Many beginning guitarists don’t realize that how you hold the guitar affects how easy or difficult something is to play.
This post is all about studying great guitarists and how they hold the guitar. It’s all about the angle of the guitar neck to the floor. That is why you see classical guitarists hold the guitar with a footstool, neck raised to a 45 degree angle, the waist resting on the thigh, thumb in the middle of the neck, straight wrists, curved fingers, playing on finger tips. Andres Segovia Julian Bream Blues guitarist hold the guitar differently – the strap holding the guitar at a 45 degree angle, thumb hanging over the edge of the guitar, neck cradled in the palm, fingers flattened to the strings with a slight curve, etc. This method makes the bend technique much easier. This is where the player pushes the string to the side to raise the pitch. It allows the blues guitarist the emotional bending solos the style is famous for. BB King Stevie Ray Vaugh Why is it that technique is so important? In the world of design, its all about ergonomics. Car designers make seats and driving cabins with the average human in mind. Computer programmers will buy ergonomically designed keyboards, mice and chairs to reduce the strain on their hands and bodies while doing the repetitive motions of coding apps. Ergonomics is why there are so many different kinds of tooth brushes with different curves, shapes and bristles. Its all about reducing strain on the human body to allow it to perform a given task consistently and with ease. The ergonomics of playing guitar has been codified and passed on from one generation of musicians to the next. Its often a trial and error process. The individual shape of each person’s hands and body requires minor adjustments specific to that person. But there are some tried and true postures that allow guitarists and bassists to achieve the music they want to play. The best musicians often appear the most relaxed when they play. This is because they are relaxed. They have figured out exactly how they need to hold the instrument to get the most of out it while not expending extra energy on keeping muscles tight that do not need to be. For further reading, check out this wikipedia article on classical guitar technique. [ilink url=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classical_guitar_technique”]Classical Guitar Technique on Wikipedia[/ilink]