Jump to content
Linders

Correct position while playing

Recommended Posts

Hello!  I have been playing a short time and want to be sure I learn to position myself correctly to avoid injury.  Today I noticed (while working on open chords) that my left forearm started to bother me.  I don't have arthritis or other issues, but I am an older beginner. I'm still at the stage where I probably press with more force on the strings than might be necessary. Is some discomfort normal at first until the muscles in the hand and arm develop? My practice sessions can be anywhere from a half hour to an hour, but I am not being "intense" the entire time. I'm still trying different chairs, etc. to see what is going to work best.  Thank you in advance for any advice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I usually play standing up. In my experience it's a lot easier to get a good posture as well as neck angle (~45deg.) that way.

We don't need more reasons to sit down anyways, it's bad for your health. :)

You'll need a strap though.

Edited by Magnit
  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I play standing. I use a strap standing or seated.

Yes, you are probably pressing too hard. Raise the neck position. Play with a relaxed motion. As you become more advanced you will see how easy some of the transitions between chords. 

You will always feel some minor discomfort. If it hurts then stop for a while. 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you both for taking the time to respond. It does seem that part of the problem stems from keeping the guitar in place, so I will try using a strap to tame the beast and remove that issue from the equation. I wish I could stand for longer periods, but unfortunately cannot.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is worth checking that your wrist is always straight.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

@Linders I play with a strap standing or sitting.. if I'm sitting and want to stand it can without stopping playing and same if I'm standing I can sit. but my guitar is "on tight" as they say which is mid chest level.. my arms are not long enough to have a long strap and play with the guitar at my knees like Slash does.

(and we know who is more cooler,, me or Slash)

second.. do not use a chair with arms, like an office chair.. some circumstances the arms of the chair will get in your way.

if you do have an office chair you might want to remove it's arms, if you're on a couch, you'll need to move to the edge and might need a slight twist sideways to get the guitar to drop to a good playing position. if you're reclining back on the couch.. it might be a bit tough in such a position if you're not used to it.

another problem that beginners have is trying to hold the guitar steady by the neck; and since the fretting hand is constantly moving so will feel the guitar.

what you might find is the forearm of the strumming/picking hand holds the body of the guitar to your chest/stomach and only the picking hand needs to move  

next strap location , I find if I have to tie the guitar strap off at the top of the neck (and the other is on the strap button at the end) even I fight the guitar from sliding around back . I found the best position for strap buttons is either at the top of the horn (aka Strat or Les Paul location) or at the front of the neck joint..

ES style guitars like Gibson's ES335 or my Epiphone Sheraton and Gibson SG has the strap button at the base of the neck pointing backwards.. this just makes the guitar want to flop forwards. so that's a different factor 

so to is a Ovation style guitar with those fiberglass bowled backs slide all over the place

we guitarists are resourceful though, if we want something badly enough we learn to play around with positioning and such to make it work

look at classical players , hardly ever play with a strap. guitar neck pointed to the sky at all times

remember there is no right or wrong. your body make up is different than ours to a certain extent and we had to find what's comfortable for us.

some use straps all the time like me, some hardly every use a strap like NeilES335,

Slash has his guitar at his knees, Liona Boyd has her guitar pointing to the ceiling. Roy Clark had his guitar high up his chest.. we make it work. 

Edited by Eracer_Team-DougH
  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

@Eracer_Team-DougH I play acoustic guitar;  I will try the strap I bought earlier and hope that relieves my slippin' and slidin' guitar while watching instructional DVDs. 

Another thing contributing to the struggle is not having found the right chair to practice in yet. My other half recently bought a Taylor GS Mini (which I suspect will be played more by me than him...so far, that is the case) and I am comfortable with the Mini while sitting on the sofa. It's smaller than my OM or GA -and lighter.  But - I think the sofa location is helpful as well.   Until I figure it out (or get a special chair,) it sounds like the strap is a solution.  I'm doing well with my Learn & Master Course and would like to play a little longer occasionally. 

Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and suggestions.  P.S.  I only recognize Roy Clark, so I guess that dates me considerably. :)

Edited by Linders

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Eracer_Team-DougH said:

@Linders I play with a strap standing or sitting.. if I'm sitting and want to stand it can without stopping playing and same if I'm standing I can sit. but my guitar is "on tight" as they say which is mid chest level.. my arms are not long enough to have a long strap and play with the guitar at my knees like Slash does.

