The 8 Essential Beginner Chord Grips

When I look at the video posted I think its elbow position as when the OP starts the songs she is playing the C Chord and G Chord in a position that looks reasonably straight. Then as the song progresses the angle of the wrist appears to change. I’ve only completed grade 2 so not really in a position to advise any changes. The thumb position I expect will have an impact as when you start playing with the thumb higher up the wrist position will change.

If your referring to my video - I’ll study it and I wouldn’t be surprised if my elbow migrated outward as the song progressed and my mind wandered to focusing more on the fingers than the wrist.

Yes, referring to your video. I thought at the start of the video you started off with the C and G chords where the angle of the wrist looked fine. When you progressed in the song the angle appeared to change.

Well that’s very interesting about raising the headstock - because I tried that last week and it seemed like it made my wrist bend just as much… But maybe it’s an elbow thing, as in I was putting my elbow out just as much at the higher position as I was at a lower position, and so trying it with a tucked elbow might work? I’ll give it another go, for sure.

Ah! So many things to be thinking about at one time during a song, something is bound to slip! I am glad that you and others agree with me that the wrist position wasn’t correct, tells me I can recognize things myself that may be not optimal. Thank you for your input!

I just watched the video again…It’s the G chord where your wrist bends the most, the other chords look ok to me.

I just spent a few minutes futzing around on my guitar.

For me at least, it’s thumb position that causes my wrist to bend extensively on the G chord.

If I put my thumb in middle of the back of the neck, my wrist bends a lot. If I let it slide up to the top edge (more of a thumb muting position), it bends much less.

Maybe worth doing some one minute changes G-Em-C-D. Then record yourself just doing four down strums for each chord not thinking or trying to look at your fingering and see how your wrist position is then. Maybe your trying to take a sneaky peak at your fingering for those chords.

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Yes, it’s way too much to think about in a song.

That’s why the chord perfect and one minute changes exercises are so important. Focusing on good technique in isolation gets it into automatic muscle memory, so you don’t have to think about it.

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I find it VERY difficult to keep my thumb in middle of the back of the neck. Not only does it force my wrist into an uncomfortable bend, as you say, but it tends to push the neck away from me as soon as I lift my fingers to change chords. So I also ‘hang’ my thumb on the top of the neck.

I’ve pretty much decided that’s how it is for me. It seems like there are too many other battles I need to fight to learn to play, that fighting my thumb position is too much of a distraction.

I’ll add that to my practice and record it. I really don’t want to get into a habit of bad positioning, be it wrist, elbow, fingers, or mindset!

Remember in Grade 1 Justin says to keep your thumb behind the neck i.e. not over the neck. Looking at the video lesson for the D chord Justin shows it being played with his thumb behind the neck but not in the middle of the neck.

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That stands to reason on the G, because that’s a reach! But like you, I’m playing with thumb positioning and I almost think having it poking up over the top results in straighter wrist. It’s just fighting the palm touching the bottom of the neck at that point. It’s such a tight position!

Good plan.

Don’t overdo the practice (10 minutes max, maybe?)

And be alert to pain, in the wrist, forearm, elbow, or even shoulder. That’s definitely a sign that something’s wrong with your technique.

Will do. Thanks for your input!

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I know I’m on very thin ice for disagreeing with Justin here…

…but I think he stresses that too much. My experience is that things work best when I let my thumb slide around a bit.

D chord, sure, thumb behind the neck. C and G, it’s better to let my thumb move up to the top edge of the fretboard.

That’s still behind the fretboard and not over it so you’re not disagreeing with justin :wink:

Yeah, thanks. I recall a later video he did where he talks about how his thumb is constantly moving depending on what his fretting fingers are doing. I think he used his iPhone to show his thumb position for various chords.

Phew! Not the first time I’ve been saved by a legal technicality! :wink:

There is never a clear answer as has been mentioned before. We are all built differently. It is a matter of experimenting to see what works for you. There are some things that need to be avoided to avoid injury such as excessive wrist bend.

If you feel you have to bend your wrist too much then do not attempt to work through it. You will hurt yourself. Instead look at your guitar position and your elbow. It will take some time to figure out how to avoid this but your body will tell you if it feels wrong or right and with work it will become automatic.


Here’s a link to my experiences with Trigger Point Therapy to treat pain caused by poor technique. There are lots of other suggestions in that thread as well.