Holding the guitar near-vertical

Ergonomics and Posture for Classical Guitarists, Aches and Pains, Injuries, etc...
Marlene Finch
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Re: Holding the guitar near-vertical

Post by Marlene Finch » Fri Jan 26, 2018 9:58 pm

Stephen Kenyon wrote:
Fri Jan 26, 2018 8:09 pm
Marlene Finch wrote:
Fri Jan 26, 2018 4:33 am
...
I'm a complete novice here, but I found your posts about posture and guitar positioning very interesting.
In the line directly below, I'm quoting another post (but can't figure out exactly how to use the quote function :roll:
"The catalogue of players incapacitated by traditional posture is considerable. "
Can you tell me more about this....?
That was me :)

Greetings Steve, Thank you so much for your response.
Here I go trying the quote function........ :D
"....Some of them will have picked up difficulties related to posture which may well only start to kick in and hurt badly in their 30s or 40s.
Equally, a high proportion of even the still successful ones will at some stage experience some postural issues and/or over-use issues, again often after a couple of decades in the job."

OK, so it looks like this is a problem that will never concern me. I have no ambitions to stage performance, indeed, I'm still working on "Old Mac Donald."
Plus, I'm already older than zip codes :D

I am intrigued by the "almost vertical" position as well as the end point that "Intune" mentioned.

As for using a cheap guitar to try the end point, no problem here. I'm pretty sure that I'm holding the least expensive guitar known to humankind. :wink:
Also, it looks as though I will have to work a little on the whole quote thing.
Thank You Again!
Cheers!
Marlene

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Stephen Kenyon
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Re: Holding the guitar near-vertical

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Fri Jan 26, 2018 10:11 pm

Marlene Finch wrote:
Fri Jan 26, 2018 9:58 pm
...
Also, it looks as though I will have to work a little on the whole quote thing.
...
'Fraid so! :?
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Conall
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Re: Holding the guitar near-vertical

Post by Conall » Fri Jan 26, 2018 10:53 pm

I used a footstool for about 20 years. I'm convinced it's one of the reasons for my back pain. Ever since I switched to a guitar support my back has felt better & I could never go back to the footstool (my back pain returns if I do).

I did toy with a Paul Galbraith posture but while I never adopted it (I didn't want to damage my good guitar with an end pin!) Ihave noticed that my guitar support now works best for me at it's highest setting, especially for serious practice.

As a guitar teacher the long term (back / posture) health of pupils is a concern too and while I do ask young beginners to buy & use a footstool (because it's a lot cheaper & a bit easier to use than a guitar support) I always strongly recommend they swop it for a guitar support when they start practicing for longer periods.

The actual angle of the guitar is not as important for good posture as a straight back & level shoulders and, as has already been mentioned, gravity is a daft argument against the cello position.

And the Galbraith position avoids the arm rest issue some guitarists have. It also shows great control of the right arm & a lack of superfluous tension (probably the reason for some guitarists' arm rest issue!).

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LarryShone
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Re: Holding the guitar near-vertical

Post by LarryShone » Sun Jan 28, 2018 11:15 am

Endpin with a guitar? Interesting idea
Surround yourself with people dear James, they are easier to fight for than principles.
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Intune
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Re: Holding the guitar near-vertical

Post by Intune » Sun Jan 28, 2018 11:18 am

LarryShone wrote:
Endpin with a guitar? Interesting idea
Where have you been? Check out Paul Galbraith's videos on YouTube.
Intune
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LarryShone
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Re: Holding the guitar near-vertical

Post by LarryShone » Sun Jan 28, 2018 11:26 am

Intune wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 11:18 am
LarryShone wrote:
Endpin with a guitar? Interesting idea
Where have you been? Check out Paul Galbraith's videos on YouTube.
I'm kind of out of the loop when it comes to classical guitar. I don't know much about it and its players.
Surround yourself with people dear James, they are easier to fight for than principles.
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Victoria Ferrell
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What works for you?

Post by Victoria Ferrell » Thu Mar 08, 2018 4:47 pm

The topic of ergonomics in guitar playing fascinates me in part because I am very tall and in part because 45 years of life have taught me that one really should "lift with their legs." :D My understanding is that the bottom of the guitar rests between the legs and the headstock should be at such an angle that it is parallel to the top of the head. I have also seen that a footstool or some other support is utilized to achieve this guitar position. When it comes to positioning oneself in such a way as to allow the left hand to easily do its work and the right hand to freely access the strings in a relaxed way, what do all of you recommend? What has worked for you? What about you taller folks? I am 6'1" so I tend to have to work with slightly different ergonomics.
I don't want to play like other guitarists; I want to give voice to the song of my own soul.

