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I'm an amateur classical guitar player. I have been playing on and off for a few years, but I consider myself a beginner, or pre-intermediate at best.

When I'm playing, especially at the higher notes of the neck, I notice that I place my left finger 4 (pinky) in a weird position, pressing the "outer" part of the finger against the neck (i.e. nail facing the sound hole). This happened while I was trying to learn the 1st movement of "La Catedral" by Mangore (if you can play this song you'll probably understand what I mean).

I'm wondering if there are exercises I can practice to fix this.

Thank you.

View of the finger position in discussion

  • Can you post a picture of this? What I'm imagining seems physically impossible, or at least extremely uncomfortable. – CW Grimmick Aug 6 '16 at 4:07
  • Are you talking about a stretch, for example with 1 around position I on a low string, and 4 reaching to a high A or beyond? – hpaulj Aug 6 '16 at 10:15
  • @CWGrimmick see the picture here: postimg.org/image/4glocn6wx – Phil Aug 6 '16 at 16:15
  • @hpaulj see the picture here: postimg.org/image/4glocn6wx – Phil Aug 6 '16 at 16:15
  • My pinky will turn like that, but only if I stretch over several more frets. Some else should look at your fingers in person. – hpaulj Aug 6 '16 at 18:23
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I can't tell for sure from just the picture you included - but I am guessing that you may be attempting to play classical guitar without holding the guitar in "classical position". See picture below.

enter image description here

The image is from ThisIsClassicalGuitar.com and here is a YouTube video which demonstrates the suggested way to assume the classical playing position. Classical Guitar Position YouTube

When you shift the guitar to your knee closest to your fretting hand instead of the one closer to your strumming hand, and if you tilt the neck in the more vertical position shown - your hand does not have to rotate to play near the body of the guitar. Try it.

  • You're right, it looks indeed like the OP has the guitar on the right leg. It's of course good advice to try proper classical position, at very least to see how it affects technical issues! — however, in this particular case, it actually has kind of the opposite effect: in classical position (which I assumed in my answer), the hand tends naturally towards supination, causing a pinky position as seen in the OP picture. Whereas when I switch to the other leg, the hand goes, as you said, into pronation, which is less flexible but at least prevents the pinky from rolling to the side. – leftaroundabout Aug 7 '16 at 22:25
  • @leftaroundabout That's funny because I find just the opposite when I try it. – Rockin Cowboy Aug 8 '16 at 0:04
  • @RockinCowboy you are absolutely right! The supination goes away when I try the classical position. I usually try the popular position since that's how I learnt to play, but at least for this piece it will be much easier to use the classical one. Marking your reply as the answer. Thank you. – Phil Aug 8 '16 at 4:05
  • @leftaroundabout - you may be correct in terminology between pronation and supination - I edited my answer to avoid misuse. We may have used pronation instead of supination but apparently me and the OP were on the same page and he discovered that shifting to classical position solved the problem. But thanks for encouraging me to research the difference between pronation and supination. They are indeed different but I believe often the word pronation is used by many to indicate a rotation of the hand (even when they rotate it in the direction that would indicate supination). Thanks again. – Rockin Cowboy Aug 9 '16 at 17:17
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I can't be sure from just that picture, but it doesn't look bad to me. My pinky does much the same thing when I play that chord. It's just a normal, supinated hand position, quite natural for reaching these positions about the 12th fret. The alternatives would be to either enter a strong pronation (which makes the hand rather inflexible) or to take off the thumb from its resting position on the neck to pull the entire hand over the body (which is bad for stability).

So... always consult a teacher if you have doubts, but I don't think you need to.

  • Thank you for your comment @leftaroundabout. Good to know I'm not the only one :) – Phil Aug 7 '16 at 17:34

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