3 October, 2015
How to Hold your Guitar for Dummies!
One of the most important things to learn before you even take a guitar lesson is how you are going to hold your guitar.
If you are going to be playing out there;
- Will you be standing up with a microphone?
- Will you be sitting down?
- Will you be sitting around jamming with your friends?
Before you start getting out there busking your way round the world or standing up in front of a local audience you need to know that you can stand up and play but in the absolute beginning it is probably better to sit.
When you are ready to stand on your own two feet, a guitar strap would be very useful. Your teacher can help you to decide when you are ready.
So for now, here are two ways of holding your guitar
Are you sitting comfortably?
Number One, Sitting
Start with your chair
- Hard back
- Or no back i.e. a stool
- Back straight
- No arms, i.e. no armchairs, sofas….
- Low E string (largest string) should be pointing upwards
- Your dominant hand is your “strumming hand”
- Your non dominant hand is your “fretting hand”
- Place the base of the guitar on your left thigh
- Keep your back straight
- Your other leg should be back slightly and your guitar will sit between
- You should be able to let go and let it sit there all on its own if you have balanced correctly
The neck of your guitar should be at a 45 degree angle (classical style)
N.B. Some teachers will recommend a completely different way of holding your guitar, a good guitar teacher should be patient, not like a Sensei in a Dojo, it may be appropriate to shout at pupils in martial arts but not so in a music lesson….unless you like that sort of discipline
The only similarity with martial arts and learning the guitar is the dedication to train regularly!
Oh and perhaps learn to relax as well, that is another tip from your martial arts.
- The less you actually hold your guitar the easier it will be to play
- Balancing the neck
- You need to learn to keep your little finger out of the way
- Again, your fretting hand should not have to hold the neck
- If you have your guitar balanced correctly you fretting hand will be nice and relaxed ready to strike some chords
- Keep your back straight; remember balancing books on your head!
- Avoid slouching so you can the frets, avoid cheating
- Keep your guitar perpendicular to the ground
That’s it for method 1!
Are you ready to stand up and take some credit?
Number 2 Standing up
- Look for a decent leather or cloth adjustable strap
- Make sure your guitar has at least one strap peg
- You can get one installed in your local guitar shop
- Place your strap over your fretting shoulder
- Adjust the strap so it feels comfortable holding your guitar
- There is no right and wrong way for the position of your strap/guitar
- You just need to find what is right for you
So now you know
Deciding how you are going to play and your reason for playing will help you decide how to practice.
If you know you want to join the latest girl/ band, boy band, then you will need to practice standing up, telling jokes, singing and dancing.
Well maybe not all of that, but there is no point in being lazy, if you are going to practice every day there is not much point in learning to play on your guitar stool if you are going to audition standing up!
If you are going to play with your local folk muso’s who like nothing more than sitting around a big wooden table with their various stringed and percussion instruments there is not much point in learning to play in a standing position either.
These are all things your teacher will ask you about, standing up, sitting down, left handed or right handed?
If your teacher doesn’t ask you then perhaps you should look for another teacher.
Have you bought a guitar yet? No?
Check this website for the best electric guitars, at the moment they run some discounts so grab it while it’s hot!