Should the elbow be tucked into the hip or should it stick out (if so, how far?) and does it depend on where you are on the fretboard?

Should the thumb be bent while its behind the neck or not? And does it depend on where you are on the fboard?

Any other advice?

Its amazing how im still not sure about these things after playing for so long.
I'd say it depends what string and fret you're on and if you're bending or not.
About the thumb, yeah it can be bent, that's fine.

About position, the lower I go on the strings (thicker) the farther the elbow gets from my side.
When i play on the EAD strings i can stretch out my thumb and i have no problem with my sound but when i play on the top strings i feel like i need to move it further back on the neck and put more pressure and bend it.

And when im on the top strings i feel like i have to stick my elbow out, the reverse of what you do.
Should the elbow be tucked into the hip or should it stick out (if so, how far?) and does it depend on where you are on the fretboard?

Depends. Experiment, listen to your body.

Should the thumb be bent while its behind the neck or not?

Bent which way? Not really.

And does it depend on where you are on the fboard?


Any other advice?

Thumb over top for bends and rock vibrato.
When i say bending the thumb, i mean bending it as in pressing on the neck, not curling it like a claw. I just find that when im playing n the top 3 strings its easier when i do that and i was wondering if thats the correct way. It certainly feels right.
dude heres my advice take it for what its worth,
when determining your posture for playing theres 2 things you have to consider...

1 - your body's ability to play things comfortably and most efficiently, or "ergonomically correct"
2 - looking like a rock star while you do it

i've spent years learning guitar sitting in a chair with my strap up high all hunched over lookin at my fingers. i practiced hard and finally got to play a few shows, but when i saw the video i realized i looked retarded. i then had to re-learn everything standing up with my strap low and my guitar down by my crotch. it took me a while, but now i look so cool that i get chicks throwing their bras at me on stage.

-always practice in front of a mirror
-always practice standing up
-once you know you look cool, then worry about ergonimics

if you have your strap nice and low, your elbows should be straight
the left thumb can be bent, but try to keep it relaxed. if your too tense you could develop tendonitis.
Thanks but i totally disagree with all of that.

Ive always practised sitting down, and it has never affected how i play when i stand up. I just dont have any problems, because i have always been aware of the difference between how i look when sitting down, and how i should look when standing.

Its better to learn how to actually play the instrument as correctly as possible, with no regard to how you look, and then, then, then, to gradually adapt it so that it looks good. That way, you actually get good on the guitar, and then when youre ready to play on stage all you have to do is modify your posture, and youll be doing it as an already good guitarist, rather than focussing only on how it looks, while your playing suffers.

As for playing grunge style (really low strap), ironically i have always considered that to look retarded, and just silly, and its not a look that i want. I would prefer playing with the strap as low as possible while still being able to play well, and while still avoiding that grunge look that i hate so much, rather than as low as possible. In other words, quite low ish, but not that low.

But anyway none of that even matters as they are not issues for me at all, i just thought id respond. I do appreciate your input and my tone is probably coming across as ungrateful or defensive but thats not the case. Its just that i dont use emoticons.

The question (which has pretty much been answered, unless anyone else has anything to add) was about the specifics of arm and thumb position.
Last edited by leafarmusic at Mar 28, 2009,
maybe your right, because learned sitting down and then had to adapt to play standing up butt....

i also teach private lessons, and i have my students start learning standing up FROM DAY ONE. i have seen through experience that this method is much better because they dont have to adapt to relearning their posture in the standing position. and it definately DOES effect the position of both hands and arms. try this... sit down and get into position, then stand up but keep the guitar anchored to your body. is that REALLY how high you want your strap on stage? come on now.

it all depends on how you wanna look onstage, and what your overal goals are. ok, it's easier to play fast stuff all around the neck with the guitar high and elbows bent. but my goal isn't to be the fastest shreadder in the world. if you want people, especially chicks to come to your shows and listen to your band you have to move around and look like the bands they see on MTV. thats what the average listener that goes out to bars wants to see. if you just want to be respected on a forum with a bunch of other dudes for playing really fast then i guess you can do whatever you want.
The fact remains that to improve your playing, it is better to sit, because standing up brings with it things which make it harder to improve. That why when anyone ever pictures a person practising guitar, they picture someone sitting. Its also why throughout the history of the guitar people have generally always practised their skills while sitting, because its the efficient way to do it, the reason being that youre giving yourself the very best chance of doing it correctly.

