#1
Hey everyone.
Lately I've been struggling a bit with my posture. Longer practice sessions always tend to give a little strain either in my arm or shoulder.
When I'm standing up with the strap set fairly high (I don't mind if it looks "uncool"), that is when I am most comfortable. However, over time my left shoulder will start to get tired because of the weight of the guitar, which means that I'll have to sit down for some time.
Sitting down, I can't feel to find myself comfortable in either positions (classic vs "modern"). Using the modern posture (guitar on right leg), I very quickly get tense in my right arm/shoulder, I can't seem to get it at a good spot.
The classical position is better for me, but still after a longer period of time, I get tense im my right arm/shoulder. My wrists are fine, the problem is with my forearm/shoulder.

I have a few questions regarding posture than I'm unsure of:
When playing either of the positions, does the guitar have to lean into your core/stomach area? If not (keeping the guitar away from the body), I can't keep the guitar steady without having to lock it down with my arms, which I assume limits movement.
I've tried experimenting with both things, and having the guitar NOT leaning into my stomach my right arm is in a more comfortable position. If the guitar is leaning against my body, I feel I have to raise my arm a little and pull it backwards for my hand to rest in the pickup area.
I've read that with classical guitars the guitar should touch the body, but they are also thicker so it makes more sense.

If you have any other advice, I'd like to know them as well.
Using a strap while sitting down has not worked for me, since I will still get tense in my left shoulder because of the weight of the guitar.

Best regards
Kris
#4
Cool just making sure that the guitar isn't like a Les Paul.

As the guitar seems to be of a decent weight, have you considered exercising? Do you stand up straight when playing or kinda hunched trying to look at the fretboard all the time?

Try standing infront of the mirror with the guitar and look at yourself to figure out whether your posture is actually decent.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#5
I exercise regularly and have always been athletic of nature, so I would be surprised if that was the problem. Sometimes I do hunch a little when it's more difficult stuff, but I really try to keep a proper posture. Standing up however is not really a problem, since i'm pretty comfortable standing up
Sometimes it would be great to sit down and practice! ^^
Last edited by KrisHQ at Dec 5, 2013,
#6
You said you struggled after a while standing up. It's likely that it's the same issue causing uncomfortablness sitting down.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#7
I would add that perhaps changing positions and moving around more whilst playing could help. Doing anything in one position for a long period of time is likely to fatigue the muscles used. Maybe try raising or lowering the position of the neck relative to the body of the guitar (I'm thinking about the way Springsteen plays throughout the Seeger sessions http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2evoXZ-xgd0) or turning the guitar to the side of your body kinda like the picture of Chuck Berry here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RoDPPgWbfXY).
Basically just try not to stay too stationary!
#9
Quote by AlanHB
You said you struggled after a while standing up. It's likely that it's the same issue causing uncomfortablness sitting down.

After a while standing up I struggle with my left shoulder, becasue of the weight of the guitar pulling it.
The issue when sitting down is my right should/arm, where I feel I have to keep it raised and pulled slightly back to hover my hand at a proper place on the guitar.
Should have been more precise.

No one can answer the question regarding if the guitar should touch the body/stomach or not? This is something I'm very uncertain of.
#10
How do you strum? If you're strumming in the wrong manner, that will leave you in pain for sure.
#12
Quote by KrisHQ

No one can answer the question regarding if the guitar should touch the body/stomach or not? This is something I'm very uncertain of.


That depends on the size of your stomach
#13
Quote by innovine
That depends on the size of your stomach

Well. I'm fairly athletic built, so I guess I have an average/slim stomach ^^
#14
Quote by JelloCrust
How do you strum? If you're strumming in the wrong manner, that will leave you in pain for sure.


I like this train of thought. Considering TS is insistent that his posture is perfect, maybe he is strumming too much from the elbow, and not enough from the wrist.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#15
Quote by AlanHB
I like this train of thought. Considering TS is insistent that his posture is perfect, maybe he is strumming too much from the elbow, and not enough from the wrist.

