Why not stand with the guitar?

Ergonomics and Posture for Classical Guitarists, Aches and Pains, Injuries, etc...
ronjazz
Posts: 813
Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2011 11:10 pm

Re: Why not stand with the guitar?

Post by ronjazz » Tue Mar 04, 2014 11:46 pm

While drilling holes in your guitar might be a problem for some, I found some plastic hooks that attack with double-sided tape that work very well for using a strap.
The brand "Command" includes double sided tape that removes easily, with no scarring or residue, and sticks well enough to hold a solid-body electric guitar, somewhat heavier than most any classical. Worth a try at about $4.00.
Lester Devoe Flamenco Negra
Lester Devoe Flamenco Blanca
Aparicio Flamenco Blanca with RMC pickup
Bartolex 7-string with RMC pickup
Giannini 7-string with Shadow pickup
Sal Pace 7-string archtop

Marc Pilon

Re: Why not stand with the guitar?

Post by Marc Pilon » Thu Mar 06, 2014 1:59 am

As someone who's experiencing some back problems after playing for a while (after an hour or so), I've tried various approaches.

While sitting, the dynarette works well and brings the guitar to a good playing height. But even after an hour or so, my back needs a break.

Recently, I've purchased a Godin Encore nylon string guitar, which I play standing with a strap. So far, this is the best option for my back: I can move around while standing, and the guitar itself--being thinner than a regular guitar--doesn't require me to have my right arm extended over the lower bout so much.

The guitar itself is fun to play: incredible access up the higher frets, wonderful action (almost like an electric) and great sound amplified (although a different sound strictly speaking from a regular classical). Also, because the body is chambered, it's a great practice instrument unplugged: it puts out a surprising amount of sound unamplified, but not to the point that it would bother the neighbours.

To get back (no pun intended!) to the topic, however, I think a lot of the points that Andrei makes are certainly valid for me: standing really makes a difference in my case and it promotes moving around, which is also very helpful in avoiding a static position.

The only problem with Andrei's suggestions is dancing with the music: he's right of course, but in conservative classical circles that would be anathema. :mrgreen:

Cheers,

Marc

AndreiKrylov

Re: Why not stand with the guitar?

Post by AndreiKrylov » Wed Apr 02, 2014 3:50 pm

Thanks for your interesting comment, Marc!
Sure everybody must dance when playing guitar, according with the style of music played!!! :)
(joke)
I just trying to say that it is feel better to move freely rather than standing still.. standing still like a statue is not what I'm promoting here...
Marc Pilon wrote:As someone who's experiencing some back problems after playing for a while (after an hour or so), I've tried various approaches.

While sitting, the dynarette works well and brings the guitar to a good playing height. But even after an hour or so, my back needs a break.

Recently, I've purchased a Godin Encore nylon string guitar, which I play standing with a strap. So far, this is the best option for my back: I can move around while standing, and the guitar itself--being thinner than a regular guitar--doesn't require me to have my right arm extended over the lower bout so much.

The guitar itself is fun to play: incredible access up the higher frets, wonderful action (almost like an electric) and great sound amplified (although a different sound strictly speaking from a regular classical). Also, because the body is chambered, it's a great practice instrument unplugged: it puts out a surprising amount of sound unamplified, but not to the point that it would bother the neighbours.

To get back (no pun intended!) to the topic, however, I think a lot of the points that Andrei makes are certainly valid for me: standing really makes a difference in my case and it promotes moving around, which is also very helpful in avoiding a static position.

The only problem with Andrei's suggestions is dancing with the music: he's right of course, but in conservative classical circles that would be anathema. :mrgreen:

Cheers,

Marc

ronjazz
Posts: 813
Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2011 11:10 pm

Re: Why not stand with the guitar?

