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#1
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
I'm not insane, i'm not insane.
#2
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?
Last edited by vayne92 at Aug 24, 2013,
#3
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...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3XIGon2RjY

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..
I'm not insane, i'm not insane.
Last edited by Zhu Xiong at Aug 24, 2013,
#4
Quote 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.
#5
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'm not insane, i'm not insane.
#7
Quote 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.
#8
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.
I'm not insane, i'm not insane.
#9
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.
#10
Quote 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 by vayne92
*post*

Very cool.
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#11
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 by LOUDER!
so I don't have to bend down to play. That just makes you look silly.


I beg your pardon...



:P
I'm not insane, i'm not insane.
#12
Quote 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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#13
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.
Quote by Geldin
Junior's usually at least a little terse, but he knows his stuff. I've always read his posts in a grouchy grandfather voice, a grouchy grandfather with a huge stiffy for alternate picking.
Besides that, he's right this time. As usual.
#14
Quote 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.
#15
It is my opinion, but it's also considered by many to be proper. Take it however you like.
Quote by Geldin
Junior's usually at least a little terse, but he knows his stuff. I've always read his posts in a grouchy grandfather voice, a grouchy grandfather with a huge stiffy for alternate picking.
Besides that, he's right this time. As usual.
#16
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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#17
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:

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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Last edited by Sickz at Aug 25, 2013,
#18
Quote 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
Cheers
Sickz


#20
Quote 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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#21
Thanks Steven and Sickz for being the only sensible and polite answers so far. I'll definitely try it that way.

And Celestial, Slash is definitely cool, and even when playing crouched with the guitar by his side he doesn't seem to miss a note :P

I already practice for hours and hours. Like I said, I want to be awesome and that doesn't come from playing a few minutes a day. So I already play a lot ( to the point that I get blisters, actually).


Thanks, some of you
I'm not insane, i'm not insane.
#22
Quote by Zhu Xiong
Thanks Steven and Sickz for being the only sensible and polite answers so far.


#23
Girls don't get wet when your guitar is tucked in under your chin. Fact. Unless you are trying to pick up Beatles fans at their 65'th birthday party or something
Last edited by innovine at Aug 25, 2013,
#24
I don't need a girl. I already have one that gets wet when i play no matter what i look like while doing it :P

Sorry Vayne, it's just that you were a tad rude. Thank you for atleast taking the time to comment and try to help me though.
I'm not insane, i'm not insane.
#25
Quote by Zhu Xiong
Thanks Steven and Sickz for being the only sensible and polite answers so far. I'll definitely try it that way.

And Celestial, Slash is definitely cool, and even when playing crouched with the guitar by his side he doesn't seem to miss a note :P


The things he plays when he's playing like that aren't exactly taxing. As a general rule when he's playing something difficult he does this:



Or something similar. Note how his wrist is now in a much better position than it was in the picture you posted, his hand is at a better angle to the fretboard, he's not touching the underside of the neck with his hand. This is all the reason he does that at all; it's all compensation for his otherwise terrible posture.

Quote by Zhu Xiong
I already practice for hours and hours. Like I said, I want to be awesome and that doesn't come from playing a few minutes a day. So I already play a lot ( to the point that I get blisters, actually).


Right, good... but you won't be able to play the kind of stuff you want to without adjusting your posture, either by shortening your strap or by taking up some stupid stance that will make you look a dick until you're playing arena gigs.
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#26
The picture i posted is how he stands when playing the solo in Sweet Child O' Mine.
I'm not insane, i'm not insane.
#27
I'm not advocating low-slung guitars or anything, but I never understood how people play with guitars way up high (usually with the thumb on the back of the neck at all times).

How do you even get any sort of leverage for bending?

I suppose if you're just playing some drop-tuned bullshit it would be fine, but I strangle the shit out of the neck when I play and there's no way I would be able to do that without having to contort my wrist in the worst possible way.

I've tried hanging my guitar at the same height standing as sitting, but I have to drop it down a little bit, otherwise, it's extremely uncomfortable to play.

I don't know, when you have it at the right height, you can just feel that it's right.
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#28
Quote by innovine
Girls don't get wet when your guitar is tucked in under your chin. Fact. Unless you are trying to pick up Beatles fans at their 65'th birthday party or something

If your only motivation for playing guitar is to get girls wet, you need more help than we can give you. Put down your guitar and get out there and mingle. It's not that hard.
Quote by Geldin
Junior's usually at least a little terse, but he knows his stuff. I've always read his posts in a grouchy grandfather voice, a grouchy grandfather with a huge stiffy for alternate picking.
Besides that, he's right this time. As usual.
#29
I can't believe everyone's having such a hard time explaining it, it's easy to explain, the higher you play the easier it will be but i'm like you when i started playing standing up i wanted to play like Slash (guitar low) and i couldn't do it, the only thing to do is practice, i practiced playing standing up with the guitar low and a couple months later it was just as comfortable as anything else, practice and it will happen
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#31
Quote by Junior#1
If your only motivation for playing guitar is to get girls wet, you need more help than we can give you. Put down your guitar and get out there and mingle. It's not that hard.


