I am approaching the (soprano) recorder by myself, and have checked several resources online with very valuable advice (e.g. placing the left-hand thumb slightly inclined so as to allow it roll — life changer). However, I've found very little on the position of the right hand, in particular with regards to the thumb.

From various pieces of information I have managed to gather, it seems that the ideal position is with slightly bent fingers, except for the pinky finger which should be straight.

Does the community have any good "rule of thumb"?

  • Put it where it feels most comfortable. It's not covering any holes, so is purely support. Use it more as a balance point than anything.
    – Tim
    Feb 14, 2018 at 11:19

3 Answers 3


I guess the reason you've found no answer to your question is that it will be different for everyone. You place your right thumb wherever you need to so your fingers can reach all the holes comfortably and so that the instrument feels secure in your hand.

Rule of thumb: if it feels awkward or tense it's not right.

It may also help to watch professionals to get some more ideas.

Hope you come right!

  • I was asking simply because generally videos and the like never show a profile of the player, so difficult to see what's going on behind the recorder. Absence of tension seems like a good starting point!
    – Easymode44
    Feb 14, 2018 at 20:34

A good analogue is looking at how clarinet players tackle this problem. When I started learning tenor recorder I quickly realized that the weight made it very hard to hold up the instrument, especially on notes that raised more fingers. Since I had already worked on clarinets it wasn't hard for me to install a metal thumbrest. I noticed that most clarinets are have their thumbrest located so that the thumb rests somewhat between the index and middle finger. When you hold the end you'll notice that as you move the body away from you your wrist has to rotate towards you to compensate and allow all of your fingers to touch the holes. This makes the thumb lower and more in line with the middle finger. In contrast, bringing the instrument closer to your body puts it more in line with your index. This also depends on if your index hole plays an F sharp or an F natural.

Otherwise make sure you have little tension, a straight wrist, and your hand in a C shape. If you plan to play for a long period of time I'd highly suggest getting a thumbrest installed.

  • Are you really suggesting a thumb-rest for a soprano recorder? Mar 18, 2023 at 13:10

It's hard to go past Genevieve Lacey as a gold standard for recorder technique. This video shows that her right thumb stays under her second finger.

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