Post by ronjazz » Sat Apr 12, 2014 11:09 am

Well, I've just "discovered" the highly successful, very musical, extremely accomplished Katona Twins in their new
stances, which happens to be standing while wearing cutaway Ramirez guitars with wireless pickups. They actually
have a loose sort of choreography in their presentation, more like the Rolling Stones than any classical approach,
but, from what I've seen on YouTube, these brothers are playing to huge crowds, have orchestral accompaniment,
and appear to play virtually anything they want to enthusiastic receptions. As for musicianship, they are far superior
to most of the over-produced, over-hyped crossover performers touring the world, and really have developed a
remarkable act and, I would assume, equally remarkable incomes. Clearly, standing while playing the classical
guitar is no barrier to success.
Lester Devoe Flamenco Negra
Lester Devoe Flamenco Blanca
Aparicio Flamenco Blanca with RMC pickup
Bartolex 7-string with RMC pickup
Giannini 7-string with Shadow pickup
Sal Pace 7-string archtop

AndreiKrylov

Re: Why not stand with the guitar?

Post by AndreiKrylov » Mon May 19, 2014 5:09 pm

ronjazz wrote:Well, I've just "discovered" the highly successful, very musical, extremely accomplished Katona Twins in their new
stances, which happens to be standing while wearing cutaway Ramirez guitars with wireless pickups. They actually
have a loose sort of choreography in their presentation, more like the Rolling Stones than any classical approach,
but, from what I've seen on YouTube, these brothers are playing to huge crowds, have orchestral accompaniment,
and appear to play virtually anything they want to enthusiastic receptions. As for musicianship, they are far superior
to most of the over-produced, over-hyped crossover performers touring the world, and really have developed a
remarkable act and, I would assume, equally remarkable incomes. Clearly, standing while playing the classical
guitar is no barrier to success.

Thanks Ron,

Yes they could play nice classical guitar duos.
Hopefully everybody will have same opinion as you and it (standing position) would be accepted as another normal, standard classical guitar position.

kenaces

Re: Why not stand with the guitar?

Post by kenaces » Wed Jun 18, 2014 6:26 pm

Great discussion :)

I am shopping around now for a shorter scale guitar and have been considering a romantic guitar for the shorter scale, ability do spend some of my practice time standing, and to position the left hand closer to my body(dealing with some shoulder/arm issues). Now that I see others standing with "standard" classical guitar I am rethinking a bit.

Can anyone share some thoughts/experiences playing standing with "standard" classical vs romantic guitar. How much does the small size of romantic help in achieving good positioning when standing? Is the weight of the instrument a factor worth considering?

Thanks in advance

AndreiKrylov

Re: Why not stand with the guitar?

Post by AndreiKrylov » Thu Jun 19, 2014 4:50 pm

I play short scale guitar too from time to time. 550 mm appr., with strap too, as my other instruments...as far as weight of full size or shortscale classical guitar normally difference is not that big, therefore it is probably not as important as different in size..
I use it for specific sound color possibilities, not because of ergonomics.
but I should say thet It feels easier for my body and especially when I have pain in my joints or in my back... I have both osteochondrosis and arthritus now, I am 55 and it is in my genes too, I also have to do a lot of hard physical labour when I was younger...
the most important thing for me is that playing and working standing with the strap helps me to do immense amount of creative musical work which anybody could see and hear if they go and check my music work on www, on spotify, itunes etc.
But if try to work sitting I am losing concentration and feel tired very fast thus unable to do half as much as I could do when I stand...pain also coming very soon when I sit, especially in classical footstool position...
interesting that when i was young in my 20s or 30s, then I could sit and play sitting in standard position and did not feel any difference really with standing ...but nowadays difference is big.
So yes you could try smaller guitar it would help to deal with problems arising from size of large instrument and necessity to use more strength and stretching playing it, but sound color would be a bit different too...smaller, almost comparable with the size of guitar..
kenaces wrote:Great discussion :)

I am shopping around now for a shorter scale guitar and have been considering a romantic guitar for the shorter scale, ability do spend some of my practice time standing, and to position the left hand closer to my body(dealing with some shoulder/arm issues). Now that I see others standing with "standard" classical guitar I am rethinking a bit.

Can anyone share some thoughts/experiences playing standing with "standard" classical vs romantic guitar. How much does the small size of romantic help in achieving good positioning when standing? Is the weight of the instrument a factor worth considering?

Thanks in advance

kenaces

Re: Why not stand with the guitar?

Post by kenaces » Sun Jun 22, 2014 3:46 am

thanks

Will standing with a strap hurt a romantic guitar if the strap attaches to the headstock?

