How To Hold A Guitar

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From The Video

The guitar is meant to be sat and played with. That’s why you see the contour right here. It fits right on your knee, and you want one leg to be higher than the other, so usually you want to have something, I’m using a stool here, so I have one ring of the stool that’s lower than the other and I can prop my knee up and therefore get the guitar up nice and high up. You’ll see a lot of rockers with their electric strung down low and we don’t want to try that, not for practice. For learning purposes, we don’t want to try to be cool, we just want to play the guitar how it’s meant to be played.

It should be comfortable, and not sit unsupported so don’t think you can just prop it up on your knee. You don’t want it way back. You want that front of the guitar, the body, even with your chest. It should be comfortable. You can drape your arm over the body, you can do this with electric too, and we have access to strum and pick and we have easy access to where we can fret the notes, and we’re all comfortable. And that’s basically how you hold a guitar.

Classical Vs. Modern

There are two ways of holding the guitar. The classical way and the modern way. See the pictures below and select the position which feels most comfortable to you. If you have very small hands, let me suggest you at least try the classical position because it often offers greater access to the fretboard. There are four keys to either position:

  1.  Make sure the waist of the guitar is well balanced on your legs.
  2.  If you are sitting, it is important to slightly raise your foot off of the floor. You can accomplish this by: crossing your leg in the casual style or by raising your leg using some books, a small box or a special guitar footstool. Trust me, this will make your guitar much more comfortable to play.
  3. Whether standing or sitting, make sure the head of the guitar is raised. Do not raise the head of the guitar above shoulder level. Raising the head of the guitar in this way will offer the best access to the strings and frets for learning purposes. This is for practice purposes, what you do when you are actually playing is totally up to you! It may be “cool” to hold the guitar differently on stage, especially if you are a “rocker”! Just don’t tell anyone how you practice!
  4. If you are sitting, rest your forearm on the body of the guitar.
  5.  If standing using a good leather strap, preferably with strap locks. If you use one of those cheap nylon straps you are likely to hurt your shoulder and/or drop your guitar. You can also use the strap while sitting to help you stabilize the guitar.

Modern Position

Classical Position