I didn't read this thread thinking it was about motivation for guitar. No one is questioning the fact that high up is a superior position for playing. The point is, you look like a dork doing it. And, whether you like it or not, your audience is there to _see_ and hear a good show, and the sad fact of the matter is that most of them can't tell good playing from bad. They can tell if you look like slash or a beatle though. They can tell if you're head banging and grinding on your low slung axe, or if you're sitting on a little stool holding your guitar in the classical position between your legs.

The exact same point applies to jumping around on stage, head banging, wide-legged stances, arm windmills, whatever. Of course you are not going to play your best jumping up and down with the beat, and no one expects the artists to be doing that in a studio recording session either. But on stage is not a studio, you are there to project atmosphere, mood and energy in every way you can, from the lights, to the smoke machines, haircuts, choice of tshirts, sneakers, color of your guitar and of course, where you hang it. You often need to make compromises on your playing technique, in order to boost your showmanship.
Last edited by innovine at Aug 26, 2013,
#32
start high and slowly work the guitar lower. I find that helped for me
It's not too late to change your hikikmori ways!
#33
I've often encountered this, too. Basically all my playing is sitting down, with the guitar on my left leg, since I play at home and don't do gigs. But when I've tried playing standing up, it's not only just difficult, it's impossible.

There are some top players that hold it fairly high. Look at B.B. King; he's practically resting his chin on it!

I think one factor is your physical build. A lot of those "low slung" players are also really skinny dudes. Look at SRV, Keith Richards, Clapton, Prince, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Eric Johnson, et. al. All skinny as beanpoles.

Like many guys, though, I have some extra stuff around my middle, however, and if I wear my guitar like those guys, it makes the guitar lean away from me so I'm actually looking down at the back of the neck. The only way I can even BEGIN to play standing up is to strap it way up on my chest BB King style, and even that's marginally playable.

All that being said... I'd say if you're planning to play gigs, i.e. play standing up, start practicing that way right NOW and get used to it, so that's your natural way of playing. The physics, muscle patterns, etc. are TOTALLY different. If you practice holding it classical-style, like I do, and then try to do a stand-up gig on a stage in front of a mike, you're in for a world of misery.

Innovine makes a good point, too, about the showmanship. You won't fit into a wild metal band sitting there holding your strat like Andres Segovia.

You might want to lose a few pounds, too....
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Last edited by Ruark at Aug 27, 2013,
#34
I'll tell you what isn't cool, playing like shit because you wear your guitar around your ankles trying to look cool.

You don't have to friggin have the thing up to your chin, and you certainly don't need it below your waist. There is a lot of space between way too high and way too low, find something in the middle.
#35
@Ruark

I think if i lose a few pounds i'll start disappearing :P I'm 6ft2 and weigh 10st. (188cm & 140lbs)

My arms and fingers are nice and lanky, so i don't think it's a physique issue. I'm pretty sure i'm just not used to it so, like a bunch of people said, i just need to practice it a whole lot more. I can now play Smells Like Teen Spirit all the way through almost without messing up. I've taken on board things like tilting the guitar and having a little higher than i already had it, and i've pretty much just been practicing like it. It's working so far, but there are still songs i can't do standing up (i still find placing my fingers to play chords almost impossible).
I'm not insane, i'm not insane.
#36
the truth is at the end of the day people won't care if you have the guitar touching your toes or if you have it like a choker around your neck as long as you can play well.
It's not too late to change your hikikmori ways!
#37
Quote by Blicer
the truth is at the end of the day people won't care if you have the guitar touching your toes or if you have it like a choker around your neck as long as you can play well.


keep telling yourself that.
Last edited by innovine at Aug 28, 2013,
#38
Quote by innovine
keep telling yourself that.

There are always going to be people who do care if you hair is waving the right way and if your skin is gold and if your guitar is banging against your junk while you play. we call them a7x fans.

in all seriousness though if you let the superficial affect your enjoyment of music and your comfort level of playing music then you need to build some self confidence and become comfortable with yourself.
It's not too late to change your hikikmori ways!
#39
Quote by innovine
keep telling yourself that.


For every person who thinks it looks cool to have your guitar super low, there is an equal number who think you look like a poser idiot.
#40
Quote by J_W
For every person who thinks it looks cool to have your guitar super low, there is an equal number who think you look like a poser idiot.


that probably depends on the genre, but it's an interesting point which could be empirically measured, perhaps
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