Learning to accommodate a big guitar

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by Jim Soloway, Aug 31, 2014.

  1. Jim Soloway

    Jim Soloway Member

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    I had Heritage build me a custom arch top several months ago. I loved the guitar but it ended up causing me some serious back pain. My reflex response was to sell it but that didn't work out so now I'm trying to accommodate it by changing to a healthier playing position. Her's a look at the before and after. So far so good.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Toquilu

    Toquilu Member

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    Being hunched over like that with bad posture would hurt anyone's back no matter how big or small the guitar is/was. I have a lot of problems from pain because of a head on collision I was in about 11 months ago. If I'm just practicing at home I'll lean back in my recliner and bring my knees up by pulling my feet up on the chair with me and lean back when I play. I have to stretch every few minutes to keep my knees from hurting, but it keeps my back and neck from hurting.
     
  3. matte

    matte Senior Member

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    my body.
    i went through the same issue with my scharpach.


    [​IMG]

    it's enormous!

    i adopted for sitarist posture.

     
  4. Pitar

    Pitar Member

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    I left big guitars behind some time ago in favor of the concert and OM sizes. Plus, I don't think there's a more uncomfortable guitar to play than the one you're playing with. I just never could get comfortable with one of those.
     
  5. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Supporting Member

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    What happens if you leave your arms/hands in position like pic1 but straighten your back like pic2?
     
  6. cubistguitar

    cubistguitar Member

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    I think you may need to accommodate some more. That is to say, when I am tired or have a difficult passage, I go back to my classical guitar position. They strive to relax all tension and play guitar. Of course you use a strap and play with different techniques, but try the basic pose. Move the lower bout between your legs, this should allow your right arm to lower some more and the left come up just a bit, then your shoulders would be even. Raise the neck even closer to your head if necessary. It is a big move from your original position, but your were going to have to start opiates to keep that position for much longer anyway. Course all this is experimentation, but the classical position or something nearer that is pretty good.
     
  7. Jim Soloway

    Jim Soloway Member

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    I can't. the whole reason I used the position in photo 1 was so I could get my hands in those positions. That's pretty much much the hand positions that I've been using on plank guitars for the last few decades but I'm now three days into these adjustments and so far it's going very well. No pain at all and with a few minor exceptions, I feel like I'm playing pretty well.
     
  8. Flyin' Brian

    Flyin' Brian Member

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    Jim I'm happy to hear that you're hanging onto that beautiful guitar and that you're getting past the pain issues. Maybe there's a lesson there in that you couldn't sell it.
     
  9. Jim Soloway

    Jim Soloway Member

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    There's actually a bunch of lessons. The first is that I shouldn't be quite so arrogant. I intentional spec'ed our a guitar that wouldn't be quite right for anyone other than me and then I was surprised when no one wanted to buy it. The second is that I should listen to my first instinct more. My original plan was to get a reduced body depth like your Sweet 16 and over the course of a weekend I talked myself out of it and into the full depth. I now think this guitar is going to work out but I still think I'd have been better off with my origin idea of the shallower body.
     
  10. old goat

    old goat Member

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    Sounds like you're doing ok now but if not seems like classical position would be the next thing to try. (I watched a master class segovia gave on public TV years ago. He was very offended that the one female player in the group held the guitar the way the men did. He wanted her knees crossed, even though she had on a floor length dress. Actually I think he was offended that she was female. And the only comment he had for my father's teacher who was in the class was that an American shouldn't try to play a Spanish piece.)
     
  11. Tone Loco

    Tone Loco Silver Supporting Member

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    You might also try letting out the guitar strap some. If you look at a lot of the guys who play the real big box guitars like an L5 or super 400 it's resting pretty far out on the thigh. It will change the angle of the left hand bringing it back in toward your torso some but getting your right shoulder and bicep down makes things a lot easier on the right hand.

    Another thing to try is strapping it like Wes Montgomery, with the strap going around the head stock not to a pin at the base of the neck. Really changes the feel, its very stable. Cheap and easy to try, just need a piece of rawhide or string. Good luck.
     
  12. Jim Soloway

    Jim Soloway Member

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    That's to all for the suggestions. I actually tried a number of these and before I settled in with the short strap with the guitar pretty much in the position in the photo. I've been paying the guitar like this for a week now and playing a lot and so far there's no sign of back pain at all and I seem to be adjusting to the hand positions with out too much trouble.

    And FWIW, here's a short clip that I recorded yesterday with the guitar in this position. It think it's been worth making a few adjustments.

    [soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/jim-soloway/focusrite-scarlett-2i2-test2b-h575-hb-only[/soundcloud]
     

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