How to Place Your Fingers on a Guitar

When learning, the first thing you want to master is how to place your fingers on a guitar. Yes, it is hard at first but it will get easier. Trust me!

Hold The Guitar Correctly

This is definitely the first step. Find a comfortable chair or couch and have a seat. You want a chair that doesn’t have arms on it.

Place the guitar on your lap. The back of the guitar should be flat against your belly. Also, the neck should be level to the floor.

Near the Fret, Not On The Fret

Find the first fret on the guitar. Place your finger on the high E string.

Here are two crucial points:

  • Press the string down with the tip of your finger, not the front of your finger
  • Position your finger, very close to the fret but not on the fret

Now Play

Pluck the E string with your right hand. If you cannot make a sound, press your finger down harder. If the note plays but buzzes, press your finger down harder. It may hurt now, but it won’t next week.

After you play the first fret with your first finger on the E string, this is the F note by the way. Place your second finger on the second fret and pluck the string. Keep your first finger down on the first fret. You may find the second note is easier to play.

You may be tempted, but do not slide your first finger up to the second fret. Use all of those fingers!

Continue with your third and fourth fingers as well.

When picking, pick down the first note and up the second note. Keep the pattern for all your picking.

Finger Exercise

Now your ready for your first finger exercise. After you played frets 1, 2, 3, and 4 on the E string. Do the same thing on the B string. Continue this 1, 2, 3, 4 pattern on each string.

The lower strings will be harder to play but that will change.

Remember, alternate your picking – up and down.

After you do the low E string. Work your way back to the the high E string. Play in a steady rhythm. Slow and then faster.

What Next?

Now that you know how to place your fingers on the guitar and play some notes. Learn a simple melody.

Try the Smoke on the Water riff:


Try it on every string.

Next, try to learn the C chord.

Keep on Picking!