classical sitting positions for rock guitar?

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paullySC
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classical sitting positions for rock guitar?

Post by paullySC » July 2nd, 2009, 2:47 pm

I'm new to this board but have known about it for a while. Just started playing again after about a 10 year break. I had only played a year or two previously. Relaxing when I play has always been an issue but I have recently found while sitting if I hold my electric guitar in the classical position it's perfect for me. Is there any reason I shouldn't do this? If I decide to take lessons again is the teacher going to change that first? Thanks for the feedback.

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Re: classical sitting positions for rock guitar?

Post by Ricochet » July 2nd, 2009, 3:21 pm

It's not generally considered stage-theatrical enough for most rockers, but you're a whole lot less likely to be on here asking for help with your tendinitis and carpal tunnel syndrome if you play that way.
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Re: classical sitting positions for rock guitar?

Post by lue42 » July 2nd, 2009, 3:36 pm

Whatever works for you... in the end, there is no "right way".

Your instructor may encourage you to use a certain position when practicing, but when you are just sitting back relaxing... do whatever works for you.

If I am sitting back, i usually end up adjusting my guitar strap so it is up near my chest, still off my legs when sitting down. I find it very comfortable.
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Re: classical sitting positions for rock guitar?

Post by paullySC » July 2nd, 2009, 3:40 pm

lue42 wrote:Whatever works for you... in the end, there is no "right way".

Your instructor may encourage you to use a certain position when practicing, but when you are just sitting back relaxing... do whatever works for you.

If I am sitting back, i usually end up adjusting my guitar strap so it is up near my chest, still off my legs when sitting down. I find it very comfortable.
I guess this is part of what I don't get. Why would a teacher not want someone to use that position? I mean, why is it the norm for classical guitar and not the norm for all the other styles? Is it just preference or is there a reason? I'm just curious haha.

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Re: classical sitting positions for rock guitar?

Post by eak000 » July 2nd, 2009, 10:19 pm

I'm interested to hear if there's a reason too because I hold my guitar the same way (classical position). I tried to force myself to hold it the way all the books said to hold it, but it made getting the chords more difficult, and I found it made my back and wrist hurt if I played for long, so I just decided to do what felt best and not worry about it. My guitar teacher hasn't said a word about it. Actually that's not true...ages ago when I was having trouble getting my C chord to ring out, he suggested I try the classical position.

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Re: classical sitting positions for rock guitar?

Post by JoeHempel » July 2nd, 2009, 11:23 pm

I'd say that it's not a "show" style way to play, but who knows, you could create your own style there and be different and that may make you stand out a bit.
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Re: classical sitting positions for rock guitar?

Post by lue42 » July 3rd, 2009, 3:29 am

According to Wikipedia...

The classical guitar is generally held on the left leg which is supported by a foot stool or the guitar is raised by some other device to bring it to a position central to the player's body. Basic considerations in determining a chosen playing position include:

* the physical stability of the instrument
* ensuring the freedom of both hands such that they have thorough access to the instrument and can meet all technical demands without having to support the instrument
* elimination of general muscular tension in the assumed body position

I bet there is a large part of just plain tradition... every picture I have ever seen of a Lute being played is like that too (more vertical neck). Probably something that has just been passed down over the evolution of the classical guitar. Considering the above points... if you can play the guitar without supporting its weight and have full movement/access to the guitar with both hands and it is comfortable... then use whatever position works
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Re: classical sitting positions for rock guitar?

Post by paullySC » July 3rd, 2009, 5:23 am

I do it slightly modified, I don't use a foot stool. But so far it's the only way I've found that I'm truly comfortable. I'm starting to think it's not 'rock n roll' looking or something like that.

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Re: classical sitting positions for rock guitar?

Post by Scrybe » July 3rd, 2009, 5:30 am

I play sitting down with the guitar on my right leg, but I raise my right foot (either resting on a foot stool or resting on my left foot, turned sideways). I end up with a quasi-classical position and find this works best with my electric guitars as they're less likely to slip than if I held them in proper classical position. Screw the "rules" about how to hold guitars, in this case the "rules" don't make the most sense (the standard way of holding an electric, that is).
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Re: classical sitting positions for rock guitar?

Post by Alan Green » July 3rd, 2009, 6:00 am

Rock guitar is normally played in a standing position and it's habitual to sling it low a la Zakk Wylde because it looks "cool"

However, if you tighten your strap so the guitar sits up on your chest in what I call "geek rock" position (think Hank Marvin) then what you achieve is that the headstock can be tilted up to about eye level which not only makes it comfortable for your picking hand but means that you can get the elbow, wrist and fingers of your fretting hand in a straight line which makes fretting a lot easier. It also helps to avoid RSI-type injuries that are aggravated by having your guitar in a position where you've got to have your wrist in an awkward position to reach round to the fingerboard.

