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The Left Hand
 

The Left Hand

At first we’ll concentrate on the left hand. To play the chords, simply sweep the pad of the thumb across the strings—we’ll add sophistication later.

The illustration shows the basic position of the left hand. Notice that the thumb is behind the neck, approximately behind the fret played by the first finger. Here is an excellent first exercise to establish and strengthen the left hand:

  1. With the thumb in a good position, hammer down your first finger just behind the first fret of the sixth (lowest sounding) string. See how loud a note you can sound with just the left hand.
  2. Leaving the first finger where it is, hammer down the second finger behind the second fret. Be sure to be close to it, or the next frets will be difficult to reach.
  3. Still leaving each finger on after it has hammered, play successively the third and fourth fingers.
  4. Next do the same thing on the fifth string.
  5. Following this, play all the remaining strings, hammering as loudly as possible.

This is a wonderful first exercise, because it builds both strength and stretch. Don’t be dismayed if you don’t produce much sound at first—you’ll be amazed at the difference after a few days.

The next step is to put both hands together to play a chord.

The left-hand position

The left-hand position


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