What? I'm quite the opposite.
Why would you come with such an accusation? I havn't really rejected any of the advice you've given, since the one you gave involved a misunderstanding.
I don't get your agenda unless you just want to be arrogant.

But in regards to the actual advice:
I'll make sure to think about that, weird thing is though, that I do not have any troubles when standing up (it's the opposite shoulder that starts bothering me, but that problem is minor in comparison), so that would mean I alter my picking technique.
Last edited by KrisHQ at Dec 6, 2013,
#16
You're not supposed to carry the guitar with your arms. Simply let the strap rest on your traps(side of neck).

It is possible that you have relatively long forearms. Longer forearms equal more severe shoulder extension (backwards, or out to the side if you happen to internally rotate your arm) of the arm with your picking hand. To maintain your picking hand in an adequate position on the guitar, your shoulder extensors will have to work so that the humerus(upper arm) is at an angle so that your forearm will "fit" between the place where your picking hand sits, and the elbow.
A good way to deal with this would be to sit in a classical position with the guitar neck upwards a bit(depending how to trade-of with playability and comfort is), this will put your shoulder in less extension. Another solution would be to get a smaller guitar.
#17
I'm doing a little bump on this thread.
The reason being that I think I've found a good place for my shoulders using classical position.
But then.. Another problem.
I hold the guitar in place using my arms/fingers while touching the guitar. Surely this is not optimal. I can't get the guitar to stay in place using only my legs, since it will naturally fall either towards my body or away.
So. I've tried letting the guitar lean into my body, but I feel the guitar becomes very tilted and close to my body.
This results in having to occasionally look almost straight down to see what I'm doing.
I want to try using a strap while sitting down as well, so that it holds the guitar in place.
When doing that, is it best if I find a spot where the guitar is leaning on my left leg, while also supported by the strap?
Right now, If I want the guitar to lean on my left leg, the strap becomes too loose. And I'm using the hole for the shortest strap-length atm, which means I'd have to make some new ones.

And a last thing.
I try to always keep a straight back, but even when doing so I get slightly tense in my back after a while. This only happens when playing guitar, and for instance not when I'm playing drums. Anyone else experience this?
#18
I pretty much always have the strap around me while playing electric. Extra little bit of security. I think it will do the trick.

In my opinion, there is no answer to the Classical VS Standard Position argument. I alternate between the two of them depending on which feels best at the time and which best accommodates the song I'm playing/the guitar I'm using.

Not sure about the back thing. Maybe if you've been slouching when playing in the past, it's your body getting accustomed to a new habit? I have plenty of students who have found certain aspects of correct posture weird to begin with, but after time the benefits became evident. Perhaps try playing guitar with your back against a wall? I had that recommended to me by an Alexander Technique expert who specialized with musicians.

Also, as far as the tension issues, how long exactly are you practicing, and is it purely technique based stuff? That tension in the arm may suggest that you are focusing on certain aspects for longer than you should be, or that you should at least space it out a bit - how long does it take for this tension to develop?
I was bad with usernames at age 12. Ah woe.
Last edited by IgnoreThis at Dec 29, 2013,
#19
Quote by IgnoreThis
Not sure about the back thing. Maybe if you've been slouching when playing in the past, it's your body getting accustomed to a new habit? I have plenty of students who have found certain aspects of correct posture weird to begin with, but after time the benefits became evident. Perhaps try playing guitar with your back against a wall? I had that recommended to me by an Alexander Technique expert who specialized with musicians.

Also, as far as the tension issues, how long exactly are you practicing, and is it purely technique based stuff? That tension in the arm may suggest that you are focusing on certain aspects for longer than you should be, or that you should at least space it out a bit - how long does it take for this tension to develop?

Yeah. It might be me getting accustomed to the new habit.
Another theory I've been on is that I generally have bad posture when sitting at the PC, which has "weakened" my back. I've bought a yoga-ball and will be using that when at the computer. Hopefully it can help me as well.

As for the arm tension, I think PunchSlap has a good theory/describing what is happening well. The tensions start after only 15-30 minutes, and it does not matter what I am practicing