In this lesson we will look into how to hold the guitar in the most effective way by keeping these points in mind Posture, Positioning, Balance.
More often than not, how you’re currently sitting and reading this is more or less the correct posture you’ll want to have while playing guitar. However, many of us already have bad posture while sitting down, and this is further amplified when playing guitar. So let’s talk about how we should sit in a manner that won’t hurt our backs.
The main thing is to sit with your chest slightly sticking outwards. You don’t want to overdo it though, because pushing your chest too far out will cause you to arch your lower back. I like to think about what a position of “dignity” looks like.
Just try it out; think about the position of your body when you’re sitting in a position of dignity. Most of you would have already assumed the proper posture when the word “dignity” flashes through your mind.
If that doesn’t help, imagine there is a ball right in your solar plexus. Now try to raise this imaginary ball up towards your skull. You should find that your spine begins to lengthen, which in turn releases any tension that may be in your back.
The main thing you want to avoid doing is to arch your lower back outwards, which is what most of us do when we want to straighten our backs. Instead of straightening our backs, we need to lengthen it.
Positioning the guitar
Using a casual style for playing guitar will allow you to sit upright and keep your guitar straight, so it's parallel to your torso. Many new players will slouch over their guitars, but you should try and avoid this at all costs as it changes the way your hands align with the guitar, and can also cause tension and fatigue throughout your body.
Another essential element to watch is the position of your strumming arm. This arm should wrap around the guitar tightly and keep the instrument close to your chest so it, and you, are unable to slouch.
You can also use a footstool to put your left foot on it, and place the guitar on your left leg. The stool works to elevate the guitar in the same way as in the casual position, but playing the guitar this way can be more difficult for some musicians.
Many players will utilise a strap when sitting in this position, which can place the guitar in a more favourable position in relation to your body. Your hands can then reach various notes more easily.If you're struggling in this positioning, consider a guitar made for smaller hands.
Balancing the guitar
Keep your head up so that your neck does not bend over too far just so you can see the fingerboard. Instead, focus on keeping your head in a position where you can’t see the top of the fretboard, rather you want to be looking down at the side where the small inlays or “side dots” are along the neck. Your shoulders need to be relaxed, not shrugged. If you have the guitar hiked up to high and you have to shrug your shoulders and flex your trapezius to accommodate the instrument, you are asking for neck and shoulder issues.
Don’t lock your knees. Keep them slightly bent. If you are looking to perform on stage, this won’t be much of an issue because you will find yourself moving around and bouncing to the music so much that you won’t have time to lock the knees.
Tips to keep in mind
Keep your back straight, lengthen and align your spine. Relax your neck and shoulders (don’t raise your shoulders). Avoid or release any tension in the arms, wrists, hands and fingers. Take a break and stretch every now and then if you’re playing for an extended amount of time. If you feel strain or pain take a rest and let your body heal. Make sure you eat healthy, sleep well and exercise regularly. These three pointers are of great influence to your daily practice. Be aware and listen to your body.