Beginner stuff > Hand and String Labelling

Hand and String Labelling

String labelling

In order to make the process of teaching and learning guitar easier, there are standard ways of labelling the hands and parts of the guitar. The strings on a guitar are labelled 1-6 starting from the thinnest and highest sounding string. In tablature (written music) the 1st string is shown at the top and the 6th string is at the bottom.

Hand labelling

To easily communicate where to put your hands, names are given to each hand. The hand that holds the plectrum and hits the strings is called the picking hand or the strumming hand, this will be the right hand for most of you. The hand that holds down the strings on the fretboard is called the fretting hand (the left hand).

Left hand

The fretting hand fingers are referred to by the following names:

Right hand

The picking hand fingers are also labelled in order to indicate which fingers you should use when fingerpicking (using fingers instead of a plectrum). They are labelled using pima directions. The diagram below shows you where this name comes from.