#1
I have a problem with my playing when I stand up and some questions.

First off, my question is how do guitar player play with their guitar so low and still manage to pick properly (perpendicular to all the strings for example for a chord). When I have the guitar angled and the strap down low a bit (and I'm not talking like how those metal band dudes hold it really low, I'm talking like regular height here), my picking doesn't go at 90 degree angles to all the strings for a chord. It goes at an angle to the strings rather than straight across all of them. This is actually not that big of a problem for me because I can twist my wrist so that I can pick at a 90 degree angle to the strings, but it's still somewhat difficult.

My second question is regarding to hand position for barre chords when playing standing up. I cannot do a barre chord on the guitar when I stand up and still pick properly. I'm referring to Fmajor barre and such, Gmaj, Bminor etc. The way I tighten up my left hand to barre, my left hand hurts and I angle the guitar in such a way that I can't even pick it properly (all strings at roughly 90 degree angle). Has anyone else had problems with it? I've spent the last whole week trying to perfect my hand position standing up.

I have been able to adjust my hand position playing standing up and also sitting down by my own by trying to minimize hand movement, getting clear sounding picking and relaxed hand and so on and so forth, but I don't get why I can't do barre chords properly when I stand up.
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#2
You could try raising your strap up higher, and once you get the hand position right at that height, you could lower it slightly, and keep adjusting to lower heights.
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#3
i had the same problem, for like the first couple months of playing i always sat down to practice, the started standing up and it was a lot harder with finger positioning and picking. this prolly wont help you, but i just played standing up and never sat down and eventually got used to and comfortable with it, and my accuracy while standing up also got better. doubt that helps but its what i did :P
#4
Raising the strap higher doesn't help by the way. I must be doing something wrong because I've tried various heights with the strap and when I try to do a barre chord, I have to put my left hand in a position that hurts my wrist quite a bit and I can't pick properly at 90 degree angle.
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#5
Try putting the strap on and sit how you normally play guitar. Then adjust the strap so it is fairly tight around you, then stand up. Do this so that the guitar is in the same position as you would play sitting down when you stand up. It should help because now you will be playing guitar the same way while you stand.
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#6
Look at all the good guitarists and look how they have their guitars strapped. Almost always it's pretty high up around the midsection.

It's mostly not-so-talented-power-chord-loving guitar players that having it hanging down by their ankles.
And I mean that in the best possible way.
#7
Or some of us play fine like that, because we have a body type with longer arms or it's just more comfortable to play a bit lower than average, and as opposed to having your guitar pressed against your chin.

How long have you been playing, MustangSVT? What kind of songs are you normally practicing? There are several ways to play a bar chord: you only need three or four fingers to ring all six strings to their actual notes. This is the most stressful way for your hand to do it. Most of the time if you're just playing the chord progressions for the main three notes, you should just use your first and fourth fingers. Depending how long you've been playing, you should have learned to left hand mute the other strings to exclude them.

And you don't have to pick at a ninety degree angle, you can hold the guitar more upright, or lean it into you with your right leg out a bit to adjust it other ways.

Otherwise, there's not much reason why you shouldn't be able to do it discounting any medical conditions. It sounds like you just need to practice both your left hand dynamics and your picking. I'd say the way I improved at bar chords when I started was by doing it the hard way with three fingers and ringing all notes and then everything after that is easier. I used to practice the chorus riff to REM's Strange Currencies for this:

-3-3---3-3---1-1---3-3---
-3---3-3---3-1---1-3---3-
-5-----3-----1-----5-----
-5-----5-----3-----5-----
-3-----5-----3-----3-----
-3-----3-----1-----3-----

Having to depress the first two strings means having to hold it pretty tight, and strengthen your hand.
#8
Look at all the good guitarists and look how they have their guitars strapped. Almost always it's pretty high up around the midsection.

I actually do hold the strap up what I would say is "mid-section" if not higher.


How long have you been playing, MustangSVT? What kind of songs are you normally practicing? There are several ways to play a bar chord: you only need three or four fingers to ring all six strings to their actual notes. This is the most stressful way for your hand to do it. Most of the time if you're just playing the chord progressions for the main three notes, you should just use your first and fourth fingers. Depending how long you've been playing, you should have learned to left hand mute the other strings to exclude them.

I have been playing for roughly 8 months now. I don't practice "songs" normally, I practice scale improv (which I have no problem doing standing up). This is the sort of thing I'm trying to play that I have problem doing standing up:


-1--3--1--0-
-1--3--1--1-
-2--4--2--0- repeat
-3--5--3--2-
-3--5--3--3-
-1--3--1--0-

-3--5--3--3-
-4--6--4--3-
-3--5--3--3- repeat
-5--7--5--3-
-3--5--3--5-
-0--0--0--3- 
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Last edited by MustangSVT at Jan 7, 2009,
#9
Those probably require the most pressure out of anything you can play on the guitar. If you're just eight months in, it's probably just needing more practice and time to build up your hand strength. Personally, for those kinds of bar chords I typically play them with my thumb on the root, which takes a lot of the strain off. Most of that is coming from the pressure your thumb needs to exert in order to depress all six strings with your index. If you try holding them this way, you'll also find that your left arm is positioned at a more natural angle comparable to when you're playing your scales. If you try to bar them with only your index, your arm has to drop and so it's no wonder that it's more difficult to access when you're wearing a strap.

Otherwise, I've been playing for years and have no problem barring chords both ways while standing up, so guitarists seem to improve at this after some point.
#10
Quote by XahXhaX
Those probably require the most pressure out of anything you can play on the guitar. If you're just eight months in, it's probably just needing more practice and time to build up your hand strength. Personally, for those kinds of bar chords I typically play them with my thumb on the root, which takes a lot of the strain off. Most of that is coming from the pressure your thumb needs to exert in order to depress all six strings with your index. If you try holding them this way, you'll also find that your left arm is positioned at a more natural angle comparable to when you're playing your scales. If you try to bar them with only your index, your arm has to drop and so it's no wonder that it's more difficult to access when you're wearing a strap.

Otherwise, I've been playing for years and have no problem barring chords both ways while standing up, so guitarists seem to improve at this after some point.

I think you're on the right track. Yes I am trying to bar them with my index finger and the pressure comes from my thumb pushing against the back of the neck and when I do this, my arm has to drop and causes some strain on my wrist/hand becoming difficult when I'm wearing a strap. It's much easier to do when I play sitting down.

I guess I can try doing the thumb thing as well for now. From the sounds of it, I need to get better at playing stand up before I attempt these difficult barre chords.
my MG15DFX has a button that simulates the sound of one of the expensive tube marshall amps


Fender Stratocaster HSS
LTD EC-400AT
Traynor YCV-50 Blue
Peavey Envoy 110

Wishlist: Hamer USA Explorer, Gibson Explorer