Closed Hand and Open Hand Grips

A guitar can be played in either a Closed Grip, an Open Grip, or an In-Between Grip.

Closed Grip

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If you take your hand and grab hold of the guitar neck, you’ll probably grab it with a Closed Grip. 

The Closed Grip is a natural and strong way of grabbing something. It’s the way you’ll generally grab things in everyday life. 

I call it a Closed Grip because the fingers can’t open up like they do in an Open Grip.

Open Grip

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Grab the guitar neck again, but this time bring your thumb down behind the middle area of the guitar neck. You’ll now be in what I call an Open Grip. 

In this position, your fingers will be able to open up much more. However, the Open Grip won’t feel as strong as the Closed Grip because your wrist, hand and fingers take on a more unnatural posture. 

Somewhere In-Between Grip

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There’s also an in-between position, where your thumb is not quite up in a Closed Grip, yet not far enough down to be called an Open Grip. It’s somewhere in between.

Which Position is Best?

Each grip has its pros and cons, and I think it depends on what you’re playing and how your fingers are built as to what grip will work best for you.


Whether you use a Closed Grip, an Open Grip, or an In-Between Grip will come down to experimentation as to what works best for you as an individual.

Remember, we’re all built differently so it’s important to experiment to find the ideal way of playing that’s right for you.