At no point have i said that its not good to stand. What im saying is that to improve ones playing, sitting is the way to do it. Its not a case of one or the other, its a case of what is achieved with each. Theres really no need to re emphasise the advantages of performing while standing or with the strap a certain way, i know that already. Im not disputing that. It sounds like youve misunderstood.

My simple point is this : To actually become good at playing guitar, sit. To become good at performing, stand. To become good at both, stand, and adapt what youve learned while sitting. These are 3 separate things, 3 separate goals, all of them very important. Theres no conflict between them.
Quote by 0v3rdr1v3N

-once you know you look cool, then worry about ergonimics

You cannot be serious. Or maybe you just choose not to be.

You won't look very cool if you cant play properly because of your newly acquired tendinitis.
^Note: Probably sarcastic
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Quote by crisisinheaven
Deep*Kick. You have destroyed every concept of life I've ever had.
i actually am trained in classical guitar i used to play using a footstool with my fingernails. yes, if you wanna play that you have to have the "correct" posture. but i gave that up long ago i just wanna rock out now. all of my favorite guitarists play standing. i can't see any reason to practice sitting besides laziness. i believe you should practice how you perform. if you do play classical than you will perform sitting, so practice that way. or if you wanna become a recording artist i guess you don't have to stand.

i ripped a nasty solo (check the ending to Up or Down) in the studio last winter, and i did it sitting. i'm still working on pulling it off standing, and i'm kicking myself because i practiced sitting for a long time. now i only practice standing cause i want my live performance to be as good as in the studio. it's not any harder standing, but i'm not used to it yet. now i'm getting to the point where sitting is actually awkward for me, but i have no desire to go back there.

i also have a student who i never let sit. it's funny because when he does try to sit and play, he can't do it. that proves that sitting does not make it any easier, you just get used to it an it becomes a vice.

yea dude and i did get tendenitis last summer and it sucked so bad. now i do warmups and excercises to prevent it, and i stay loose when i play and it hasn't come back since.

sorry, i don't mean to sound like i know everything about guitar, but i have been playing for 16 years and i have gone through a lot of trial and error to get to where i am now. i have also been teaching private lessons for 7 years, and have watched my students do some pretty amazing things. i joined this site to get advice about my playing, but when i see these questions asked i feel the need to share my experiences with you so you don't make the same mistakes i did. i know that a good classical will teach you the "correct" way to play, but there are really no rules like that for modern rock. i have my own method of teaching and i know it works because my students are successful.

i'm in the process of writing an actual method book for my students right now, and these conversations are good to get the juices flowing. thanks for the debate, i wish you luck.
Last edited by 0v3rdr1v3N at Mar 28, 2009,
Im sure youre very good, but i bet a lot of it is down to all the practise that you must have done for years sitting down. When you practise standing up, youre practising the performance more than youre practising how to do stuff. And yes, if youre ultimately going to be standing when you perform then absolutely, you must practise your songs standing up. But you of all people surely must understand the difference in progress that can be made between sitting and standing. Wouldnt you agree that what im about to describe are 3 very separate things? :

- If you practise sitting down, you become good at doing things well

- If you practise standing, you become good at performing (ie confidence, moving around)

- If you practise standing, you can, if you choose to, also learn to adapt the "correct" way so that you can play standing and still get it right. Because lets face it, when you stand, its not the same as sitting, so you need to adjust a bit. But if youve already practised sitting, youll already have an instinct for whats correct, and youll have a head start on someone who never practises sitting.

All im saying is that its all good, but they are different things, with different advantages, and they should all be done. Its better to be a good guitarist who also looks good, than one who looks good but makes mistakes. And you get more underwear thrown at you.
Last edited by leafarmusic at Mar 28, 2009,
i don't know man, i still see no advantage to playing sitting at all unless your performing that way. it's not any easier, it just seems it because that is what your used to. if i lose my legs then i'll worry about playing sitting.

it's like if you speak only english and when your older try to learn japanease, its gonna be hard. but if you grew up speaking japanease it wouldn't seem that hard cause it was the first language you ever learned. yes you can grow up speaking two languages, but what is the point if that other language is useless. i never wanna perform sitting, so that is useless to me.

i bet if you really wanted to you could learn how to play right and left handed too, but that would be a big waste of time.

i just don't wanna see you develop bad habbits. at least your thinking about all this stuff, so i know you'll be fine. keep practising.
When i practise sitting, im not practising a performance, im practising playing well. What youre trying to do is teach your people to play well while standing. But standing (especially for beginners) is very very different from sitting. The posture is different, there are different factors involved. I have never heard of your method being recommended, and it doesnt surprise me, as it totally makes sense to actually learn the skills involved in playing guitar first, and then, do it again standing so that you can learn to make the necessary adjustments. Its like slang. All slang is based on the standard version of a language. Without the original language there can be no slang.

