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How to Hold the Guitar Properly?

Aug 22, 2008
Today we are going to touch another aspect of playing a guitar. To be as successful as possible as a guitar player, you need to have solid basics. And from my experience, the thing that causes problems for a large percentage of guitarists, is how to hold their instrument.

The proper way to hold a guitar depends on the type of instrument you are using and on the fact whether you are sitting down or standing up.

If you are playing a classical guitar (also known as the nylon string guitar or the Spanish guitar), there is an unwritten rule that you have to be sitting down. So, once you adjust yourself in a way that you feel comfortable, you should place the body of the guitar on your left thigh. Just let it rest comfortably on your leg. Now you should find the right position for the guitar neck. Hold it at the first fret (the one that is closest to the tuning pegs) and find the position that is the easiest for your left hand. If you are holding the neck too high, the muscles of your left arm will start to hurt - if you are holding it too low, the left arm will need to support some of the guitar's weight. Once you get the right position, the angle of the neck should be 25 to 30 degrees, according to your waist. Now place your right arm on the right side of the guitar body. At this point the instrument should feel completely natural in your lap and you can start playing your favourite tunes.

When it comes to the acoustic guitar, we can play it sitting down or standing up. I personally prefer the sitting position. In this case you place the guitar on your right thigh. The neck should be pretty much horizontally positioned now. Once again your left arm must not support any weight, it needs to be completely free to deal with the chords. Your right arm, placed over the body, should balance the guitar enough so that it stays completely still while you are playing. If needed, you can always push the guitar a little bit towards your body with the right arm.

Now we've come to the standing up position. The most important thing here is to place the instrument at the right height. Place it too low and you will not be able to play it precisely - place it too high and your left arm and especially your left wrist will start to ache. The right height differs a little bit among guitarists, so you will need to find it out for yourself. First you have to find the position of your left hand that does not make you ache after ten or twenty minutes of playing. Once you get there, try to get the guitar neck at the angle of 5 to 10 degrees. When you are done, your instrument should feel natural and comfortable.

Those are the basics of holding a guitar. Guitarists often adjust their style of holding an instrument a little bit with time - that is completely normal and that is generally a good thing. But at the very beginning, you need to start out right. I hope this guide helps you make your hobby even more enjoyable and I wish you a lot of success!
About the Author
Anze Sustar, who is an enthusiastic guitar player and a web developer, has been playing the guitar for 7 years. He uses the website YourChords.com, made especially for guitarists, to find the chords and tablatures. You can find it at http://www.yourchords.com.
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