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Old 08-24-2013, 02:50 PM   #1
Zhu Xiong
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Playing Standing Up

Okay.. So... Since i've started playing guitar, i've always been sitting down with it resting on my leg. Both acoustic and electric. I can play a bunch of songs, nothing too difficult yet though.

I recently thought to myself - "Hmm.. Maybe i should try this standing up, so i can really feel like a rockstar" :P So i bought a strap and had a go.

I almost can't do it. I find it uncomfortable/awkward to place my fingers something, and my wrist starts to ache after a while. I'm especially finding it difficult to play bar chords.

For example, today i taught my brother Smells Like Teen Spirit so we could play it together (because he's just started learning), but i have real difficulty playing the main riff with the bar chords standing up. I can't press my fingers down hard enough at points, and then there's the mute with i'm not able to lift my fingers away enough to mute the strings because the guitar becomes 'free' almost from my left hand.

Without being able to show you, because i have no sort of camera to record myself, is there anything you can suggest that i might be doing wrong or ways to improve to make it easier?

I found myself wondering how these guitarists manage to jump around on stage and play songs at the same time, when i'm struggling to stand still and do it :P
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Old 08-24-2013, 03:01 PM   #2
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I'm gonna say one thing..

Playing with your guitar low is not cool. Just because a lot of "rockstars" do it does not make them cool. Play with the same height you do whilst sitting. That is all you need to know. Congratulations you can now play standing up.
I actually think it looks cooler with the strap high..





Aren't those guys just super cool?
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Old 08-24-2013, 03:07 PM   #3
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Well, if rockstars do it, it's obviously cool :P And, if they can do it, and they do it well, it must be do-able...

It's not too low to be honest.. The neck is in line with my belly button. I'm not sure if that makes much sense or can be used as a reference :P
I guess i could higher it a bit. I just don't want to look like some Indie fool with the guitar touching my chin...



You gonna tell me this guy isn't(wasn't) cool? :P And that's a perfect example 'cause that's the song i'm playing..
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Old 08-24-2013, 03:09 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zhu Xiong
Well, if rockstars do it, it's obviously cool :P And, if they can do it, and they do it well, it must be do-able...

I guess i could higher it a bit. I just don't want to look like some Indie fool with the guitar touching my chin...




I've told you how to do it. I'm not even going to bother now.
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Old 08-24-2013, 03:18 PM   #5
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Hey, don't be like that, i'm just messing around. I'm smart enough and mature enough to know you're giving me advice that works.

I was just hoping for an answer other than "wear the guitar around your neck", that's all.

Believe it or not, i play the guitar because it's cool. So the cool factor is going to come into it somewhere... Here, actually. This is going to be one of the places it comes in :P
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Old 08-24-2013, 03:18 PM   #6
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Old 08-24-2013, 04:10 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vayne92
I'm gonna say one thing..

Playing with your guitar low is not cool. Just because a lot of "rockstars" do it does not make them cool. Play with the same height you do whilst sitting. That is all you need to know. Congratulations you can now play standing up.
I actually think it looks cooler with the strap high..


Aren't those guys just super cool?

You do realize that it's his opinion? A lot of people think low-slung guitars look cool, this guy is one of them.
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Old 08-24-2013, 05:11 PM   #8
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Well, i'm glad somebody didn't decide i was a jackass based on the fact that i didn't want my guitar resting on my chest...

Really, guys, all i want here is advice on better ways/stances/hand positions/finger positions while playing standing up. Like i said, i do actually think low guitars look cool, and clearly the height of the car doesn't make THAT much of a difference seeing as it varies throughout musical marvels.
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Old 08-24-2013, 06:02 PM   #9
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So basically with a guitar slung low it is much harder to play in the classical posture with the thumb behind the neck. That's why you will see a lot of baseball-bat posture. Stretches and barre chords are a bitch with that posture.

Personally I think a guitar at a petrucci hight looks silly so that is not an option in live situations for me.

Some things help me play decently with a guitar at a reasonable(imo) hight:

Pull the neck upwards, it helps to keep the wrist straight in classical posture. Look at Zakk Wylde and Paul Gilbert for reference.

Use more diagonal movements across the neck rather than vertical. That way you can play lines, sweeps and runs with less stretching. I could go into detail here.

Replace barre chords with Hendrix style chords where it doesn't matter, that way you can stay in baseball bat posture.

Practice it a lot.
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Old 08-24-2013, 06:29 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zhu Xiong
Hey, don't be like that, i'm just messing around. I'm smart enough and mature enough to know you're giving me advice that works.

I was just hoping for an answer other than "wear the guitar around your neck", that's all.