From there, it's only a short hop to using the classical position if you're playing electric sitting down.

Personally, I use the classical position for all seated playing, but I like to pose, and gurn at the neighbours and seriously strut my stuff (including duck-walking Chuck Berry-style down the hallway at home) when I'm playing electric too so sometimes that's exactly what I do.


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Re: classical sitting positions for rock guitar?

Post by Scrybe » July 3rd, 2009, 6:22 am

Oh, the mental pictures.. :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: classical sitting positions for rock guitar?

Post by KR2 » July 3rd, 2009, 6:31 am

It's the rock that gives the stream its music . . . and the stream that gives the rock its roll.

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Re: classical sitting positions for rock guitar?

Post by Chris C » July 4th, 2009, 4:34 pm

+1 to Alan's excellent post. Gotta try that duck walk now. It could cost me a fortune in chiropractor's fees, but I've got to try it at least once... :o

My positions have shifted around a lot over the last couple of years, and that's partly due to the needs changing, depending on what I've been doing. As a beginner, it seems almost inevitable that you'll spend months using a position that's not really correct in any sense, simply because you need to see what you're doing. There was no way when I started out that I could go through all the work needed to get my left hand positioned to play chords, without being able to get a clear view of that hand. As I improved I was able to move the guitar to a better position, and moved to playing by feel and experience instead of sight.


My goal so far is to try and stay as flexible as possible and not get too hooked on a single position or posture that will only work if everything is ‘just so'. I also try and find a position for each different instrument that gives the best balanced and control with the least amount of thought and effort once I'm playing. When I began I had a lot of trouble landing chord changes and a big part of it wasn't just lack of experience and muscle memory it was that the landing ground kept moving around. It was like trying to land a plane on an aircraft carrier in a rough sea, compared to an airfield. So now If I find that I'm having to grip the neck too much with my left hand, or else clamp the guitar body too tightly with the right arm, then I experiment with positions until the balance is better.

Several things make a BIG difference to that balance. One is whether you're sitting down or standing up, and whether you're wearing a strap or not. Another is what style of guitar you're playing, because the considerable variation in weights and shapes can have a large effect on how the balance issue works. Many of us spend much of our time practicing or playing sitting down, even if the ultimate goal is to play rock style standing up. So you're going to be pulled in several directions there. You don't want to get too wedded to a style that will only work well if you're sitting on your favourite chair at home, but falls apart if you get a gig where you'll be moving about.

The position that works best for me when I'm playing an electric sitting down is very much like the one Scrybe described (descrybed?) above. The guitar sits on my right leg and the neck sticks up at an angle that's not so far from a classical position. But, especially if I'm wearing a jumper, the moment I stand up the guitar starts to slide and tries to disappear under my armpit, so I have to change the angle to get the stability back.

It also seems to make a difference what style I'm trying to play - i.e chords or single notes, where on the neck, rock or classical, or whatever. What works comfortably and efficiently in one situation doesn't necessary translate directly across to another. Others may disagree, or have different approaches, but to me it's about trying to keep several different possibilities open, and being flexible about using different things, depending on the circumstances. If there's a position that will work for all styles, shapes and weights of guitar, both sitting and standing, stationary or moving, then I certainly haven't found it. But I don't think it actually exists.

Cheers,

Chris

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Re: classical sitting positions for rock guitar?

Post by Yjohann » July 22nd, 2018, 4:54 am

For me, it works a treat. If anything, casual position doesn't do it for me and I find strumming and playing power chords a piece of cake in classical position. Back when I was still a noob at guitar, I found my back aching over the casual position and my mouth involuntarily open from focusing on the fretboard I was bent over, causing a gross waterfall to come upon the strings and the frets and before I realised, it was too late, so the classical position sold the deal for me after watching Trivium's Matt Kiichi Heafy (kiichichaos) playing in that position. Many others I've seen with flying V shaped guitars do the same, and besides, the regular shape was meant for the classical position. It doesn't matter if I'm holding a pick (which is most of the time) or not, I use classical sitting position always, regardless.

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Re: classical sitting positions for rock guitar?

Post by unleashedfury » July 25th, 2018, 11:52 pm

Do what is comfortable for you.

You will see that when you are in the "classical position" its easier to support the guitar and you have less strain while playing guitar.

While it was already stated having your guitar "Slung low" for the cool factor its hard on your body, along with your wrists and arms. also its damn near impossible to do some cool solos while the guitar is down at your knees. If you watch some videos of people who do keep their guitar at this level. watch what they do when the play lead. They often put their foot up or pick the guitar up to chest height to perform it. Its impossible to shred away like Yngwie Malmsteen while your guitar is at your feet.

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