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Holding the guitar


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#1 slidemasterx

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 11:47 AM

I prefer placing the guitar on my right lap but there's something I'm not sure about. If I put my right arm on top of the guitar, to make sure that my right wrist is straight, I usually get pain on my right arm because of the edge of the guitar:

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If I move my arm backwards towards the back of the guitar following what I usually see on guitar videos, I don't get pain on my arm resulting from the edge of the guitar but I notice that my wrist isn't straight anymore and I don't play as well as before:

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So which is the right one? Thanks in advance!

#2 Eugenio

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 10:01 PM

I had the very same dilemma a few years ago and the answer is: there's not a "right" position, there is the position that's right for you. If you work with some basic premises, you should be able to find which position works best for you:

* Your spine has to be upright all the time
* Your arms don't feel tired
* You don't feel pain in your hands when you are practicing

If you are able to practice for 45 minutes in a row (with some intervals between pieces) without any of those issues, you're going in the right direction.

I used to play exactly like the picture 1 and moved to something similar to picture 2. The adaptation wasn't instantaneous, it took me a few days to become fully functional.

You didn't mention if you use a footstool or play with your legs crossed. The point here is about elevating the right leg a little bit and see if you feel comfortable or makes it easier for you to play.

Picture 2 shows the elbow in a position that I think it's too far down, I'd try to move your arm up a little closer to the edge of your guitar.

I do not consider myself a reference when it comes to posture, but at least I managed to find a position where I can play without feeling tired or in pain after a while.



The right hand can have some angle, it doesn't have to be completely straight. But again, the important thing is to make sure you don't feel any pain after playing for a while.

You can also try to tilt your guitar a little bit, instead of having parallel to the floor, you move the neck up some 15 degrees (see the video, I actually do that).

Last, but not least, I'm talking about my own experience, and I hope it helps!

#3 Harry Jess

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Posted 13 May 2011 - 04:49 PM

I have always been told that the guitar should rest on your left knee, having a footstool or a cushion to elevate it a bit. Recently I have fallen back on my old habit, resting it on the
right knee, it's easier just to grip the guitar and play a tune whenever you have an opportunity. But then I have problems with the higher positions like the ones in Barrios'
prelude of La Catedral. How do you solve that with the guitar on the right knee?

Harry

#4 Eugenio

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Posted 14 May 2011 - 05:45 PM

Harry, one option is to hold the guitar the same way some flamenco players do, such as Paco Peña (Brazilian guitarist Odair Assad is now playing like that, too). The guitar rests on the right leg, but with a 45º angle, similarly to how it works with the classical guitarists. Unlike what most people think, this position doesn't put an additional stress on the player and doesn't let the guitar loose. But as with most things related to this subject, it doesn't work for everyone.



#5 Harry Jess

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Posted 15 May 2011 - 01:05 PM

Eugenio, thank you very much for an instructive video clip!

Harry

#6 ronjazz

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Posted 14 August 2011 - 02:52 PM

Stability is an issue with these right-leg postures. Using a device to raise the guitar, whether a mechanical device with suction cups, or a small pillow-like bolster, can help greatly. I adopted Paco de Lucia's position many years ago (right ankle on left knee, basically), which allows for a little movement to follow the dancers with, but is also very stable. It does, however, become uncomfortable after a while, especially in we older players. In fact Paco himself now carries a footstool for his right leg, which he switches to when he's accompanying rather than soloing.

One of the interesting advantages of this right leg over left position is that it looks less formal, and tends to relax the audience. Raphael Rabello also used this position.

#7 Harry Jess

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 01:08 PM

I like to hold my guitar on the right knee, as I said in my previous post. I've also done what Eugenio suggested, and have come to terms with playing in the higher positions. Still I have problems changing the timbre, it's more difficult to move the right hand gradually from the bridge to the soundhole. Any tips to solve this are most welcome!

Harry