Accidental bad habit

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by tallstratfan, Apr 26, 2015.

  1. tallstratfan

    tallstratfan Member

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    Lately I've spent all my time practicing while sitting in a chair. Now when I stand up to play again I have to adjust my guitar straps so the guitar is in that same position. I used to hold the top of the guitar around my belt line. Should I always practice standing from now on? Thanks
     
  2. guitarjazz

    guitarjazz Member

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    At ease, private. You'll do plenty of both in your guitar life.
     
  3. JonR

    JonR Member

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    What's wrong with having the guitar in the same position as when seated? That's an ideal position.
    Top of the guitar around the belt line may look cool, but makes it more difficult to play anything tricky. (Mind you, you can always angle the neck up more, which will put your left hand in a better position.)
    But I wouldn't be too prescriptive. Use common sense. If you really want (or need) to play with the guitar low when standing, all the time, then that's how you need practise. But experiment with strap lengths until you find a position where everything feels easiest. The hell with fashion!
     
  4. stevel

    stevel Member

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    If you're gigging regularly, it can be beneficial to practice the way you play, primarily for endurance reasons. I know if I practice sitting (or laying on the couch, which happens) and not standing, when I get to a gig and have to stand for 2 1.5 hour stretches, my back lets me know by the end of the first 1.5 hour block!

    Personally, my guitar's position is a compromise - slung low looked cool when I was 13, and the left hand position was great in the first positions - but high on the neck and the right hand were uncomfortable. Wearing it really high was great for the right hand (but not for strumming) and high fretting, but open position stuff was uncomfortable. Basically, I found that when sitting on a stool, with the guitar's waist on my right thigh, propped on on the stool rung, was the best compromise. So I adjusted my strap so that it was just snug sitting like that, so when I stood the guitar remained in the same relative position. Essentially, it means when I'm standing, the guitar is somewhat close to a "classical" position (45 degrees propped on elevated left thigh) but with ore flexibility and range of movement (thus I can shift into "more classical" or "more folksy" positions depending on what I'm playing).

    If you're tall as your handle suggests, you might naturally need to have it lower just so your limbs fall into the right place. So don't be afraid to experiment. There's no right or wrong here, only what makes it easiest for you to realize the music you're trying to make.
     
  5. tallstratfan

    tallstratfan Member

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    Well I stopped doing P&W gigs, and went back to the well. Started jazz lessons using the Real Book with a good instructor. A year later I have a opportunity to gig again. So, now the old position just feels awkward. Felt like a 5 year old in beginning strings. I'm 6'-8" for the record. I notice George Harrison held his guitar higher than most, Of course I don't hold a candle to that legend.
     
  6. derekd

    derekd Supporting Member

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    Agreed.

    Every time I see players who have their guitars hanging past their belts, it screams repetitive motion injury to me. If they keep after it, I wonder how such terrible ergonomics will equate to hand and wrist problems over time.

    I was taught to play standing with the guitar in the same position as sitting, and always have your strap on so it does the work of holding your neck up rather than your left arm. This way, it is not pulling double duty.

    My Forshage Orion sits on my right leg with the neck angle in classical position without having to have a foot stool. Along with a Klein and a few others, they are the exception.
     
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  7. guitarjazz

    guitarjazz Member

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    There was a great article in Guitar Player a while back ( no pun) regarding posture.
     
  8. donnyjaguar

    donnyjaguar Member

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    How the hell did Jimmy Page play with his guitar at his knees? I guess we're all built different...
     
  9. Sigmund Floyd

    Sigmund Floyd Supporting Member

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    imo: electric best played standing up, acoustic sitting down. Tomo is strong on this... and use the amp volume...
     
  10. JonR

    JonR Member

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    Well, JP is quite a small guy. Maybe his hands reach his knees better than tall guys'...:D

    But if you watch him, he tends to either crouch or raise the neck for anything fancy, bringing his left elbow to a right angle so his left wrist is in a better position. Same as Slash or Keef does.

    And of course his guitar wasn't literally at his knees anyway ;) (not in the videos I've seen). I was low-ish, but usually on his thigh.
     
  11. T Dizz

    T Dizz Member

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    I play with a pretty long strap and do the Slash thing when I need to do the widdly-widdly.
    [​IMG]
     
  12. Bluesful

    Bluesful Supporting Member

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    It just looks so uncomfortable. I saw the Stones play last year and Keith was the same. Each to their own I suppose, but I can't play anything with a guitar slung that low.

    To the OP I typically practice sitting down as well and also find it difficult when switching to paying standing up. Like you, for me it is also a symptom of not playing in a band anymore.
     
  13. DNW

    DNW Member

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    Personally I went the other way. I found I played better sitting down than standing, so I raised my guitar up to about where it is when I'm sitting down to practise. That would have been back in my teens, and over the years since it's gone higher, so now when I sit down with the strap on the guitar doesn't even rest on my legs. I have to modify any straps I buy so they'll go short enough.

    Somewhere along the way I started thinking about the ergonomics and mechanics of playing 'n' whatnot, and that all went along with what I was doing anyway... with the guitar higher up I'm not bending my wrist at strange angles, I have better left hand reach, I don't have to support the neck, the positioning works better for my right hand technique, etc.
     
  14. JonR

    JonR Member

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    Yes, but Keith doesn't exactly play much, does he?

    And actually he doesn't wear it that low:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jNHGC85qMV4
    (good shots around 23:00)
    The guitar body is against his upper thigh - lower than it would be if seated, of course, but he holds the neck quite high; so his fret arm elbow is always around 90 degrees - albeit usually a little wider than optimum. But then, as I say, he's hardly playing anything complicated most of the time.... Very few barre chords in evidence (thumb on 6th - when he's actually playing a guitar with a 6th string that is). Anything trickier, you'll see him raise the neck.

    (Nice to see a bunch of old-age pensioners enjoying themselves, ain't it? A bit of a racket, but at least it keeps them off the streets...:D)
     

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