The Woodshed

Sitting position

1

After decades of playing guitar, I've suddenly realized the whole idea of how to play seated with an electric guitar is a mystifying subject. When I discuss it with friends they realize they've encountered the same thing and chuckle. (I'm left-handed but i'll describe in righty terms).

Ok, if you sit the with the guitar on your right thigh, many guitars are extremely boaty unless your LH thumb is hanging' over neck whole time. To preface I'm not in either camp of fretting hand thumb behind the neck, peaking out or wrapped around. I do all three depending on the style from blues and rock to jazz and classical. The fretting hand thumb has all kinds of roles. But yeah, in classical pieces I keep it out of view. When you thumb is not wrapped around though, the guitar needs to be supported well by your arms and legs----unless it is hanging from a really high strap. With many of my electrics I like to sit with a foot stool and classical position. It looks a tad square but I don't care. My Gretsch 6120 is the best feeling for any combo of sitting. It is equally comfortable on the right thigh, left thigh, with a tight strap, or standing up.

Anyway just wondering if folks have pondered this!

2

I've never given it any thought.

3

Ahhhh, the crossed legs! Could never do that for more than ten minutes. Looks classy though.

4

I'm a righty and usually have the guitar sitting on my right leg. An instructor showed be the "correct" way is to have it on the left leg; the benefit being the additional space/freedom it allows your fretting arm. I see what he meant but naturally revert back to old habits.

5

I'm a righty and usually have the guitar sitting on my right leg. An instructor showed be the "correct" way is to have it on the left leg; the benefit being the additional space/freedom it allows your fretting arm. I see what he meant but naturally revert back to old habits.

– Baba Joe

My arms are too short to go left-leg.

6

Nowadays I just generally park my butt on a stool (almost standing) and use a strap, so I can stand when I need to sing without it being a big transition.

7

What bothers me is that, when lying on my back playing (or reclining against an embroidered bolster on a damask divan), the weight of the neck and my fretting hand always pulls the guitar sharp (and sometimes produces fret buzz).

But if I try to prop the neck up with my elbow, I lose positional mobility (and thus fingering dexterity), the guitar goes flat, action gets higher, and eventually my entire forearm and hand go to sleep.

And if I play standing up, my feet and shoulders (sometimes back) start to hurt.

But sitting too long can contribute to artery and heart problems.

I just don't know what to do.

8

I took classical guitar lessons as a kid for many years and was lucky to be taught (including the crossed-leg method) by a graduate of the Milan conservatory.

I signed up for a music performance class as a humanities elective early in college. Being in engineering and not the music program, I had to play a mini recital and answer theory questions for the head of the department to qualify. I got into the class without issue; however, the instructor teaching the performance class (not the department head) first scoffed that "guitar is not a classical instrument", and then told me I had to buy a foot riser to play in his class if I "insisted on trying be a serious musician".

There were seven of us, and we were asked to play as part of our introductions. I played most of Albeniz' Asturias with gusto and with leg crossed, stood up and said "fu$& it!", and quit the class the first day.

The best thing I got out of that class was dating the cute cellist for a couple of weeks afterward.

10

What does Mel Bay say about it?

My view is whatever works for you. My back and hips tell me to sit. A tall stool or a basic chair is fine. Even BB King used your basic folding chair. If you're not comfortable, it'll be reflected in your playing.

11

Since I am so convex and standing is no longer an option, I always use a strap.

12

I find that when I put the guitar on my left leg and elevate my left foot, every other aspect of my technique becomes more precise. I just associate that position with careful, relaxed playing. It's a recent development; I have many years of bad habits to get rid of.

13

from day one I felt the double cut gretsch threw the guitar out of balance (compared to the single cut) when sitting down

14

I do use a foot stool but rarely maintain one position for very long. As soon as I become uncomfortable in the "classic" position I change something. Usually a knee shift or even a foot stool shift. If that doesn't work, I change guitars. I'm kind of a restless player...

15

Like Mr. Tubs, it's never really crossed my mind. I just sit down and play. If I get uncomfortable, maybe I shift my weight to the other butt cheek.

16

Standing, sitting, prone...prone? Proteus?

What about behind the head, behind the back, or in between the legs?

Or just Duck Walking playing with ones teeth ass backwards upside down?

Ah, yes, Jimi...what a trickster!

Yes, occasionally a note goes a little sharp...

17

What about behind the head, behind the back, or in between the legs?

Now you're talking yoga, and that's just weird.

18

Ha!

I have tried to play laying on the couch for decades, it's hard to sound good.

ro sofa lmao

19

What bothers me is that, when lying on my back playing (or reclining against an embroidered bolster on a damask divan), the weight of the neck and my fretting hand always pulls the guitar sharp (and sometimes produces fret buzz).

But if I try to prop the neck up with my elbow, I lose positional mobility (and thus fingering dexterity), the guitar goes flat, action gets higher, and eventually my entire forearm and hand go to sleep.

And if I play standing up, my feet and shoulders (sometimes back) start to hurt.

But sitting too long can contribute to artery and heart problems.

I just don't know what to do.

– Proteus

Hers the soultion.. Just nail a couple two by fours to you git fiddle. Two on the headstock and tree on dat der box end. Ifn ya want to be fancy like,use sum 1/2ince bolt rods real tight. Cut the legs any lenght ya like....aint very light to carry round but ya could just leave it in the woodshed i reckon!

21

Standing, sitting, prone...prone? Proteus?

What about behind the head, behind the back, or in between the legs?

Or just Duck Walking playing with ones teeth ass backwards upside down?

Ah, yes, Jimi...what a trickster!

Yes, occasionally a note goes a little sharp...

– Twangmeisternyc

Jimi...hell Chuck did it before him and T-bone did it first.

23

The fundamental problem is that the guitar is not ergonomically designed for playing, especially sitting. There are designs that address those issues but have generally been rejected by guitar players, who tend to be conservative when it comes to guitar aesthetics. If it was good enough for Jimi and George, it's good enough for me! (Which I find ironic especially for rock n roll, which is allegedly rooted in rebellion.) I've assembled, owned and played quite a few ergonomic guitars and have been working on a prototype that allows proper ergonomic position whether you play with the guitar on the right or left leg. It also hangs perfectly on a strap. The final wiring is being done and I'll have it back from the shop soon.

Here are a few photos.

24

Ola Strandberg and Rick Toone have also come up with a solution for the thumb problem on the neck too:

25

Looking forward to the finished pics of your prototype. Looks like an interesting design.


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