Have You Wondered How To Hold a Guitar?

The Best Free Internet Guitar Lesson About How To Hold A Guitar.

Figuring this out is a real problem for many beginning guitarists. Is one way better than the other?

The On-The-Knee Approach

There are a couple of ways of looking at this. Some people feel that resting the guitar on the right leg is how to hold a guitar. This is a real stable position in most cases. In fact, if you ever see any of the guitar instruction books from the '50's and 60's you'll find that that's the suggested way of doing it. A lot of the guys that wrote those books played in big bands using large bodied arch-top guitars. The guitars were so large that resting it on the knee was the only comfortable way to hold them.

There are some questions to consider if you use this method. Thefirst question is does the neck of the guitar rest comfortably in your hand? Do you have to move the guitar around to play difficult chords? Is your left hand having to support the weight of the guitar? If the answer to any of these questions is "yes", then this may not be how to hold a guitar for you.

For this method of holding the guitar to work, the guitar itself has to be a certain size. To make it more confusing, the guitar has to be a certain size in relation to your physical size and shape.

Here's what I mean. If the guitar is too large it will slip around on your lap and will be hard to hold. If you're having to wrestle with holding the guitar you can't put your full attention on playing the guitar.

The opposite side of the coin is if the guitar is too small. Here's an example. Let's say you're 6 feet tall and you're playing a solid body guitar like a Strat or Les Paul. The height of these guitars is so short that you'll end up hunched over the guitar. This can cause lower back problems and will possibly slip and be difficult to hold.

How do you avoid these problems?

The Classical Approach

Classical guitarists are taught how to hold a guitar from the beginning. For them, how to hold a guitar means they put their left foot on a footstool and rest the guitar on the left thigh. The most popular types of footstools can be adjusted in height.

Classical guitarists will also use a small cushion between the guitar and their thigh to bring the guitar up to the proper position.

Something that has come out in the last few years is a small support that mounts on the guitar side itself. Suction cups are normally used to attach it to the guitar. This support will hold the guitar in the proper position for the guitarist.

Like anything else, there are pros and cons to all of these methods. The biggest problem for me is that they all require that you play while seated. This may be perfectly O.K. in most situations. The problem comes in if you have to play standing.

Suddenly all of the technique that you've developed while sitting goes out the window. This is especially true if you play a variety of styles.

Straps Are the Solution

Using a guitar strap is one of the best ways to hold a guitar. Adjust the strap so that the guitar will be in the same position standing or seated. Now you won't have to make any changes in technique. It also means that you don't have to hold the guitar in position with your left hand. This makes it easier to play.

Using a strap doesn't always work. If the player has neck or back problems, this might make it worse. It is also sometimes a problem if a large guitar like a dreadnought is too high on the chest. Some players develop pain in their right shoulder from trying to reach over the guitar. They need to either lower the strap or get a smaller guitar.

For ideas of what to look for in a guitar strap, look at the page about acoustic guitar straps. How to hold a guitar is a very personal question. It's up to each player to decide what's best for them.

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