Alignment Exercises for the Left Hand

This exercise is from my new book Classical Guitar Technique: Essential Exercises, Scales, and Arpeggios. The 122 page book includes: Practice Routines, Tips, 100 Open String Exercises, 120 Giuliani Arpeggios, Scales, Slur Exercises, Shifts, Finger Independence, Barre, Tremolo, Common Harmonics, and much more.

Youtube Video Lesson Link (HD)

This lesson is on alignment and finger placement exercises for the left hand. Every guitarist should review this from time to time keeping an eye on these tips: Maintain proper finger placement with curved fingers, on fingertips, and close to the frets. The left hand fingers and knuckles should remain parallel with the strings. At first, play one finger at a time aiming for the perfect finger placement. After gaining some control, keep all fingers down until needed. When keeping your fingers down, be sure to release the pressure for every finger except the one being used. Keep the 4th finger down when you progress to the next string in order be legato across the strings. I recommend using i-m for the top three strings, your thumb for the bass strings, or i-m the entire time. These exercises can be played at any four frets of the fingerboard so feel free to play them in other positions.


Ask a Question or Leave a Positive Comment

  1. First I want to thank you for your most generous youtube videos on how to begin playing the classical guitar. I very recently have started playing the guitar and I am trying to use your left hand technique. I am experiencing a sore tendon in the side of my left shoulder – is this normal or am I doing something incorrectly?

    • First thing, any sign of discomfort just stop and take a break until the discomfort goes away. Double check your posture, playing position, and hand/arm positions. Make sure to consciously relax while playing.

  2. I have a question about the interpretation of “…, keep all fingers down until needed” in the book . Before I saw the video, I was interpreting it as follows: e.g. when you are playing that D# on 5th (2), (3 and 4) would still be on 6th (B, C). But I see in the video you seem to be shifting all the fingers to hoover above 5 when you play that first D (5). I must say that I found my interpretation “challenging’ but somehow interesting. Do you see any problem (technical wise), or is that whole “holding” till the end? In fact the question could also apply about the way to practice the LH Finger clearance in page 56.

    • The main thing is this (if playing a 1-2-3-4 pattern across the strings): While on a single string keep all your fingers down. When changing from one string to the next make sure to keep the 4th finger down until you HEAR the next note/string with the 1st finger. We need to be legato across the strings and therefore need to keep down 4.

  3. Thank you very much! Yes that’s exactly what I was looking for. And the question you were asked in the beginning of the video is precisely what I was wondering about. Great lessons, good work and thank you!

  4. Concerning 4 finger alignment, please tell me about the left hand thumb. Are you keeping it stationary on the back of the neck or allowing it to cross the neck as you move across the fretboard?
    In order to keep my finger tips at the correct angle I have to allow it to move, is this correct?
    Thank you, Mark