Finger placement - Tips? Flat? Depends on what you're doing?

As a beginner, I think a lot about my fingers on my fretting hand. I understand that when playing chords, it’s important not to mute strings unless one means to do so. To accomplish this, I focus on keeping my fingers rounded and pressing the strings with the tips of my fingers. (Of course, this means thinking about stretching as well.) As I’ve begun practicing scales, I’ve been wondering how to place my fingers - it’s easy to place them a bit “flatter”, which often results in touching adjacent strings. I’ve been trying to avoid doing that. But I’ve been following a couple of threads in which more advanced guitarists discuss “flattening” the fingers in various circumstances, and I’m confused! How can one think about this? I don’t want to develop bad habits. Maybe Justin has a lesson on finger placement that I haven’t gotten to yet?

My suggestion is to learn to play with your fingertips for now, as it is the more critical skill and the one that takes more practice to master. When you get to Justin’s lesson about string muting (Grade 2 Module 8), that is a good time to start to also learn how, when and why to place your finger(s) a bit flatter. In the end, you need both skills, but IMHO (and Justin’s, apparently) is you should learn to use your fingertips first.

It was really weird and surprisingly challenging for me to adjust to the flatter fingering used for string muting. At 2 1/2 years into this journey, I can definitely say that learning to play with my fingertips first has made me a more accomplished player.

As an example, I am learning a riff where my index finger frets the D and G strings while muting the A string above and the B and e strings below. I use the pad of my index finger for that. But, while holding that fingering, I then use my ring finger to “hammer-on” to the D string 2 frets up while ensuring that the G string still rings clear. Making sure the tip of my ring finger comes down on the D without touching the G is very challenging.

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Oh gosh, thank you! I reviewed that Grade 2 Module 8 lesson and it really clears everything up.