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Old 03-25-2002, 11:15 AM
Michael TN Michael TN is offline
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Default Question for fingerstyle players

Hi Folks,

I got some pretty bad news last week from my doctor. No more trying to play in the classical position for me. Long unimportant story, but lets just say the back won't take it any longer. I've been working on the switch to the right leg position and everything is very strange feeling. I can strum and get the chord changes..with some difficulty, but finger-picking isn't anywhere close. I can't recall seeing many player finger pick with the guitar in the horizontal position. Is this just a matter of adjustment or has the news placed severe limits on this style of playing?


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Old 03-25-2002, 11:51 AM
Guitar Dad Guitar Dad is offline
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Unhappy Well this plain stinks...

Classical is THE position for playing guitar, IMHO. It's extremely comfortable, and you barely have to hold the guitar. Being this relaxed means greater fluidity in both left & right hands. I'm sure there are people who play fingerstyle with the guitar in a horizontal position, but I can't.

By classical, I presume you mean in a chair with minimal padding and a foot stool. Can you perhaps switch to a chair with back support? Or maybe a back support of some sort? Do you slouch? I'm grasping at straws here.

Here's a wacky idea. How about playing with the guitar on your lap, a la Dobro?
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Old 03-25-2002, 12:01 PM
BobS BobS is offline
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Sorry to hear about this. I play with the guitar on my right leg (usually with a strap) and I fingerpick. There are a number of "perfoming stands" on the market that may help. I think you should be able to may take a while

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Old 03-25-2002, 01:15 PM
kcpkr kcpkr is offline
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there are a couple of guitar rests designed to elevate the guitar without a foot rest. try or guitar solo in san francisco. also i saw the LA Guitar quartet 2 weeks ago and scott tenant had the guitar resting on his right thigh with a piece of cloth on his leg(i guess to keep it from slipping). the guitar neck was angled just the same way as in standard classical guitar position
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Old 03-26-2002, 07:52 PM
W5BLT W5BLT is offline
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First of all, I attempted the "classical" position with my 355 and it just didn't work for me. The body of the guitar is so big, I'd have to do the splits to get keep the body between my legs. Or, maybe it's just that I've gotten so comfortable with the "relaxed" position or having it on my right leg.

However, I did try some fingerpicking in both positions while I observed my self in a mirror. In the classic position, the fingers on my right hand were striking the string somewhere between the center and the left side of my finger nail. In the relaxed position, my nails almost always comes in contact in the center. I can hear a definate difference. At any rate, right or wrong, it just "feels" better for me for this size of a guitar body.

Although I'm just learning to fingerpick, I would be interested from some you veterans, your views on the difference in tones in the two positions and if by having it in the relaxed position, if anything (such as speed or tone) is being sacraficed.
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Old 03-29-2002, 08:28 AM
RNORBY RNORBY is offline
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I play fingerstyle on the right leg like the blues men I listen to, I wouldn't have it any other way. Your disability may actually improve your playing. After all, They say Rev. Gary Davis can play all those great chords because he had his hand reset wrong after sliping on ice. Not to mention he was blind, along with just about every other great old timer. Experiment, don't play by the rules! Good luck!

"The sun will shine on my back door someday." -Bill Broonzy

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Old 03-29-2002, 07:06 PM
tigerucla tigerucla is offline
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I play mostly figerpicking, usally with the guitar on my right leg. I sometimes play crosslegged, sometimes sitting up, sometimes leaning back, even sometimes lying on my back with my knees up. My point is, I think you can adapt to whatever position you find comfortable. You may have to adjust the way you hold the guitar and/or your hands, but you can make it work. Like anything new, it will probably be awkward at first, but find a comfortable position for your back and adjust everything else from there. Good luck!
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Old 03-30-2002, 08:01 AM
ScottyMac ScottyMac is offline
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My classical playing friend suggests the correct way is the guitar on the left thigh, with space between your torso and the guitar.

The space is to allow the guitar to resonate more freely. I have discovered on at least one of my guitars, my arm causes extreme deadening of the sound, as it hangs over the side.

When practicing, I tend to play in both positions, although only on the right thigh when playing at church.

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