How to hold and position the guitar(guitar posture)
Classical guitar is one of toughest instruments to learn and play properly. At the same time, it is very rewarding to play the beautiful pieces and explore the warm tones of the instrument.
When it comes to learning to play the guitar, the first thing you need to know is how to hold and position the guitar. Your whole guitar learning journey will be a lot easier if you can hold the guitar perfectly.
This is why in this blog, I will talk and give some examples of the best practice when it comes to the proper guitar posture.
Below are 6 best practices on How to hold and position the guitar, to get more guitar skills, learn the 10 steps to take your skill to the next level.
I. Sitting position
Classical guitar sitting position is all about relaxing to practice the instrument hour after hour. Having a better sitting position will help you to play the guitar effortlessly for a long time.
How to sit while holding the guitar
To maintain the correct sitting position, first sit on a chair without holding the guitar. The chair should be the perfect height so that your knees nearly create a 90 degree angle.
It shouldn’t be too high or too low, following that, place both feet flat on the ground, about wide-hip apart however for more best practices go on YouTube and there’s a lot of video teaching just that.
Keep your neck, spine, and head straight. This position will balance your upper body and let you play the guitar effortlessly.
There are some common points of reference on your body to hold the guitar correctly. They are your neck, shoulder blades, Elbows, hips and feets.
Try to keep your shoulders level, keep your hips relaxed and give yourself space to move along with the music.
The importance of how to hold and position the guitar
Maintaining the correct posture and technique is the key to playing the guitar perfectly.
The correct posture provides flexibility and reduces stress in the shoulder and muscles and allows the wrist to maintain its natural curvature.
As a result, you will feel less tension on your hands and prevent arm fatigues in the long run.
II. Holding the guitar
To create the best sounds, you not only need to master chords and notes but also how to hold the guitar properly. As the guitar is a beautiful instrument, you need to hold it properly.
There are four contact points of your body to hold the guitar.
- Very lightly on the chest
- On the right forearm in front of the elbow
- On the right thigh
- On the left thigh
Bend the guitar body like the sound hole is pointed in an upward direction, while sitting in position, holding the guitar will create a triangular gap between your body and the instrument.
When looking down at the guitar, your nose should be positioned between the 12th fret and the soundhole.
How to position the guitar on your leg
If you look at the picture above of “holding the guitar”, the picture shows the posture in general, however I will talk about the benefit and give you more detail about your leg position.
The lower upper part of the guitar body should be placed over your right thigh, Also your right leg must have support using a footstool to reach a certain height.
Your right thigh will carry most of the weight of the guitar.
Where on the left thigh the guitar will gently touch the lower bout of the guitar for support.
There are also various attachable support that comes with different instructions as well, if you use attachable support instead of a footstool, place it on your left thigh.
The importance of proper hand and finger positioning
Your hands and fingers are the most active part of your body when you are playing guitar, maintaining perfect hand position will develop your skills and boost your confidence consistently.
Fingerpicking can be tricky and challenging, bad habits that reduce the picking hand’s effectiveness, such as poor hand positioning, can impede development and make fingerpicking more difficult.
Relax your wrist and hand while placing your right elbow on the side of the instrument.
Playing conventional techniques, such as the arpeggios and tremolos created especially for the classical guitar, will be more challenging if you use excessive pressure on your right hand.
Your left thumb supports your left hand’s four fingers from behind the neck while they press down on the strings from above the fingerboard.
With your fingertip, press the string down directly behind the fret while keeping your fingers perpendicular to the fingerboard.
Your arms should stretch away from your body equally. For instance, even when your right arm is close to your torso, you shouldn’t feel the need to extend your left arm far.
The wrists should be relaxed and almost straight. However, To reach the strings the right hand can slightly bend.
III. Positioning the guitar neck
The headstock should be at or above eye level. This varies on the player and is approximate due to the numerous variables.
Sometimes, modern guitarists and those using guitar supports hold the instrument above eye level.
How to angle the neck of the guitar
The neck is angled upward in the standard seated position. The entire fretboard is easily accessible when the guitar’s neck is parallel to the player’s body, which also improves guitar posture.
The neck of the guitar is substantially more stable when playing in the traditional sitting position as opposed to when it is held in the casual position.
The importance of proper neck angle for comfort and sound
Classical guitar is an acoustic instrument. Placing the soundhole at an upper angle will allow the tones to spread throughout the space more swiftly.
IV. Supporting the guitar
The guitar is usually played using a footstool to raise the height of your left leg. Also, many guitarists like to use a support that you need to place over your left height to angle the guitar at your desired position.
The Footstool and the use of support both are very important tools to maintain the correct posture for the guitar. The footstool is the most traditional use but it can raise back pain for some people as your left leg is placed at a height from the ground.
Whereas, the support for the guitar aligns both your legs on the ground which is much more comfortable to use.
Options for supporting the guitar
The typical option is the foot stool. Your left foot is put on top of the foot stool after it has been adjusted to the proper height.
By doing that, the instrument is raised up and its angle is altered. You’ll see that the neck will be at an angle of roughly 45 degrees, as opposed to being parallel to the floor.
Nowadays, a lot of guitarists choose to use guitar support rather than the customary footstool. The identical tasks of elevating the guitar and adjusting the angle are accomplished by guitar support, which ties to the side of the instrument.
The biggest advantage of guitar support is that it enables you to maintain optimum back health by keeping both feet on the ground.
V. Left-handed players
For left-handed classical guitarists, the options are quite identical when it comes to guitar holding position except transposing the rules from left hand to left-right hand and left leg to right leg.
Instead of placing the footstool to heighten the left leg you will use it on your right leg. In case of guitar support, place it over your right thigh.
The hand position will also shift from left hand to right hand and right hand to left hand.
VI. Practicing proper positioning
For beginners, practicing the proper classical guitar holding method is not easy. So, the best solution is to start by practicing for a short amount of time in the beginning.
But keep in mind that, whenever you are playing try to maintain the correct sitting position at all times.
The first few days or weeks might be very uncomfortable. But in the long run, eventually, you will discover the benefits of playing your guitar with a proper holding position.
Also, there are guitarists who used to play acoustic or electric guitar before but are new in classical guitar. You may already know a lot about guitar playing but when it comes to classical guitar you must play it in a proper sitting position.
Tips for practicing and maintaining proper positioning
● Sit on the chair’s front edge.
● Start with slow practice concentrating on the proper sitting position.
● Keep practicing the sitting position until you become comfortable.
● Experiment with footstool and guitar support separately to find out the most suitable one for you.
● By maintaining proper alignment of your head, neck, and spine, you can balance yourself.
Common mistakes to avoid
● Your head and spine should be in alignment as you sit up straight. Avoid leaning to the left or right.
● The angle of the guitar or guitar neck is 45 degrees or higher.
● The guitar’s headstock should be roughly at eye level. Adjust the footstool or support’s height to get the headstock at or above eye level.
● The footstool is used to raise the height of the left foot, and the right foot must stay flat on the floor. Both feet must be flat on the ground if you use a guitar support.
● Align your shoulders while unwinding. Make sure neither shoulder is raised higher than the other.
Although holding the classical guitar could feel uneasy at first, sticking with it will eventually increase your playing’s effectiveness greatly.
Additionally, it’s crucial that you use the particular part of your body that is supposed to be used for maintaining proper posture.
Your guitar playing will become more effective as you consolidate this method.