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The 40-Year-Old Music Virgin

Day 4: Thumbs up for thumbs down...

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Previously, I expressed concern over the inconsistency of thumb placement by my fret hand. Eerily, my pre-recorded guitar teacher addressed the issue tonight.

What's scarier is his advice made instant sense and had an immediate impact (paraphrasing): don't worry about your thumb, worry about your wrist--keep your wrist down and your thumb will fall into place.

The prescribed wrist-down technique has also improved my fingertip angles. As well, it helps keep my fret hand open and more relaxed, which reduces tension and strain.

I've had three flesh-and-blood guitar teachers as an adult student. None of them offered this advice. Two of them had me obsess about my thumb while the third had deplorable technique I could not replicate. (Hint: I called the 3rd dude "The Choker.")

To be clear, I'm not saying this wrist-down technique is a unique revelation or that it will work wonders for everyone. And I'm not disrespecting one-on-one instruction. Live or pre-recorded, what matters most is connecting with your instructor.

Bonus revelations:
  1. Dammit, I should buy a metronome.
  2. Dammit, I should change my strings.
  3. Dammit, if the fate of the world hinges on consistent fretting by my left pinky... we're screwed.