Saturday, February 4, 2012

Adjusting your guitar strap to proper height

Most people have seen a picture of Jimmy Page with his guitar slung low near his waist line but most of us are not Jimmy Page. Another favorite guitarist is Slash, he too wears his guitar very low. I cannot argue that this doesn't look good because these people are archetypes of guitar neophytes. But (behold the underlying truth) playing in this position for practice will cause a myriad of problems because your wrist, back, neck will be canted to unnatural positions. You can solve two area's of difficulty by simply raising your guitar up higher. The secret is to minimize bent limbs - Your guitar should be at arms length (unless your are Jimmy Page and last time I checked - there is only one!) and your wrist should be at a minimal angle. Your playing position should be comfortable enough for you to not feel the need to remove the guitar or adjust. If you must adjust while playing then you should re-examine your position.

Raising your guitar to a higher position decreases the angle of your wrist and will facilitate better technique. This position will also reduce fatigue and potential tendinitis. Another advantage with adjusting your guitar to a reasonable height is; while seated the guitar will be held up by your strap which is the same position it will be in while standing. What does this mean? You will not find that there isn't any difference in your guitar's position against your body regardless of whether you are seated or standing and that position aids muscle memory while decreasing unfamiliar positions. Proper posture should be common sense but common sense isn't so common today!

Coupling correct position to a good warm up routine will facilitate  better comfort, performance and increased performance longevity. For example; John Petrucci has great technique and his position is conducive to comfort and good posture. Other players who also employ good posture are Steve Morse, Al Di meola, Steve Howe, Greg Howe, Steve lukather, and many more. Yngwie Malmsteen, suffered severe nerve and tendon damage from excessive playing. Therefore, even good posture, position and technique cannot protect you from frequent use damage. So don't be in denial of the perils of playing the guitar. At least try a new uncool looking posture friendly position; if the position appears dorky, daft or stupid then put the guitar back to where you want it to be against your body.  Stay home and practice or stay home!


Yo said...

Thanks for the tips! I don't play guitar but I love reading your website. :o)

The Desert Scorpion said...

I've noticed that Guthrie Govan has the guitar strap set for good posture and he has amazing technique.

Scott said...

Guthrie is indeed amazing on so many levels!

Anonymous said...

Yes I have always advocated good strap adjustment and firmly believe having you guitar held up by the strap enables you not to worry about holding it,but simply playing it, "tip" always 'tune up' standing up with strapped guitar in your playing position other positions can vary the distortion of the instrument, hence tuning affected ever so slightly a bit like adjusting the speed strobe of a record player without the needle on the record,the speed will be different when it's on the record,good luck from pik'in pete

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