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I've been practicing the guitar for a few months now and am currently learning a song that requires me to slide from the 10th and 12th fret on the A and B string down to the third and fifth frets, respectively. Muting other strings in this case is not an issue, but my question still applies to when you'd want to avoid muting the adjacent strings.

When I slide down, I naturally end up in a position similar to this:

I find this position comfortable on my fingers and my wrist isn't bent much. However, in live recordings and video tutorials online, such chords are fingered more similar to this: The difference I want to demponstrate with the picture is how here, all 4 fingers point in the same direction (towards the player, in this case). For me, this position does look more "right" - but it's also hard for me to fret the strings like that, without at the same time bending my wrist at an uncomfortable angle.

Is the way I'm fretting the strings now "bad", as in, is it more likely to cause injuries or to hold back progress? If it is, I would like to improve - could you explain as detailed as possible how to properly fret a chord like this (I have the same issue with power chords on an electric guitar)?

  • (Slight wording changes) – user45266 Aug 27 at 23:36
  • I do both all the time. – Todd Wilcox Aug 28 at 0:03
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The first one (i.e. your natural one) also looks more natural to me when it comes to the fingers.

Personally I would make this kind of hold with the thumb near the centre of the back of the neck, rather than wrapped round the neck, but that may just be because I have short fingers! If your way feels easy and comfortable to you too then it's unlikely to be causing major damage (in my worthless, non-medical opinion), but you could try moving your thumb more to the centre of the back of the neck to see if that's even more comfortable. You might have to raise your guitar neck a bit to do so.

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I am a little confused as, in my opinion, both pic show the fingers pointing towards the player.

The first pic looks correct from the classic approach to teaching guitar. I would not trust a source that recommended the second. If the first is uncomfortable there are a couple things to consider. If you are a beginner, and a few months is a beginner, then it will take time for the correct posture to feel comfortable. Second, you may not be sitting correctly and that is really what is placing stress on the hand and wrist.

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I noticed the thumb position in both pictures and then tried holding my hand both ways, and it seems the thumb position might be the determining factor. In the first picture the thumb is situated a little more toward the center of the chord and when I tried it my hand went into the same shape as the picture. In the second picture, I made my fingers align themselves and found my thumb positioned off to the far end of the chord. I've always been told to position my thumb behind the chord, so I have to assume that the first picture is probably the more correct way to hold the hand. There's also the possibility my hand is different than yours.

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