ronjazz
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Re: Holding the guitar near-vertical

Post by ronjazz » Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:53 am

You may want to try a strap, even for a sitting posture. Your height might counsel against the footstool, but try some books or a coffee can under your left leg and see what it feels like. Don't worry about what anybody else does, find a way that is comfortable and allows all the mechanics to work. the footstool can hurt people, but it doesn't always. I've never had any trouble in over 50 years, but I still play standing with a strap for a nice change in ergonomics and some movement below, and I find it quite comfortable when performing jazz styles, prefer seated with footstool for classical. The lower curve fits into the left leg, the bout rests on the right, check out some you tubes, find Fred Hand's excellent older video to get started.
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opat
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Re: Holding the guitar near-vertical

Post by opat » Fri Mar 16, 2018 3:54 am

I play in a very traditional way with the guitar neck almost parallel to the floor but I am seeing more and more students come to me playing with the neck pointing to ceiling. What ever works best for the player i say.

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kloeten
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Re: Holding the guitar near-vertical

Post by kloeten » Fri Mar 16, 2018 10:54 am

woodenhand wrote:
Fri Jan 26, 2018 1:37 am
Out of curiosity I tried this way of holding the guitar. My observations (which may not apply to others):
1. This seems very natural for the right hand. I found a hand posture immediately.
2. For the left hand, gravity simply is not a problem. I can't imagine why it would be.
3. I found it hard to get enough leverage to hold a barre. It seems that a different left-arm posture is needed.
On observations 2 and 3 - I would assume you would need to rotate the wrist of the LH in this position, which would make fretting uncomfortable?

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twang
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Re: Holding the guitar near-vertical

Post by twang » Fri Mar 16, 2018 2:26 pm

How about holding it cello style?
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woodenhand
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Re: Holding the guitar near-vertical

Post by woodenhand » Sat Mar 17, 2018 3:49 am

kloeten wrote:
Fri Mar 16, 2018 10:54 am
woodenhand wrote:
Fri Jan 26, 2018 1:37 am
Out of curiosity I tried this way of holding the guitar. My observations (which may not apply to others):
1. This seems very natural for the right hand. I found a hand posture immediately.
2. For the left hand, gravity simply is not a problem. I can't imagine why it would be.
3. I found it hard to get enough leverage to hold a barre. It seems that a different left-arm posture is needed.
On observations 2 and 3 - I would assume you would need to rotate the wrist of the LH in this position, which would make fretting uncomfortable?
I suspect you are right. Since then I haven't done any experimenting, but these days I do find myself (unconsciously) holding the neck at a steeper angle. And my right hand is working better, too. It seems something good did come of this flirtation.

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fretter
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Re: Holding the guitar near-vertical

Post by fretter » Tue Mar 20, 2018 6:09 am

prawnheed wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2018 2:20 am

I generally use a baked bean tin for a footstool. I used to use an old paint tin, but as I've gotten older I've found the bean tin to suit me better. I expect to progress to a small tin of sweetcorn later in life.
LOL! I love this.

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fretter
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Re: Holding the guitar near-vertical

Post by fretter » Tue Mar 20, 2018 7:20 am

When I first learned CG, before dirt existed, the underlying influence of position was Segovia. My teachers were more concerned about clear and steady tones, rhythm, left and right hand positions etc. Ignore discomfort, stay in position and play. I didn't like cocking my wrist as instructed, so it's a relief to see a more neutral wrist now. I wish I had access to a teacher to correct the less helpful habits I acquired.

As I begin again, I can't seem to find a comfortable position. I have a long torso and long arms (excessive monkey genes), so trying to angle the headstock to the height of my head doesn't work. It's hard to believe what a few decades will do to what what was once limber and forgiving, all the way from waist to fingertips.

I often wondered why guitars weren't played vertically, and now that I see it in action, it makes sense. I like it, even though I'll be restricted to non-vertical strategies for the time being. Ergonomics wasn't on the radar back then. My teachers expected there to be pain for the sake of art. This was one reason I gave up classical guitar in favor of acoustic. I'm glad the times have changed and there's more concern for the player. But I do need to work on my posture, with and without the guitar. lol No getting around that.

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Re: Holding the guitar near-vertical

Post by guit-box » Wed Mar 21, 2018 1:27 pm

Angel Romero is a great player, but many of these modern players who play with a more vertical position have a better and more natural technique than he does. In college I remember hearing that he said a player could not be a virtuoso if their right hand index finger was shorter than the a finger. I don't know if this was a true quote or not, but many virtuoso players have index fingers shorter than their a fingers, so this is clearly false. I would advise students not to take one persons opinion as dogma, try everything, always re-evaluate, be willing to change, but do what works for you.
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