AndreiKrylov

Re: Why not stand with the guitar?

Post by AndreiKrylov » Sun Jun 22, 2014 11:33 pm

kenaces wrote:thanks

Will standing with a strap hurt a romantic guitar if the strap attaches to the headstock?
I do not play with strap attached to headstock... I tried it and found guitar unstable and thus less convenient to play...I use buttons for strap this way guitar is very stable and not moving anywhere.

Scot Tremblay
Luthier
Posts: 4217
Joined: Tue Aug 24, 2010 3:18 pm
Location: Victoria, BC, Canada

Re: Why not stand with the guitar?

Post by Scot Tremblay » Mon Jun 23, 2014 1:34 am

I agree with Andrei that a strap attached to the head of a modern size guitar feels unstable. But I actually prefer that feeling of movement allowed to the guitar but everyone is different.

Bare in mind, the 19th century guitar is a fair bit smaller than modern so doesn't suffer nearly as much from that "unstable feeling". A solution could be as I mentioned on a different thread, put the pins in the end block and the heel block through the back. This is often how arch top guitars are set up and although can feel a little cramped on the 19th century guitar, it's a very stable position. As I said on the other thread, don't put the pin through the 19th century guitar heel. The heel on those guitars is much smaller than modern classicals so don't contain enough wood to support a hole drilled into them the same as a modern instrument can...in this case size does matter! Trust me on this one, I've had to repair this very thing more than necessary.
Scot Tremblay Guitars

"One picture is worth a thousand words. So, for me, one good note put where it should be put, will say what it will take some people many notes to say. ~B.B. King, 1986

AndreiKrylov

Re: Why not stand with the guitar?

Post by AndreiKrylov » Mon Jun 23, 2014 10:06 pm

Thanks Scot for great input!
I apologise that I did not gave exact answer to Kenaces question, but from my point of view if the guitar is unstable than it is more difficult to play and if guitar would suddenly slip or turn it could lead potentially to some damage ...
Scot brought very good point about size of the heel...
I use modern instruments some of my guitars are very small, but they made by luthiers recently according to my requests and specifications, therefore they built for use of buttons or pins. If heel is very small and delicate than it certainly demands delicate approach.
Good luck, Kenaces!
Scot Tremblay wrote:I agree with Andrei that a strap attached to the head of a modern size guitar feels unstable. But I actually prefer that feeling of movement allowed to the guitar but everyone is different.

Bare in mind, the 19th century guitar is a fair bit smaller than modern so doesn't suffer nearly as much from that "unstable feeling". A solution could be as I mentioned on a different thread, put the pins in the end block and the heel block through the back. This is often how arch top guitars are set up and although can feel a little cramped on the 19th century guitar, it's a very stable position. As I said on the other thread, don't put the pin through the 19th century guitar heel. The heel on those guitars is much smaller than modern classicals so don't contain enough wood to support a hole drilled into them the same as a modern instrument can...in this case size does matter! Trust me on this one, I've had to repair this very thing more than necessary.

dory
Posts: 1902
Joined: Mon Jun 11, 2012 3:29 am
Location: Madison, Wisconsin, USA

Re: Why not stand with the guitar?

Post by dory » Fri Jun 27, 2014 5:03 pm

A lot of us in this group are no longer in our "first youth" so to speak. Many of us have physical issues that make one position or another comfortable or uncomfortable. My feeling is that we each have to find the position that best works with our particular physical issues. There is no particular correct way to get the guitar intoa a comfortable position without causing or aggravating physical problems. Some guitarists, such as John Williams seem able to use a footstool at the highest setting until a relatively advanced age. (I believe he is in his early 70s--not ancient butold enough that ifthe footstoolwas going to hurt him it already would have. ) other people like Andrei have back problems but good feet, and are able to stand for long periods without aggravating their back problems. Other people with back problems find their pain is aggravated by standing. In my case, the footstool bothers my left hip, but foot problems prevent me from standing for long periods of time. (I can walk with no problems but standing bothers my feet a lot.) My conclusion is that there is no one "right" answer to the isdue of how to be comfortable during long periods of practice. The guitar is an ergonomically challenging instrument. In our local guitar society most but not all of the members 40 or older use some alternate support system, but each of us uses a different one. Most younger members have no problem with the footstool. I didn't either in my teens and 20s, but I could alsomstand for hours at that age. Andrei plays beautifully, and has founda position that works for him. In my case I would need orthpedic surgery to do the same. In my opinion trying to find a one size fits all solution just doesn't work.
Dory

AndreiKrylov

Re: Why not stand with the guitar?

