#1
And does it matter whether im standing or sitting? I've been playing a year and a half, so it's pretty bad I should be asking this question.
#2
Quote by panman36
And does it matter whether im standing or sitting? I've been playing a year and a half, so it's pretty bad I should be asking this question.


By "see strings", do you mean to look down at the strings to know which one you're playing? or...?

If you look down to see your strings, I'd say that's okay. I do it occasionally too. I guess on a 6 string, its easy to know most of the time which string you're playing by hearing the sound. on 7-12 stringed guitars, I'd say its a lot harder to know (though I've never played anything other than 6 strings, so I don't know)
#3
Well, I'd say yes - even if you can play something well, you'll probably have to look at the strings or the fretboard every now and then to see exactly what you're doing. If you're playing something challenging, you'll be looking at them a lot.

As for standing or sitting, depends - if you plan to play live, better get used to playing standing up, as it's usually a bit more difficult (or far more difficult if you're really into having your guitar strap at your ankles). If you don't, and you don't like playing standing up, you can probably just skip it altogether.
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#4
Well I mean should the guitar be positioned to where I can see all 6 strings? This is how I've been playing for a year and a half (sitting down). I find that when I stand up, the guitar is at an angle to where I can't actually see the strings, just the dots along the fretboard. I wonder if this is how it is supposed to be positioned or am I doing something wrong?
#5
I've been recently working on having the guitar straight against my body, as you described in the latter part of your post and I would recommend doing this. I've spent years playing my guitar sitting at an angle so I can see all the strings and I'm starting to believe it has negatively affected my technique. So I'd recommend holding it properly.
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#6
I would practice with sitting and standing. As you have no doubt realized the guitar rests slightly different when standing so you might have to get used to different positions. Also I try to not rely on always looking at the fretboard. Its fun to go by feeling and sound rather than head down and power through.
You should be able to transition from sitting to standing without making large adjustments. If you need to make large adjustments then you might be holding the guitar improperly.
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#7
Don't worry about it at this stage; do what works and what makes you feel comfortable. Over the longer haul, though, you will rely less and less on being able to see where the strings (and your finger positions) are because you will develop more sophisticated muscle memory. It just happens. Ultimately, you should adopt a good, straight backed playing posture whether you are sitting or standing. This will tend to pull the frets and strings out of your immediate vision, but you will not feel the need to see them.

To get a sense of really efficient playing posture, hop over to youtube and watch some vids of professional classical guitar players. Notice their body mechanics. You will see a traditional seated position with the left knee elevated higher than the right, and the instrument appearing to be balanced on the left leg (not the right). It looks a little contrived at first, but this is the playing position that allows your body to be at rest while you concentrate on performance. The hands are positioned a bit forward so the fingertips naturally approach the fretboard from a nearly perpendicular angle. The straight back allows playing for longer stretches without fatigue and so forth.

While it's a stretch to recommend that a relatively new player "must" adopt this position (particularly without having a good instructor to help learn what the position is), it's worth remembering that this is a really efficient and low-energy use of body mechanics. The closer you can come to emulating it - comfortably - the better your long term progress will be.

So that's a goal - not for today, but as something to attain gradually along with all the other great stuff you're picking up about the instrument. And seeing or not seeing the strings? In the end it won't matter much. I've been playing for over 40 years and I still look. You'll find a comfortable, healthy posture by learning basic body mechanics and that fits just fine into the "do what works" category.
Last edited by CaffeinatedOne at May 3, 2016,
#8
Quote by ChemicalFire
I've been recently working on having the guitar straight against my body, as you described in the latter part of your post and I would recommend doing this. I've spent years playing my guitar sitting at an angle so I can see all the strings and I'm starting to believe it has negatively affected my technique. So I'd recommend holding it properly.


yeah. You know what I'm talking about. This is why I made this thread. I've always played this way. While it is nice to see the strings, I feel like holding the guitar at this angle might create some difficulty, and might explain why I've struggled SOO much playing barre chords smoothly, among other things.

