Playing the Lisbon Portuguese Guitarra by Ronald Louis Fernandez (continued)

Section 4. Left Fingers

 The left hand is used to press down the strings on the fretboard. As with other fretted instruments it is good form to press down the strings close to the fret. In most situations it is best to press with the tip of the finger. Traditionally, Lisbon players use the thumb to press down the 6th string.

 In recent years there has been some controversy about the use of the left hand thumb because it requires using the left hand and left arm in an awkward manner (such a view is shared by the great Spanish classical guitarists). In contrast, those who use the thumb assert that it allows the fingers to reach frets in the traditional manner and to achieve different fingering possibilities than playing without the thumb.

Since I was originally trained as a classical guitarist, I resisted using the left hand thumb, however, at the suggestion of Luis Penedo I tried using it. For a time, I found it difficult to do. Eventually, I mastered this technique and I now find it useful for playing certain chords.

Traditionally, the left hand fingers are referred to by numbers: 1 = index, 2 = middle, 3 = ring finger, 4 = little finger. The left hand thumb has no standard notation. Paolo Soares uses zero (0) for the thumb, I think this makes sense.

To continue with Portuguese Guitarra Lesson, press here

Master Portuguese Guitarras, press here

Return to Table of Contents on the Home Page