Post by AndreiKrylov » Sat Jun 28, 2014 5:59 pm

Thanks for your nice words about my music work, Dory!
Yes. certainly people are different and have different problems and preferences.Surely standing is not a solution for everybody, but could be a good solution for some of us...
For someone who could not stand because of their physical problems or else STRAP could help too! Strap should make it easier to take any position someone would like because strap itself will hold guitar in good position.With guitar on strap we could sit, stand, walk, even dance if someone would wish :) ...
Standing with the guitar would help to work longer without feeling tired and be more concentrated. It would be a lot, lot easier for our spine than sitting with the footstool.
But certainly if someone could not stand or feel stress or pain because of standing he/she should sit.
But if he/she feel fine standing (not like sculpture -standing and moving a little, almost walking) - then why not to try stand with the guitar?
Otherwise, again - I totally agree with you Dory! There is no one simple solution for all of us...
But we could try different ways and choose the best one for us!
dory wrote:A lot of us in this group are no longer in our "first youth" so to speak. Many of us have physical issues that make one position or another comfortable or uncomfortable. My feeling is that we each have to find the position that best works with our particular physical issues. There is no particular correct way to get the guitar intoa a comfortable position without causing or aggravating physical problems. Some guitarists, such as John Williams seem able to use a footstool at the highest setting until a relatively advanced age. (I believe he is in his early 70s--not ancient butold enough that ifthe footstoolwas going to hurt him it already would have. ) other people like Andrei have back problems but good feet, and are able to stand for long periods without aggravating their back problems. Other people with back problems find their pain is aggravated by standing. In my case, the footstool bothers my left hip, but foot problems prevent me from standing for long periods of time. (I can walk with no problems but standing bothers my feet a lot.) My conclusion is that there is no one "right" answer to the isdue of how to be comfortable during long periods of practice. The guitar is an ergonomically challenging instrument. In our local guitar society most but not all of the members 40 or older use some alternate support system, but each of us uses a different one. Most younger members have no problem with the footstool. I didn't either in my teens and 20s, but I could alsomstand for hours at that age. Andrei plays beautifully, and has founda position that works for him. In my case I would need orthpedic surgery to do the same. In my opinion trying to find a one size fits all solution just doesn't work.

dbeau

Re: Why not stand with the guitar?

Post by dbeau » Sun Jun 29, 2014 12:52 am

Not to the subject really, and my playing position is unorthodox but suits me by sitting on a low seat without any device or foot stool HOWEVER this is interesting in that recently media attention is drawn to the the opinion that WE SIT TOO MUCH and it is detrimental to our health and longevity.
Maybe some playing while standing would add a little more 'healthy' activity to our day :)

ewokinco

Re: Why not stand with the guitar?

Post by ewokinco » Tue Jul 01, 2014 3:55 am

I am new to the forum and new to playing classical guitar. I do have some physical injuries and no solution to date has been a good one for me except to play using a strap. I have a Kenny Hill guitar and have asked him for instructions and his feeling about the use of strap buttons. He wrote to tell me he plays using a strap "all the time". I found some nice wood buttons that will be unobtrusive on my guitar and just as soon as they arrive this week will have a luthier install them. I cannot sit without a back support and have found a nice, proper height wooden throw away oak chair that will do nicely. I also cannot stand for very long because of injury. Along with the lovely small scale guitar I bought (one of the 628mm New World Players) I should be able to play to my heart's and finger's content.

For me, it is a simple issue. For someone who wishes to make music, there are all kinds of potential solutions to solving ergonomic problems. What a shame it would be if someone doesn't play who could, just because they were afraid of standing or sitting differently, or using a strap or whatever other device.

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