But, i dont doubt that people are benefitting from your method. But you must remember that youre trying to teach them 2 things simultaneously, and if any of them ever have problems (which is more likely if theyre standing), going back to the drawing board and sitting down to carefully see whats going wrong and correcting it and then standing again is the way to deal with it. What if someone has a major fundamental problem with some aspect of their playing? Would it not be a good idea to say "ok sit down, pay close attention, get it right, then stand up again and see how it goes, and make a few adjustments"?

I dont understand why you dont see the advantages of sitting. It free you from the limitations and obstacles of standing, gives you a chance to really focus on what youre doing, so that you can get it right and then stand up again and make adjustments to acount for the fact that you are standing up.

Advanced guitarists can afford to use your method, as theyve already played for so long that they can juggle the 2 tasks of playing well and playing well while standing. But thats a different thing.
This is an interesting debate. The way I feel about it is - if you play sitting down, it's easier to play with good technique. Having developed that, when you then play standing up, there are some adjustments to make, but at least you have a reference point for what the technique should be like.

There's also a practical aspect - if you practice a good amount, like 3 hrs/day or more, it's going to get really tiring to spend all that time standing up.

One thing that's smart is finding a way to split the difference - practice a portion of your time sitting down, but do it in a way that more resembles playing standing up. Some people play with the guitar on their left leg rather than their right, which more resembles playing standing up, because of the positioning of the guitar. One thing I did was get myself a drummer's stool which was a bit higher and caused the guitar to sit a bit lower than the chair I used to sit in. It did wonders for me - just by adjusting the guitar's height, I started playing more on my fingertips, and my picking noticeably improved.
well your right about a few things. for me playing isn't really a problem, so that is why i am focussing mainly on my stage presence rather than playing. i know if i could go back i would have practiced standing always though.

your right that a lot of things can go wrong if your stanging. honestly my students never have any problems with their technique because i teach them from scrath and i don't let them get away with anything. i take it real slow at first, but after the first few weeks their technique becomes natural and i can stop bugging them about it. the only students that have problems with are the ones that have been playing a while before they decide to take lessons with me. thats why i also perfer younger students that don't already have bad habbits.

it's also never too soon to get stage experience. i have my students play in recitals and talent shows, and open mics. the sooner you can do this the better, even if you don't think your ready.
I cant understand why you think that playing sitting down results in bad habits. Its like this : If you always practise sitting and you never practise standing, when you do need to stand, youll mess up sometimes (although youll probably also do quite well generally). But by the same token if you dont practise sitting, youre denying yourself the advantages that come from it (ie, complete focus). Im sure that its perfectly possible to always play standing and do well, but when (not if) problems occur, going back to sitting will help. Then, then, you can stand again. Sitting is like looking through a microscope. It frees you from the limitations of standing, trains you to play well, and then you can stand again and slightly adjust what you do.

In other words : Practise without the distractions and limitations of standing, then practise standing and adjust slightly to accomodate those distractions and limitations. Then when you reach a stage where youre good enough to do so, focus more on getting it all right as much as possible without sitting, while remembering that if a problem persists, sitting is the way to deal with it. Then stand again.
as long as you practice standing too u should be good. it's like having 2 pairs of shoes. if you only wear 1 pair all the time the other pair will feel uncomfortable, but if you switch off every other day, they will both feel comfortable.

i know what your saying though and i wanna get more peoples opinion so i started a new thread...

Quote by se012101
One thing I did was get myself a drummer's stool which was a bit higher and caused the guitar to sit a bit lower than the chair I used to sit in. It did wonders for me - just by adjusting the guitar's height, I started playing more on my fingertips, and my picking noticeably improved.

dude i just got an idea, ever see one of those kneeling chairs? i wonder if you could practice on one of those with the strap low. it would give yours legs a rest but keep your finger technique the same.
Quote by leafarmusic
But that would defeat the object of learning standing up. Anyone can stand.

its not the standing thats the problem, its that everything changes with your hands