So can others verify this? Are you supposed to hold the guitar perpendicular to the floor (whether standing or sitting), making you unable to see the strings?
#9
Quote by bobafettacheese

You should be able to transition from sitting to standing without making large adjustments. If you need to make large adjustments then you might be holding the guitar improperly.


Well yeah that was my point. When I stand up it's a very big adjustment because I couldn't look at the strings anymore, which I was always used to doing. but i also felt like it freed some things up
#10
I've been playing for over 40 years and I still look.*


Oh so are you saying then that your guitar is perched slanted upward a bit so you can see the strings?

Thanks for the advice. I am an aspiring performer so I do need to learn to play standing up.
Last edited by panman36 at May 3, 2016,
#11
Quote by panman36
Oh so are you saying then that your guitar is perched slanted upward a bit so you can see the strings?

Thanks for the advice. I am an aspiring performer so I do need to learn to play standing up.

It's dynamic - it changes. I don't even notice most of the time. But yes, I peek a lot. My point is that while there are good playing positions, the rules are there to help - they're not rigid. So the thrust of my post was more "do what works" and remain mindful that better posture will involve less strain than otherwise.

I learned this a few years ago when I started doing solo gigging, where I was performing standing up. So I started practicing standing up as well and ran into the same thing you're describing, except I guess that for me it was extreme. I muddled my way through for a while until I started getting shooting pains and numbness in my left arm, little finger and thumb. Scared the tar out of me, but with some help I learned that the problem was posture: I slouched when I played. The guitar strap pressed against a pressure point in my spine just below the base of my neck, and with enough time, it started to shut down nerves in my left arm. Made me think I was having a cardiac event or something. So I learned to stand up straight and the problem disappeared pretty much instantly. YMMV, but that's my story.
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Last edited by CaffeinatedOne at May 3, 2016,
#12
I've found that a good exercise is to practice with my eyes closed. It's a little like mindfulness meditation as it forces you to pay attention to the news you're getting from your fingers and your ears. It also helped me realize that, while I looked at my strings a lot, I didn't really need to all that much.
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banjers, dulcimers, other noismakers, PA gear and back trouble
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Last edited by CaffeinatedOne at May 3, 2016,
#13
Quote by CaffeinatedOne
I've found that a good exercise is to practice with my eyes closed. It's a little like mindfulness meditation as it forces you to pay attention to the news you're getting from your fingers and your ears. It also helped me realize that, while I looked at my strings a lot, I didn't really need to all that much.


Well if you are able to see your strings then I guess you're holding the guitar the way I always have, facing up slightly. That is more what my question is aimed at. Whether that is the correct position to play?

And if there's a way to see them standing up, then I might need live help. Because the way I have my strap, doesn't allow me to do so
Last edited by panman36 at May 3, 2016,
#14
Technique wise, it's better to have it quite perpendicular. Just hold out your left hand in playing position without the guitar and see what happens when you change the angle. See what changes the most? Your wrist, so having it tilted back can put more strain on your wrist not only making it more painful but might make playing more difficult.

That said, it's not like you can't make it work with playing with that angle or that it has to be perfectly perpendicular. It still varies from individual to individual but generally, it's best not to have the neck tilted too much.
#15
You shouldn't really be able to see the strings when you play, and you shouldn't need to.

It's not uncommon to need to check your hand position from time to time but you should be able to do that with a quick glance at the top of the neck - even simpler if your guitar has side markers. However you shouldn't need to look at the guitar to see which string to play, only to check which fret your hand is based at.
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#16
All the above is good advice. I'll throw another variable into this. I am a guitar player who sings. I suppose you can look at the neck as much as you want during a lead but if I am singing I can't be looking down at my guitar because I will move my mouth away from the microphone. I do take the occasional glance at the fret markers on the binding if I move to a different chord that is not close to where I am playing but most of the time I don't look at the neck much.
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