Believe it or not, i play the guitar because it's cool. So the cool factor is going to come into it somewhere... Here, actually. This is going to be one of the places it comes in :P



I gotta tell you right now, if you only play guitar because it's "cool", you won't go too far. Now if you started playing guitar because you thought it was cool, and genuinely enjoy it now, then that's different. I'm just saying, you need that drive to play in order to continue to improve.

Standing up, I try to position the bridge at the same level as my pockets. I find that is where my picking hand isn't too high or low. I also angle the neck up a bit, rather than keeping the guitar flat, so I don't have to bend down to play. That just makes you look silly.

Really, you should just mess around with different positions and angles and find what's comfortable to you. Who cares how you look? I'd rather see someone play a song properly with their guitar up at their neck than someone mess up with it at their knees.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vayne92
*post*

Very cool.
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Old 08-24-2013, 07:06 PM   #11
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Baseball-bat posture is the thumb wrapped around the neck, rather than 'pressing' behind it, right?


Oh, i always loved the guitar. It's a bonus that it's cool :P I love music in general, drums and guitar in particular though(and sax, actually). I love the way it sounds, all the sounds that can be made with it. I play the guitar because i want to be great at it. This is not a "I have a cigarette in my mouth so i fit in with the cool kids" scenario. This is me doing something that borderlines on a passion. I don't want it to turn into a career, i don't even want to be famous for it, i just want to be a great guitarist.

But that doesn't mean i can't be cool while i do it. And, in my honest opinion, high strung guitars are not cool.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LOUDER!
so I don't have to bend down to play. That just makes you look silly.


I beg your pardon...



:P
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Old 08-24-2013, 07:34 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zhu Xiong
Baseball-bat posture is the thumb wrapped around the neck, rather than 'pressing' behind it, right?


Oh, i always loved the guitar. It's a bonus that it's cool :P I love music in general, drums and guitar in particular though(and sax, actually). I love the way it sounds, all the sounds that can be made with it. I play the guitar because i want to be great at it. This is not a "I have a cigarette in my mouth so i fit in with the cool kids" scenario. This is me doing something that borderlines on a passion. I don't want it to turn into a career, i don't even want to be famous for it, i just want to be a great guitarist.

But that doesn't mean i can't be cool while i do it. And, in my honest opinion, high strung guitars are not cool.



I beg your pardon...

*picture*

:P


Ok I gotta admit, he looks pretty cool.

It's kinda hard to explain, but when I play with the neck straight out, I end up standing in this weird, hunched over yet still standing up straight position.

Good to hear that you enjoy it though. Honestly, I've met too many people who "play guitar" but hate it, and only play to look cool, or fit in. I'd love to go on to make a living playing guitar, but hey, it doesn't matter. I can still enjoy playing either way.
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Old 08-24-2013, 07:47 PM   #13
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This entire thread is one big facepalm. The most sensible and correct advice so far has been from vayne. Here's my $0.02:

Are low slung guitars cool? Sure. Are they practical? Not at all. In some genres or some bands I'm sure that doesn't matter, but if you ever want to do something where the sound is more important than the look, you're going to have to be able to play properly and comfortably. When standing up, the guitar should be at roughly the same height as it is when you are sitting. Then just angle the neck up a bit and you should have an ideal posture for proper technique and general comfort.
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Old 08-24-2013, 08:17 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Junior#1
This entire thread is one big facepalm. The most sensible and correct advice so far has been from vayne. Here's my $0.02:

Are low slung guitars cool? Sure. Are they practical? Not at all. In some genres or some bands I'm sure that doesn't matter, but if you ever want to do something where the sound is more important than the look, you're going to have to be able to play properly and comfortably. When standing up, the guitar should be at roughly the same height as it is when you are sitting. Then just angle the neck up a bit and you should have an ideal posture for proper technique and general comfort.



Speak for yourself, don't sell your opinion as general reason.
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Old 08-24-2013, 08:19 PM   #15
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It is my opinion, but it's also considered by many to be proper. Take it however you like.
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Old 08-25-2013, 04:14 AM   #16
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As far as playing the guitar is concerned, looking cool is kinda redundant if you can't play for shit.

Raise the strap until the guitar is in the same position you'd have it if you were playing sat down, and angle the neck up a bit like others have said.

Now, spend some time playing with the guitar in this position, as in a few weeks. You'll mess up a fair bit at first and notice annoying things like the fact that the guitar tends to move around a lot making it harder to keep track of the strings, and that you have to keep adjusting the neck angle as you move up and down the fretboard.

