The Thumb Rectangle (Lesson 2.4)

Why You Need a Thumb Rectangle

Beginning guitar players have a lot to think about. A thumb rectangle helps you get your left-hand thumb in the right place every time without having to think about it. It also keeps your thumb in the same place even when your changing between different fingers, making your playing more efficient.

So here is how to add a thumb rectangle to your guitar. Remember, function is much more important than aesthetics. As we go along you will notice that I am no Martha Steward; you needn’t be either.

What you need

Thumb Rect_materials
Your guitar, scissors, & tape

You can use just about any kind of tape. For this example, I used fluorescent orange duct tape for higher contrast. Keep in mind, you will eventually want to take the tape off. You can use rubbing alcohol to remove any leftover adhesive without doing any damage to the guitar.

What to do

Cut four narrow strips


After you have your four strips, cut one wider piece. My strips are a little uneven and wrinkly; I am blaming the tape.


Cut the wider piece in half width-wise then place it directly behind the 1st fret


When you turn the guitar over it should look something like this. Note: my tape is still pretty wrinkly, but that’s ok.


Put two pieces of on either side of the first piece length-wise. Yes, I know the tapes aren’t cut evenly


Now put the remaining two strips going the other way to make a rectangle. Are those perfect right angles? No…no they are not


Remove the piece of tape in the center, then fold the edges of the bottom pieces of tape up. Cut off the excess for a (mostly) clean edge


Cut off the extra tape on the other sides and you will have a thumb rectangle; fit for royalty




The thumb goes in the thumb rectangle; it should point up and towards the tuners


Make sure to have your thumb in the thumb rectangle whenever you practice. Over time, proper hand position will become a habit and you can remove the tapes.