The sitting position

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The sitting position

The correct sitting position to play the classical guitar is the easiest task to master, and guess what… you already know it.

Start by sitting down without the guitar – sit on a chair without arms, towards the edge, with a good posture, both feet on the ground, shoulders level, and eyes looking forward… you’ve got it! At this point have someone hand you your guitar and without disturbing your posture, move your hands into position.

The real challenge with the seated position is to maintain it.

The reason the seated position is so difficult to maintain is that when we are required to do new, complex tasks with out left and right hands it is often the tendency to move and contort our bodies. It is like when we grip onto something very tightly, so tightly that we are hanging on for dear life. We will often squish up our faces, grit our teeth and close our eyes. None of these actions really help the act of holding on, but the tension from the hands and arms spreads throughout the whole body and the effort being exerted is expressed in our face making us contort into all sorts of positions. The same thing happens with the guitar.

It is well worth your time having a look a some footage of classical guitarists. Notice how some move their bodies, faces, lean to one side, dip their neck towards the guitar or any other movements. Then have a look at guitarists like John Williams, Paco de Lucia and David Russell. These three guitarists are excellent at relaxing their bodies through the most challenging works. If they can do it, so can you.

The best thing you can do to maintain a good seated position and instill good habits it to constantly monitor your posture. You can use a mirror, video recordings, or ask a friends/teacher to observe your posture as you play. Only once you are aware of what your body is doing can you improve it and control it. If you would like to know more about posture I recommend reading up on the Alexander Technique.

 

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2016-10-24T00:20:23+00:00 10 Comments

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10 Comments

  1. […] The reason the seated position is so difficult to maintain is that when we are required to do new, complex tasks with out left and right hands it is often the tendency to move and contort our bodies. It is like when we grip onto something very tightly, so tightly that we are hanging on for dear life. We will often squish up our faces, grit our teeth and close our eyes. None of these actions really help the act of holding on, but the tension from the hands and arms spreads throughout the whole body and the effort being exerted is expressed in our face making us contort into all sorts of positions. The same thing happens with the guitar. Simon, Classical Guitar Corner […]

  2. […] Classical Guitar Corner  […]

    • Profile photo of Simon
      Simon June 11, 2015 at 11:05 pm - Reply

      Glad to hear it helps, Stephen. Back pain is the worst!

  3. mark June 19, 2015 at 1:46 am - Reply

    Thank you Maestro for a very nice lesson on posture. A strong house must be built on a powerful foundation! Great advice from a wonderful teacher. Thank you sincerely!
    Mark

  4. Ben September 8, 2015 at 12:53 am - Reply

    I too had been having trouble getting into a comfortable position w/ the footstool until I got the ergo play guitar support. What a great product! Thanks Simon for recommending it on your site.

  5. Profile photo of Paul Laveurt
    Paul Laveurt September 8, 2015 at 8:29 am - Reply

    If you have not seen it you might want to check out this bespoke classical guitar chair.

    http://originalguitarchair.com/

    As an older player, I can tell you it is fantastically comfortable and the bespoke shape of the seat has clearly been designed by a classical guitar player.

    It’s foldable for easy storage and if you want comes with a carrying case.

    All chairs are not the same height and this can affect your posture and the position you hold your guitar. After my guitar, this is the one of the best things I ever bought to pursue my love of music.

    Regards

    Paul

    • Profile photo of Lou Arnold
      Lou Arnold September 9, 2015 at 10:48 am - Reply

      Yes Paul! I have one of these chairs and it’s fantastic. The carrying bag is great; I take this chair to gigs. I heard Jason Vieaux a few years ago and he was using one. Really great bit of equipment.

  6. Profile photo of Lou Arnold
    Lou Arnold September 9, 2015 at 10:58 am - Reply

    There is a wonderful teacher of Body Mapping named Jerald Harscher. He’s a performing guitarist too and something he points out is that musicians move for a living. I think we always need to keep this in mind and develop a deep awareness of how we are moving. I was fortunate to take Alexander lessons in the 70’s and I took some lessons from Jerald a few years ago that have helped me a lot in refining (hopefully) moments used in playing the guitar. I think it comes down to the consideration that we are in fact our instrument, that is, it’s our use of the self that in many ways determines how we play.

  7. Robert Wallace May 2, 2017 at 4:35 pm - Reply

    I once had a famous master tell me that if I needed to place my head on the body of the guitar to play better, then do it. I’m short and fat and I can do it without discomfort but I think the lesson was, just do it.

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