Are your shoulders, neck, back or fingers getting tense after a while during your guitar practice? A lot of guitar players get tense during their practice. It is very important, that your neck, shoulders, forearms and fingers are loose all the time while you play. You will be able to practice for longer and avoid unnecessary pain or long term issues like shoulder- or back problems, if you invest some time into a proper posture during your guitar routine right from the beginning. So what should you be aware of?
1. Appropriate Sitting Position
The right seating position is the starting point for efficient and painless guitar playing. Get a chair, sit down and slide forward as far as possible so that it is not longer possible to lean against the backrest of the chair. Small stools should be avoided. It is important that you take a chair that is high enough to place your legs parallel to the ground.
2. Proper Posture
If you do not take the right posture as well, a correct sitting position is not going to help you. So what does a proper posture look like? You simply have to sit straight! Just like sitting on the breakfast table. The back is straight, the chest is slightly outstretched and the shoulders should hang loose by the side of your body. The upper body is held straight without any rotation to the side.
CAUTION: Avoid making a hunchback to see your fingers better on the fretboard of your guitar. A small turn of your head should be enough to get a complete and full overview of your entire fretboard. You can also place a small footstool under your left foot. This will raise your left thigh slightly and helps you get better access to your guitar without leaning forward.
3. Right Foot Position
A very common mistake most guitarists make is that they place their guitar on the right thigh - assuming that they are right-handed. That is NOT the right position to place your guitar. If you are a right-handed, you should always place your guitar on your left thigh, and if you are left-handed, on the right one. Why is that so critical? There are many reasons. The most important one is, that it will make it much easier for you to play in a standing position in the future. Why so? Give it a try and you will notice that the position of your guitar does not change, regardeless of whether you sit or stand. The only difference is that your guitar strap holds your guitar in front of your body and not your thigh – assuming that you adjusted your guitar strap correctly.
4. Correct Adjustment Of Your Guitar Strap
How do I adjust my guitar strap to practice standing upright? This is very easy to do. Place your guitar on your left thigh, take your guitar strap and adjust the height to a level where your guitar touches your thigh slightly. Attatch your strap to your guitar and stand up. What you will notice is that your guitar is in the same position, sitting or standing. That is how you verify if you adjusted your strap correctly.
As you can see, it is absolutely critical that you start practicing in a correct seated position right from the beginning, in order to avoid unnecessary long-term damage and to save a lot of time in the future without having to relearn everything again once you start playing standing up.
About the Author: Matthias Hornstein is a guitar teacher in Fürstenfeldbruck, Germany. If you would like to take guitar lessons with him and you live around the greater area of Munich, contact him at www.gitarrenunterricht-ffb.de
Avoiding Long-Term Damage: The Right Posture For Guitar Playing