many of your videos and I think you’re awesome in your videos. You are a great guitar player and I’ve been learning many Beatles’ songs from you and I thank you for this. I’ll just have to see where my subscription level goes.

    • Carl Brown on April 13, 2018 at 9:42 am

      Thanks for coming to the site Scott! Let me know if you need any help with the lessons!


  3. Brian Sadler on April 18, 2018 at 1:16 pm

    Hey, been a subscriber to the channel for a couple years now, sadly I’ve been having problems with actually committing to the guitar because I just want to do it as a normal hobby eventually. Anyways my main problem has been my slow transitions between cords and just being slow. When I was following along with this video, I noticed that every time my fingers did a movement, they came up and it takes time for me to follow to the next note. It’s been one of my biggest problems and how is there a way to fix that?

    • Brian Sadler on April 18, 2018 at 1:18 pm

      Also I’m still fairly new to the whole realm of music and I’m trying to adjust myself to all of the terminology, any tips for that?

    • Carl Brown on April 19, 2018 at 10:30 am

      Hey Brian, I think it would be easier for me to diagnose your problem if you submitted a Student Spotlight video so I can actually see what might be going on. Anything else would just be a guess on my part. 🙂

  4. Pragyan Gyawali on May 10, 2018 at 3:59 am

    Hey carl I just subscribed for your premium plus section .
    I wanna learn about pinch harmonics .
    Thank you

  5. Steven Van Sickle on May 8, 2019 at 4:59 pm

    Hi Carl,
    I`m interested in a premium subscription but I dont know where to start. I want to practice, but I dont know how much of what to practice every day.

    • Carl Brown on May 9, 2019 at 10:28 am

      Hey Steven, great to hear from you!

      I will gladly help you organize a nice practice routine using the lessons in the academy whenever you become a member. That is something I offer for all academy members. 🙂

      Just send me an email after you subscribe using the contact link at the top of every page on the site. In the email let me know where you are at in your playing, what some short and long term goals you might have along with the styles you like to play. It would also be good to know how much time you will have to practice on an average day.

      I hope to see you there! Carl…

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