Eventually you'll get used to it and playing standing up won't really feel any different to playing sitting down. At that point there's no harm in dropping the strap down a notch and seeing how it feels. It'll probably feel the same as it did when you started with it higher, so you either raise it back up or work at it until you get used to it
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Old 08-25-2013, 04:32 AM   #17
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Vayne, Junior and steven hit the nail, as usual.

Having the guitar too low is just you making it harder for yourself. And you said it yourself:

Quote:
I almost can't do it. I find it uncomfortable/awkward to place my fingers something, and my wrist starts to ache after a while. I'm especially finding it difficult to play bar chords.


That's because you are most of the time not having your wrist straight, so the blood flow is worse, it also leads your hand to tense up more, which isn't something you want. Just because this works for SOME people it doesn't mean it is the best choice to go for. Now you've tried it, and you have personally experienced discomfort playing this way, take that as a sign that something about what you are doing ain't working.

I mean, i love Marty Friedmans playing, but i would NEVER recommend anyone to use the same right hand technique as he does, that's just plain stupid. It works for him cause he has been doing it for so long.

This is something you see with the vast majority of the best technical guitar players. They have good posture when playing and they have their guitars in a high enough position so they can play properly.

Here's my two cents, start by playing properly then make it look cool, not the other way around.

Or you can just disregard all my advice and play with an aching wrist all the time until you either get used to it or hurt yourself, the later one being the most common.

Good luck
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Old 08-25-2013, 04:34 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sickz
Vayne, Junior and steven hit the nail, as usual.

Here's my two cents, start by playing properly then make it look cool, not the other way around.

Or you can just disregard all my advice and play with an aching wrist all the time until you either get used to it or hurt yourself, the later one being the most common.

Good luck
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Old 08-25-2013, 04:47 AM   #19
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Wait wait wait....


You mean to tell me that this isn't cool anymore?
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Old 08-25-2013, 05:02 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zhu Xiong
Baseball-bat posture is the thumb wrapped around the neck, rather than 'pressing' behind it, right?


Oh, i always loved the guitar. It's a bonus that it's cool :P I love music in general, drums and guitar in particular though(and sax, actually). I love the way it sounds, all the sounds that can be made with it. I play the guitar because i want to be great at it. This is not a "I have a cigarette in my mouth so i fit in with the cool kids" scenario. This is me doing something that borderlines on a passion. I don't want it to turn into a career, i don't even want to be famous for it, i just want to be a great guitarist.

But that doesn't mean i can't be cool while i do it. And, in my honest opinion, high strung guitars are not cool.



I beg your pardon...

*picture*

:P


Well, if you want to be able to play guitar well, it's best to listen to the advice you're being given. Yes, you think Slash is cool, I, personally, do not, but, his 'coolness' stems from the fact that he's Slash, if he never existed and a random secondary school guy walked in with a guitar and top hat, you'd think he was an absolute idiot, and other guitarists would think that of you if you got on your stage with a guitar around your knees and couldn't get a note out. Now, if you're sure you want to play in a more bluesy, classic rock style, by all means, hang it low, but realise that that style of guitar isn't to be all and end all, players like Petrucci are at the top of their game, and having their guitar that high allows them to play difficult passages at any time they want, so they don't have to put their foot on a monitor on rest it on their knee for a solo.

The thing is, you will generally practice sitting down, as it's annoying to stand for hours and hours with a guitar on you, so what'll happen is every time you stand up, you'll lose a lot of the ability you just gained, and you'll need to adapt, and when it comes to the higher levels of guitar playing, you're gonna be practicing for hours on end, so you need to make sure that you're willing to stand up for around three or more hours a day with your guitar to learn how to play with your guitar that low.

Take notice, though, to those who appreciate it, guitar is a cool instrument no matter what. If somebody bloody hates guitar music, seeing you with it hung low like the guys on TV won't change their minds, and if it's girls you're after, they'd rather see it played well by any means necessary rather than fluffed in a cool guy stance. I have my guitar high, at about Petrucci's height, and I recently played a show where I played the guitar solo of Bohemian Rhapsody to a huge audience, I had a lot of applause, and the admiration of everyone involved in the show, and the comments were always something like 'There's not a note out of place, it's exactly like the recording!', and because I played it well, they thought it was 'cool', as they say. Really, audiences don't care about how you hold your guitar, they care about the sound. You'd rather someone say 'He's a brilliant player, but he needs to lower his guitar', than say 'Christ, he's awful.' A lot of other players, will be following your philosophy, so you need to stand out, you'll want to stand out if being cool is a priority of yours, and, nowadays, you do that by being an excellent player. You'll find Slash wannabes everywhere you go, so why become one yourself?
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