Any thoughts on playing posture?

Ergonomics and Posture for Classical Guitarists, Aches and Pains, Injuries, etc...
Brett

Re: Any thoughts on playing posture?

Post by Brett » Wed Mar 18, 2015 2:52 pm

lagartija wrote:Are you looking at the fretboard? If you are reading music, where is the music located?
When I'm learning a piece, I spend time looking at a screen which sits about eye level. After I've committed it to memory, I suppose I spend a good amount of time looking at the fret board.

User avatar
BugDog
Posts: 1065
Joined: Wed Oct 03, 2007 4:07 pm
Location: Northern KY USA

Re: Any thoughts on playing posture?

Post by BugDog » Wed Mar 18, 2015 4:23 pm

Maybe you're holding your right elbow up/out/pointed to the right. I've done that in the past and it tenses a muscle about where you describe the discomfort.

I try to just let the right arm "hang" straight down, almost hanging off the fretboard.
BugDog
There's one in every crowd.

User avatar
lagartija
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 10171
Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2009 5:37 pm
Location: Western Massachusetts, USA

Re: Any thoughts on playing posture?

Post by lagartija » Thu Mar 19, 2015 1:38 am

The other day I was looking at my fingers on the fretboard during a technical exercise. After about 15 minutes, I had that nagging pain just like you describe under my right scapula. As soon as I stopped looking at the fretboard, the pain subsided. It wasn't just that I was turning my head to the left...I was leaning my head a bit forward (off axis) and turning it to the left. I often look at the fretboard and this doesn't happen, but obviously that day it wasn't ok. I realized that I haven't been to yoga practice for a month... so I went today. ;-) It helps me keep a better awareness of the support I'm using for my actions. The fact that I didn't notice until I felt this discomfort is my signal that I need to reawaken my awareness.

As an inquiry, notice what you do with your shoulders when you look at the fretboard. Notice if you are leaning your head forward. This sort of position can cause all sorts of problems (back and neck pain) if you are not using enough core strength to support your torso and not supporting your head and shoulders properly with your muscles. Maybe it is a good time to take a deep breath and check in on your body's signals. :-)
When the sun shines, bask.
__/^^^^^o>
Classical Guitar forever!

User avatar
AndreiKrylov
Posts: 1760
Joined: Tue Jan 27, 2009 9:22 pm
Location: Canada, USA, Mexico, Portugal, Spain

Re: Any thoughts on playing posture?

Post by AndreiKrylov » Thu Mar 19, 2015 8:38 am

Why not to try to use strap and stand with guitar?
I have no pain in my back from guitar playing. Not even small pain, nothing.
At the same time I have osteochondrosis back problem for last 20 years.
and If I sit - I have pain, but standing I could be extremely concentrated and productive.
I composed and recorded thousands of pieces for guitar this way.
Try it,maybe it would help!
Good luck
I'd better speak by music...Please listen it on Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, etc. Thanks!

User avatar
isaacfe
Posts: 139
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:42 pm
Location: Caracas, Venezuela.

Re: Any thoughts on playing posture?

Post by isaacfe » Tue Mar 31, 2015 5:35 pm

Most of us try to find magic "easy" solutions to get back pain relief. There are hundreds of different devices out in the market waiting for us that may or may not help. Personally I believe that most people will feel much better doing physical exercises. Either at the gym supervised by a reliable trainer or by swimming. As with all other type of sports some sort of muscular training is needed to tolerate the long periods of sitting required by guitar playing.
2012 Ramon Blanco Cedar/Rosewood. 650 mm.
2015 Ramon Blanco German Spruce/Rosewood. 650 mm.
2016 Edgar Perez Cedar/Rosewood. 650 mm.
2016 Edgar Perez 8 strings Spruce/Cocobolo. 650 mm.
http://ve.linkedin.com/pub/isaac-feuerberg/18/4b6/730/

Keith
Posts: 1241
Joined: Sun May 06, 2012 5:48 pm
Location: Land of Daniel Boone

Re: Any thoughts on playing posture?

Post by Keith » Tue Mar 31, 2015 6:49 pm

Although regular and proper exercise is a definite benefit to the spine there are too many activities in our lives that are deleterious to the spine. Sitting probably ranks as the top regular insult to the spine. Using a foot stool is a device that is not conducive for good spine health as it puts the body out of alignment and over time can be destructive. A guitar support can be a "magic bullet" as it prevents the body from being placed in a bad position. The key to good spine health: avoid trauma, do not sit for long hours each and every day, exercise regularly and avoid awkward positions such as using a guitar stool each and every day. In addition, if you must sit try to sit at a 135 degree angle. There is a body of research that suggests 135 degrees (angled backwards) is better than 90 degrees. Unfortunately this angle is not conducive to guitar playing or working. Of course there are a few folks who will never develop back problems who use a stool as there are a few cigarette smokers who never get cancer or heart disease.
be true to the one you love but have many flings with different guitars

guitarras en la espiritu de la:
Marcelo Barbero
Jose Ramirez III

roscoetuff
Posts: 42
Joined: Tue Jan 27, 2015 2:07 am
Location: "The Land of Pleasant Living"

Re: Any thoughts on playing posture?

Post by roscoetuff » Tue Mar 31, 2015 8:53 pm

Don't think it's been suggested... but maybe you might want to see if there is an Alexander Technique teacher in your area. I've never been down that road... but I've wanted to. Give it a shot.
Cheers,
Skip (Roscoetuff)

User avatar
isaacfe
Posts: 139
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:42 pm
Location: Caracas, Venezuela.

Re: Any thoughts on playing posture?

