Finger Placement For Guitar Chords: Eliminate String Buzz!

When you are first learning guitar chords, it sure can be hard to get your fingers to do what you want them to do.  That’s okay.  It takes time and practice to build up the necessary strength and dexterity in your hands and fingers to be able play guitar chords well.  When you are first learning a new guitar chord, one of the big problems often is that dreadful string buzz.  Yeah, you know what I’m talking about.  Bzzzt.  

Like I said, time and practice can help with this, but there is a common mistake that I’m always seeing. From what I’ve noticed, this mistake accounts for a lot of string buzz, and it’s all because of poor finger placement.  I want to show you correct finger placement for guitar chords.  This will help you out tremendously so you can play clean, no buzz, guitar chords.  Let’s take a look.

Correct finger placement

I think the common understanding when learning guitar chords is that as long as your fingers are in between the frets you are in the clear.  You look at a chord diagram and you see that the dots are situated exactly right in between two frets.  However, this not the most efficient way to play a guitar chord.  In fact, finger placement for guitar chords should be not in the middle or away from the fret, but rather, your finger placement should be “hugging” or practically resting right on the fret.  

Here’s an example of the wrong way:

In that example, I’m playing a ‘C’ chord, but look at my fingers.  They are way behind the frets.  If my fingers are positioned in this way, I’m not able to apply the maximum amount of pressure needed to the string to prevent string buzz.  

Here’s an example of the right way:

As you can see from this example, my fingers are practically on top of the frets.  They are just barely behind the fret.  By doing this, this allows me to put maximum pressure much more easily on the string being pressed to the fret.  This eliminates a lot of string buzz.

Go ahead and try it out!  You’ll be amazed at how much clearer your chords ring out!

Also, if you haven’t already, check out my reviews on professional online guitar lessons. These are really nice, if you want to learn from the best, and take your playing to the next level. 

About Brett McQueen

Brett McQueen is a musician, songwriter, and the founder and editor of Guitar Friendly and Ukulele Tricks. Learn more about him here and follow him on Twitter at @GuitarFriendly.