I'm just starting out learning classical guitar. One question I have is if I should be looking at my fingers on the fret board or the music I'm trying to play? Back when I was in grade-school I played the trumpet for year. Yet with the trumpet there are only three valve keys, so there were never a need for me to look at my hand. Now I'm dealing with 6 strings with 12 frets. So there are 72 different places I could put my fingers.

So should I be trying to learn to hit the right fret/string by feel? Would it make sense to compare this to learning to touch type on a keyboard? Should I be using specific fingers for specific frets/strings? Or should I just use whatever fingers feel the most comfortable?

2 Answers 2


It is ok to look at your left hand fingers at the beginning, this will help you to develop your fingers's muscles memory.
The more you play and practice, the less you are going to look to your left hand fingers.

Try not to see the whole fret board, focus only on the frets of the 6th string.

And don't not try to look at your right hand at any cost, don't try to see if you are picking the strings or to look for which string to hit. It is ok to see if you are positioning your right hand correctly any way.

Are you using music sheets? because usually they indicate which finger to employ using the notation 1, 2, 3 and 4.
I'm not sure if it is OK to use which finger you feel most comfortable with, classic guitar is pretty difficult on the left hand and you will encounter many complex left hand positioning and slides. Using the wrong fingers would complicate the next move.

  • When I was a kid learning piano, I was explicitly instructed to not look at my fingers while I played.
    – Don Hosek
    Commented Jul 7, 2020 at 15:03

Initially, you would be playing the notes in the first position only (the first 4 frets). This would require you to look at the frets, until you can get to know them by feel. As for the music, unless you memorize it, you would have to look at that too.

So it would be a combination of both. After some time, you would be able to get to know the notes by feel alone, and can concentrate on looking just at the music.

To answer your question briefly, look at both, till your fingers can automatically figure out the notes. Once you can do this, start all over again with the notes in the rest of the positions.

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