Post by isaacfe » Tue Mar 31, 2015 10:40 pm

Even if there is a body of research suggesting that 135 degrees angle backwards is the "best position" the fact is that for our needs as guitarist it doesn't help us other than when we sit comfortable watching films of those who we like best. The point is that most cases of guitarists back pain is not due to discs or degenerative spinal disease (hopefully) but is muscle and soft tissue related. I am not against "magic bullets". I am just a believer that a fit back is the way to go. It definitively helped me and I want to share my experience with the rest of our group.
2012 Ramon Blanco Cedar/Rosewood. 650 mm.
2015 Ramon Blanco German Spruce/Rosewood. 650 mm.
2016 Edgar Perez Cedar/Rosewood. 650 mm.
2016 Edgar Perez 8 strings Spruce/Cocobolo. 650 mm.
http://ve.linkedin.com/pub/isaac-feuerberg/18/4b6/730/

User avatar
bear
Posts: 3625
Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2012 10:55 pm
Location: Massachusetts

Re: Any thoughts on playing posture?

Post by bear » Tue Mar 31, 2015 11:24 pm

Brett wrote:I can't seem to find a posture that doesn't cause upper back pain. I get a pain just below my right shoulder blade after playing for 20 minutes or so.

I've tried a foot stool and my Gitano support, tried a super straight back, hunched over and a few in between. I guess I was hoping someone had a silver bullet :D Or maybe someone that has been in a similar situation that managed to over come it.

Thanks!

-Brett
It took me almost 2 years to find the right position. I started in a recliner (broken back). I now use a straight back wooden chair with a thick gel cushion to sit on, several throw pillows and a lumbar support behind my back.
2013 Jeff Medlin '37 Hauser 640mm sp
2006 Michele Della Giustina Concert 10 string 650mm ce
2005 Jose Ramirez 4E 650mm ce
2005 Manuel Rodriguez Model C3F 650mm sp
2003 Manuel Rodriguez Model D 650mm ce

User avatar
isaacfe
Posts: 139
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:42 pm
Location: Caracas, Venezuela.

Re: Any thoughts on playing posture?

Post by isaacfe » Wed Apr 01, 2015 12:28 am

Brett wrote:I can't seem to find a posture that doesn't cause upper back pain. I get a pain just below my right shoulder blade after playing for 20 minutes or so.

I've tried a foot stool and my Gitano support, tried a super straight back, hunched over and a few in between. I guess I was hoping someone had a silver bullet :D Or maybe someone that has been in a similar situation that managed to over come it.

Thanks!

-Brett
Pain below the shoulder blade may be secondary to a lower cervical root compression by a small osseous excrescence at the C6-C7 vertebral body. I don't have a silver bullet but I do have a silver scalpel. :)
2012 Ramon Blanco Cedar/Rosewood. 650 mm.
2015 Ramon Blanco German Spruce/Rosewood. 650 mm.
2016 Edgar Perez Cedar/Rosewood. 650 mm.
2016 Edgar Perez 8 strings Spruce/Cocobolo. 650 mm.
http://ve.linkedin.com/pub/isaac-feuerberg/18/4b6/730/

Keith
Posts: 1241
Joined: Sun May 06, 2012 5:48 pm
Location: Land of Daniel Boone

Re: Any thoughts on playing posture?

Post by Keith » Wed Apr 01, 2015 2:44 pm

The back like non-back health really boils down to risk factors and, if you will, "anti-risk" factors. For this discussion, exercise, i.e., a strong back/stomach/core, would be an "anti-risk" factor whereas a foot stool is considered by many to be a risk factor. There is no doubt that a strong back/stomach/core is the way to go--no argument from me there but likewise not using a stool is the way to go as well.
be true to the one you love but have many flings with different guitars

guitarras en la espiritu de la:
Marcelo Barbero
Jose Ramirez III

Kirkland Gavin
Posts: 183
Joined: Sat Mar 14, 2015 5:09 am
Location: Curlew, Washington

Re: Any thoughts on playing posture?

Post by Kirkland Gavin » Thu Apr 02, 2015 2:51 am

there are a few good images online of how to hold the guitar properly weather sitting or standing. With the guitar on the left leg or right.
Yes exorcise helps and strengthening your core will help a lot just simple exorcises that I learned in physical therapy, and yes it works about 45 min a day.
On playing are you relaxed and comfortable. is your fretting hand correct and placement of your fingers. You don't need a lot of pressure or pressing down to hard. Your picking hand is it a relaxed and correct position for you it should be a natural placement so you don't develop tendinitis, that goes for both hands.
I have found myself tensing up when playing something hard to play or difficult weather it is my right leg or upper back Some of it is mental training your mind and fingers to do something that it isn't use to doing.
I have been working on holding the guitar properly that enables me to play naturally without any tenseness cause that will hinder your playing a lot.
with anything you should always warm up.

User avatar
AndreiKrylov
Posts: 1760
Joined: Tue Jan 27, 2009 9:22 pm
Location: Canada, USA, Mexico, Portugal, Spain

Re: Any thoughts on playing posture?

Post by AndreiKrylov » Fri Apr 24, 2015 1:59 am

I apologise for repeating myself - but why not try to stand with guitar?
If I myself would sit with guitar during last 30 years - I probably would 10% of what I was able to do...and would have a lot of pain too... yet I have none, no pain at all from guitar playing...
Certainly not everybody could stand, people have certain health problems, overweight etc. but many who could, yet they would not even try, just because it is not look like proper "classical guitar position" and you have to have two small holes in guitar...
But guitar is just a tool! Tool to create music! and music created the best when we feel relaxed and concentrated not on our pain and stress, but just on sound, imagination and inspiration!
I'd better speak by music...Please listen it on Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, etc. Thanks!

Return to “Ergonomics and Posture for Classical Guitarists”