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Strumming While Standing


(@old-lefty)
Eminent Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 43
Topic starter  

I've been playing about 9 months now and most of my time I play sitting. I do try to get at least an hour or so a week in playing while standing. I've noticed my strumming is much poorer when I stand although when playing lead it seems to be about even. I'm kinda stumped as to why that is, I can't seem to pick up any real differences in my strumming styles seated or standing. Has anyone else had to deal with this as they began learning?

Also as a side note irrelevant of the strumming dilemma I'm a lefty who's most comfortable playing left. Just wanted to throw that out there because that seems to be quite a minority.

Thanks,

Brian


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(@kroikey)
Estimable Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 232
 

I'm in the same boat as you. I play sitting down all the time and feel very odd when standing up. My fingering feels more natural but its not as accurate, and my strumming is even more uneven than usual. The reason is down to the changing angle, and probably a different resting point for your arm on the guitar.


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 cnev
(@cnev)
Famed Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 4478
 

Yes probably everyone some more than others. For me when I first started I always sat for maybe the first two years or so and when I finally tried to stand and play it was like a different instrument. I could barely play it.

But all it comes down to is just standing up and start playing regularly that way and it will all work itself out pretty quickly.

Now when I'm working on something new I still sit while I'm learning it and usually don't stand until I think I have it down to where I can play along with a recording or backing tracks. Rarely do i ever feel different when I stand to play it but sometimes with difficult passages what I may have worked out while sitting doesn't feel as comfortable when I stand so then I have to make adjustments.

But what you are experiencing is normal.

"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!


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(@old-lefty)
Eminent Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 43
Topic starter  

Thanks, cnev....as long as I know that it's not just me doing something weird. Now I can get to working it out.

Thanks,

Brian


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(@noteboat)
Famed Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 4933
 

Most people wear their guitars too low when they're standing. The reason is pretty simple: we emulate what we see others do, and many performers wear their instruments lower than they should for best technique.

If you look at guitarists before the mid 1960s or so, you'll see that almost all of them wore their guitars much higher up. And the reason for that is also pretty simple: their straps were adjusted so the guitar was in the SAME position standing as it was sitting. That way you can rely entirely on muscle memory - the strings and frets are always in the exact same place for both hands.

But it doesn't look so cool. So many performers started wearing them lower.

You just have to separate the musicianship aspect from the showmanship one... when you're learning, keep your guitar in the same position. When you're ready to rehearse for performance, you can tweak it to achieve a compromise between what looks good and what works best. And if you pay close attention to performances, you'll see people do exactly that - the rocker wearing his (or her) axe super low may move to the front of the stage and plant a foot on top of a monitor just before playing a harder passage... this puts the instrument in a much better position to execute the music (and it can also look cool).

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL


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(@old-lefty)
Eminent Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 43
Topic starter  

You're right about that....I do wear it lower than when in the seated position. And although it's not hangin' rock star low, I have to admit if not for fearing of looking like a geek I'd be wearing it higher. WTH, no one can see me and I still worry about how I look.

Thanks for the advice.

Brian


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(@old-lefty)
Eminent Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 43
Topic starter  

Shortened the strap for last night's practice and it was much improved. Not as smooth as playing while sitting but there's now light at the end of the tunnel. Thanks, guys....

Brian


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(@hobson)
Prominent Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 794
 

For me it's the change in the angle of the wrist. There are passages that are very difficult or impossible for me to play while standing that I can play just fine while sitting. This is still true to some degree when I shorten the strap.

Renee


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(@rparker)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5492
 

I stood when I started, but quickly relaxed that policy. I can play sitting back with my feet up on the desk and I can play standing and walking. I can play sitting straight up on a stool or something as long as I can have my right foot up on a rung or something. All my guitars have straps now and I use them 99% of the time. I discovered that same place all the time, every time thing quite benneficial whether it's recliner, laid back office chair, picnic bench or standing. The right foot is probably a hold over from when I didn't use straps and tried to sit straight up.

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


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 Ande
(@ande)
Honorable Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 659
 

And angle the neck UP.

A lot of people try to play with teh guitar horizontal, or nearly. If you get the neck up from the body, it's a lot less strain on your wrist to reach. Even if you like it hanging low, angle the neck...

Best,
Ande


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(@moonrider)
Noble Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 1309
 

LOL! guess who got taught in classical position? I like to snuggle my guitar.

Playing guitar and never playing for others is like studying medicine and never working in a clinic.

Moondawgs on Reverbnation


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(@hbriem)
Honorable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 646
 

Funny thing is, I usually play guitar at home sitting down and bass standing up at band practice. Have done for years.

Result is, I find it very hard to play bass sitting down or guitar standing up. True story.

--
Helgi Briem
hbriem AT gmail DOT com


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(@bigfoot21075)
Active Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 16
 

I wear mine up high like BB King.


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(@vic-lewis-vl)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 10340
 

Take a look at some clips on youtube of early Beatles, Stones, Kinks, Animals, Gerry and the Pacemakers - and look how high they're wearing those guitars. Almost across their chests, and almost horizontal. Looks very uncomfortable to me!

It's been said already, but you've got to find a compromise between what feels comfortable and and what looks reasonably cool. No good wearing a guitar around your kneecaps a la Page if you can't reach around the fretboard and fret the strings! I like mine just a little lower than Moonrider's pic - around hip level is about the best for me, with the neck angled upwards - but bear in mind I have very long arms!

:D :D :D

Vic

"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)


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(@rparker)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5492
 

Bill Wyman wrote that he had to hold his bass like that due to confined spaces in the before-getting-famous venues. I believe it's been written that Mick learned some of his gyrations due to similar confinements.

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


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