How to Hold A Guitar – Lesson #4
In this lesson, I’m going to show you a couple of the most common ways of how to hold a guitar.
The first one we’ll explore is the one that I use most often. First, sit down, and put the guitar on your right leg, with the curve of your guitar on your leg. The guitar is pretty easy to hold there.
Holding a Guitar While Sitting
I often use a guitar footstool when I’m practicing. This allows me to raise my right leg up a little bit and makes the guitar a little easier to hold. It also helps relieves a little pressure on my back. Guitar footstools are available at most music stores and online. They’re portable and easy to take with you.
I actually prefer a small piece of furniture like a cushioned footstool or step stool. They’re normally more comfortable for me because I like to practice without shoes on.
Other Ways of Holding a Guitar
Another way of Holding a guitar without a footstool is to cross your legs. It’s not great for playing for long periods of time, you’re obviously risking cutting off a little circulation.
A third possibility for a sitting position is to put the guitar on your left leg. This is a common position for classical guitar players to hold the guitar. One of the reasons is that it actually makes the bottom part of the guitar a little more accessible. It also makes the guitar very sturdy.
I find it hard to keep this position for long periods of time. This position might be particularly helpful if you’re playing something with intricate left hand picking. I encourage you to try some other different ways and see which one seems best for you.
How to Hold a Guitar Tips and Tricks
- When holding a guitar while sitting, be sure to keep the guitar body upright. There is a strong tendency to let the body lean down onto your belly in attempt to see what you’re doing. This is not a very good position to actually play in. It puts additional strain on our wrist and neck.
- Watch your posture. Be careful not to keep your neck and head angled down, staring at the fretboard. It’s okay to look at what you’re doing… but only for brief periods.
- Slumping back in your chair will cause back problems overtime. (I can vouch for that!) It might seem comfortable at first, but in the long run it will also make more challenging chords it harder to play.
The more you practice with these bad habits, the harder it is to break them over time. As important as it is to learn how to hold a guitar properly, it's just as important to develop the habit of practicing with good posture and correct form. It will pay off.
Speaking of good posture… Want to know a trick I use with students that immediately solves the problem of the guitar sliding down? Read on…
How to Solve the “Sliding Guitar” Syndrome
Here’s a tip on how to hold the guitar that helps a lot of my students with the “sliding guitar” syndrome… that's keeping your guitar upright. It has the additional benefit of making it easier to play when standing up.
This simple trick is to put a guitar strap on your guitar even when practicing while sitting.
Tighten the strap just enough so the guitar rests on your leg. No space between your leg and the guitar. The guitar should lightly rest on your leg. This makes it so the guitar really can't slump down.
Holding A Guitar While Standing
Learning how to hold a guitar while standing starts with sitting. One often looked overlooked key to playing the guitar while standing is to make sure the guitar is in the exact same place as when you're sitting.
When you practice while sitting you get accustomed to the position of the guitar. If you stand and the guitar changes position, even slightly, it will throw you off. By putting a strap on when your sitting, and adjusting it properly, the guitar stays in exactly the same place while standing. You'd be surprised at how much of a difference even one inch makes. Try it for yourself and see the difference.
In the next lesson, I’m going to show you a very effective way to get your guitar in tune. >> Lesson #5 How To Tune A Guitar
Until next time… happy practicing.
Tomas Michaud is an American born guitarist and music educator with a French Canadian heritage. He first developed the Starland Guitar System in 1982 when his 9 year old daughter asked him to teach her guitar.
Since then he's been helping thousands of students experience the joy of making music both through teaching or through his trained instructors. When he's not making guitar instruction videos he's creating beautiful music and currently has seven CDs of beautiful Contemporary Instrumental World Music including the latest top ten charting “Beauty and Fire”.
When he's not making guitar instruction videos or creating more music to record (currently 7 CDs including Beauty and Fire) he's riding his bike along the beach with his dog Marco Polo or traveling to interesting places with his lovely wife Pui.
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