(and we know who is more cooler,, me or Slash)

second.. do not use a chair with arms, like an office chair.. some circumstances the arms of the chair will get in your way.

if you do have an office chair you might want to remove it's arms, if you're on a couch, you'll need to move to the edge and might need a slight twist sideways to get the guitar to drop to a good playing position. if you're reclining back on the couch.. it might be a bit tough in such a position if you're not used to it.

another problem that beginners have is trying to hold the guitar steady by the neck; and since the fretting hand is constantly moving so will feel the guitar.

what you might find is the forearm of the strumming/picking hand holds the body of the guitar to your chest/stomach and only the picking hand needs to move  

next strap location , I find if I have to tie the guitar strap off at the top of the neck (and the other is on the strap button at the end) even I fight the guitar from sliding around back . I found the best position for strap buttons is either at the top of the horn (aka Strat or Les Paul location) or at the front of the neck joint..

ES style guitars like Gibson's ES335 or my Epiphone Sheraton and Gibson SG has the strap button at the base of the neck pointing backwards.. this just makes the guitar want to flop forwards. so that's a different factor 

so to is a Ovation style guitar with those fiberglass bowled backs slide all over the place

we guitarists are resourceful though, if we want something badly enough we learn to play around with positioning and such to make it work

look at classical players , hardly ever play with a strap. guitar neck pointed to the sky at all times

remember there is no right or wrong. your body make up is different than ours to a certain extent and we had to find what's comfortable for us.

some use straps all the time like me, some hardly every use a strap like NeilES335,

Slash has his guitar at his knees, Liona Boyd has her guitar pointing to the ceiling. Roy Clark had his guitar high up his chest.. we make it work. 

Actually ,  I am a strap convert. I use a strap with all my guitars now, seated (mostly)and standing.  I found it provides more stability and allows memore freedom of movement. I dont have to worry about holding the guitar in place.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, NeilES335 said:

Actually ,  I am a strap convert. I use a strap with all my guitars now, seated (mostly)and standing.  I found it provides more stability and allows memore freedom of movement. I dont have to worry about holding the guitar in place.

@NeilS335 - I have been playing piano for 12 years (I started quite late in Life, there, as well).  It goes without saying that  despite other challenges the piano presents, I haven't had to worry about the instrument moving on me!

 

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I started using a strap last week. It makes a big difference!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A good chair makes a difference. I looked at the expensive guitar seats, but I wound up buying an inexpensive office chair from Staples which has arms that go up. It works pretty well. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is the chair I use. It’s actually my home office chair, but with the foot ring it makes a great guitar chair as well.

https://www.dpj.se/ergonomiska-kontorsstolar/2746-100479-kontorsstol-hag-capisco-8106.html#/34-hag_liftomat-150_mm/38-hag_fotring-ja/44-xtreme_tyg-svart_exr009/45-hag_underrede-silver

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Magnit- That is an interesting design.  (Is it comfortable?) Unfortunately, I am in the United States.

@Randy120 I hope to be able to find something suitable at a yard sale...or Facebook Marketplace. I tried an adjustable stool that we have in the house, but because it's on wheels, it was too squirrely for me. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
On 6/10/2020 at 1:02 AM, Linders said:

@Magnit- That is an interesting design.  (Is it comfortable?) Unfortunately, I am in the United States.

The design encourages a healthier more varied seated position. I wouldn't say it's "comfortable" in the way a leather couch can be. It's to avoid injuries associated with working sitting down year after year. I'm sure there are alternatives in the states as well. My point was that you'll probably want a chair with a "foot rest" if you're going to play guitar sitting down. Either as a part of the chair or just buy a foot rest and put it in on the floor. Or sit down on the floor like Justin Sandercoe does. That works as well as long as your body allows it.

Edited by Magnit

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Chatbox

    You don't have permission to chat.
    Load More

About us

Guitar Gathering is a community of guitar lovers of all types and skill levels.  This is a place of learning, support and encouragement.  We are unapologetically positive.

If you've come here to gripe, demean others or talk politics then this isn't the place for you.

But if you've come to talk guitars, ask questions and learn from professionals and guitar learners from all over the world then come on in!

Get in touch

Follow us

facebook feed

Recent tweets

×
×
  • Create New...