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  • Writer's pictureАлександр Васильев

Classic Posture And Hand Placement When Playing The Guitar

Updated: Dec 4, 2023

Learning to hold an instrument so that you don’t have to visit an osteopath.

Usually, guitar played while sitting on a chair, but you can play the guitar not only while sitting, but also while standing. Exotic options, such as laying on a sofa or standing with an instrument thrown behind your back, have a right to life, but I recommend leaving them for later.

General Remarks

Using any posture, you must strive for the absence of tightness, unnecessary tension in the fingers, hands, forearms, shoulders, neck and body.

Distortions in the shoulders and neck, incorrect position of the hands quickly lead to fatigue and the inability to produce a sound with a beautiful, clear timbre.

Classic Posture

The most comfortable, basic posture.

The classic posture is the one which always used to get acquainted with how to hold a guitar and how to produce sound..

  • You need to sit on the chair shallowly, without leaning on its back;

  • the guitarist's back is straight;

  • the shoulder line is horizontal;

  • the left leg is raised (any object will do, but the best choice is to use special foot stool — they are adjustable in height, fold conveniently for transportation and are inexpensive) by 4–10 in;

  • the guitar lies with its body notch on the left lap.

With a classic posture, the guitar is fixed at four points:

  1. from below, the guitar body rests on the musician’s left lap;

  2. on the right, the guitar body rests on the musician’s right lap;

  3. at the back, the guitar body rests against the musician’s body;

  4. the musician's right hand lies with the forearm on the guitar's body from above.

Right hand position

The forearm of the right hand, near the elbow, rests on the edge of the guitar body. The forearm-hand-phalanx line looks like a smooth arch.

Left hand position

The shoulder of the left arm is freely lowered down to the elbow, without being pressed against the body or protruding to the side. The forearm–hand–phalanx line looks like a smooth arch.

Particular attention should be paid to the position of the left hand:

  • the thumb is located opposite the rest (does not “hug” the guitar neck, protruding from above and does not move to the side);

  • the line of the palm is parallel to the fingerboard;

  • the first phalanges of the fingers clamp the strings in a position as close as possible to perpendicular to the plane of the fingerboard, so as not to jam the adjacent strings.

To summarize the above tips regarding the classic posture, watch the video which also compares it to the acoustic/folk guitar position.

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