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Classical Guitar Posture

Noble Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 1165
Topic starter  

Hey everyone,

I recently received Jamie Andreas' Correct Practice for Guitar book, and in the book it says how important it is to sit properly with the guitar. One of my goals as a player is to be able to improve my technique to increase my speed so I decided go back and try to sit in the proper classical guitar position (left leg elevated, guitar sits between legs).

At one point my guitar teacher did teach me classical guitar but it's been a few years. Anyway, the problem is that while I am able to get into position, the guitars always seem to want slide off my leg when I cradle the guitar between my legs (the one bout slides off the raised left leg), and have to hold the guitar steady with one or both of my hands.

I was wondering: should the guitar stay secure in my lap without having my hands on the guitar? I'll appreciate any help I can get, Thanks. :D


Member Moderator
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5367

It should stay roughly where it is, but it's not going to defy gravity.

When I use a footstool, I set it as high as it will go so that the knee is above the hip and the guitar can only really slide towards my body. The leg and chest form two points of a triangle.

Your right arm (assuming you're right handed) provides the final part of the triangle to keep the guitar stable. It will still move a little bit with your body but it shouldn't slide around whilst you're playing. But, if you let go, it will probably move.

Obviously, this is based on you playing an acoustic/ classical guitar. If you're playing an electric guitar in the classical sitting position then the body of the guitar is much slimmer and will settle lower down on your chest, and the weight distribution is different..

A :-)

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Illustrious Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 8307

classical guitar position isn't great if you're not playing classical guitar. strumming's more awkward. for instance.

Famed Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 4933

True classical posture (what Alan is describing with the forearm on the binding) isn't for strumming - it's for reach. It places your fingers parallel to the frets, where you'll have the greatest possible extension. It anchors the picking arm at a single point, always on the edge of the guitar - or on an armrest - so the top can vibrate as freely as possible, but you've got a reference point for locating the strings. That makes it ideal for classical guitar.

But the neck angle is ideal for ANY type of guitar playing - you can't do better than maximum reach. It's true that many players hold the neck at a lower angle, but that's more for showmanship reasons (or ignorance of the mechanics). Look at the angle used by Keith Richards, Joan Jett, Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix, Yngwie Malmsteen, Brian Setzer, Carlos Santana...
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Noble Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 1165
Topic starter  

Thanks for the replies. I just figured out a big reason I was having problems: the chair I was using was too tall (according to this article: :D ).

However all the comments got me thinking: one of the main reasons I've been re-thinking my posture is to improve my technique on electric (while I do have a classical guitar that I do play from time to time, my main focus is electric and steel string acoustic). My main goal is to be able to play some of the faster Metallica songs that I love (both the rhythm and the lead parts). Obviously the fastest and best way to do that would be to get a teacher but I can't afford that at the moment, hopefully in a few months I can. Anyways, I assumed that the classical position would be the best way to learn how to play pickstyle, but I'm not sure if that's the case.


Estimable Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 129

I agree with Alan

I sit in the Classical position with my LP all the time. I've been doing it for years and the "old way" just doesn't seem natural anymore. I guess this position takes some getting used to, but I gotta say, if you sit this way with the guitar and remove you hands, the guitar tends to just stay there instead of rolling off, if it's on the right leg it ain't as balanced.