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Old 06-08-2019, 06:57 PM
DadOfThree DadOfThree is offline
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Default Holding the Acoustic Guitar with a strap, in the sitting position.

Hi, I'm a beginner, just starting out. I have a Yamaha FG820 that I got from Amazon to learn from. This guitar only had a strap button on the bottom of the body, and I didn't want to mess with the string method for the other end. So, I've installed a second strap button by the crook of the neck, as instructed by many videos. I'veppositioned the guitar more like a classical style with the neck facing up and the bottom tuning key, around face level.
When holding the guitar like this, it feels much better. However, I not sure if I'm sitting correctly or if I have the strap adjusted too high / or too low. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.
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Old 06-08-2019, 07:03 PM
bls82261 bls82261 is online now
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I'm far from an expert but if it feels comfortable to you then you are on the right track. A lot of things will change as you learn but comfort will keep you playing.
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Old 06-08-2019, 07:12 PM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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I often use a strap when sitting, especially if I'm surfing the internet in-between bouts of playing. The strap helps keep the guitar from sliding off my lap when typing.
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Old 06-08-2019, 07:13 PM
tippy5 tippy5 is offline
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I am not a guitar fitting expert but I will chime in.
Whatever lets your fretting hand elbow feel neutral, at ease, is what I try for.
I would adjust the strap incrementally while sitting so it doesn't take all the weight of the guitar and allows your thigh to hold some of the weight as well.

I play all over the neck and since you are beginning, (some of the funnest guitar times BTW : ) you will probably be playing straightforward chords at the top of the neck.


The classical method with a guitar foot stool is the age old standard. Nowadays most players do not use these small one footed stools to raise a leg that holds the waist of the guitar outline.

When one first starts playing they usually have a more vertical fretting hand and that includes the thumb on the back of the neck. You will find with future guitar playing mechanics that your fingers and thumb will angle differently. With vertical chords your wrist is pretty vertical as well. Try to cinch the strap so your arm isn't too far extended while providing enough room for a more vertical upper arm.
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Old 06-08-2019, 08:16 PM
Brent Hahn Brent Hahn is offline
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I play seated and wrong-legged. A strap helps to keep the guitar from getting away from me.
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Old 06-09-2019, 01:46 AM
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JayBee1404 JayBee1404 is offline
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Don’t start with the assumption that you must use a strap, or that you must assume the ‘classical’ posture. Plenty of players don’t use a strap when seated, nor do they play in the ‘classical’ position. Do what you are most comfortable with.

I play seated 90-95% of the time nowadays. I only use a strap for the remaining 5-10% when I play standing. Never found any need for a strap when seated, nor for the ‘classical’ position (which I find excruciating, and my arm and shoulder start to ache within a few minutes of beginning playing) - guitar resting on my right thigh (I’m a ‘righty’) works perfectly for me, comfortable and puts my left arm and hand in a perfect, stressless position.

But, as I said at the top, the important thing is to experiment, and do whatever works best, and feels right for you.

The usual disclaimers apply......IMHO, YMMV etc.
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Last edited by JayBee1404; 06-09-2019 at 02:25 AM.
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Old 06-09-2019, 03:01 AM
JonPR JonPR is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DadOfThree View Post
Hi, I'm a beginner, just starting out. I have a Yamaha FG820 that I got from Amazon to learn from. This guitar only had a strap button on the bottom of the body, and I didn't want to mess with the string method for the other end. So, I've installed a second strap button by the crook of the neck, as instructed by many videos. I'veppositioned the guitar more like a classical style with the neck facing up and the bottom tuning key, around face level.
When holding the guitar like this, it feels much better. However, I not sure if I'm sitting correctly or if I have the strap adjusted too high / or too low. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.
The essential factors governing ideal guitar position are:
1. fret hand position and angle (including wrist and arm)
2. pick hand position and angle
3. keeping the guitar steady and relatively immobile.

For (1), the fret arm elbow should be 90 degrees or less, the forearm at right angles to the neck when approaching around frets 5-7. The wrist should straight or gently curved, and an index barre (in that position) should fall naturally parallel to the frets, the finger pointing roughly at your eye. The thumb would normally be on the back of the neck, to allow the fingers maximum reach for any one position.

(2) is really governed by what style you're playing. If classical, the thumb and fingers should be able to pick the strings so that the thumb passes outside the index without having to bend the wrist too much. The fingers will be roughly at right angles to the strings. The standard classical left leg position, neck up around 45 degrees, is ideal for both (1) and (2).

If playing rock, pop, etc, you'll be doing a lot of strumming, which is easier with the neck lower, and the guitar on the right leg (the left hand angle should not have to change much if at all). The hand angle for fingerpicking (folk or blues) can also be more variable - sometimes the wrist needs to rest on the bridge for those styles, which obviously governs the thumb/finger angles.

It's (3) where a strap may or may not come into it. The important starting point is that the left hand doesn't (shouldn't need to) support the neck.
Classical players need no strap, because the guitar is wedged firmly between both thighs and right arm.
Holding the guitar on the right leg means it's not as stable: the right arm can hold it steady, so the left hand is not holding the neck up, but the neck can still move around fairly easily, meaning the fret hand may have a harder job.
This is why you find some folk or jazz players (again with no strap) crossing the right leg over the left, to wedge the guitar more firmly between thigh, right arm and body.
But of course, this is where a strap can come in useful as an additional support - at least to get the guitar to a higher position than it would normally be if resting on an uncrossed right leg (the guitar's body size is obviously an issue here); or to prevent the neck dropping if the right arm releases its bracing role (which it might sometimes need to).

In short, yes, personal comfort is important, but not at the expense of efficiency; i.e., each hand needs to be able to do its job with the least effort. That can require guitar positions which seem awkward to begin with (such as that conventional classical position).

EDIT: I don't recommend classical position for a dreadnought! Not unless you're a really big guy with long legs...
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Last edited by JonPR; 06-09-2019 at 03:24 AM.
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Old 06-09-2019, 03:17 AM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is offline
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Hi Dadofthree,

This might help :

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Old 06-09-2019, 07:07 AM
DetroitDave DetroitDave is offline
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[QUOTE=JonPR;6082016]
...
It's (3) where a strap may or may not come into it. The important starting point is that the left hand doesn't (shouldn't need to) support the neck.
...

When I started playing, my first guitar teacher insisted I use a strap for any steel stringed guitar, even when seated.
It was because I was both holding the neck up with my fretting hand and, well, trying to fret with the same hand.
FWIW, it helped me and now I always use a strap.
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Old 06-09-2019, 07:11 AM
rstaight rstaight is offline
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Excellent video Silly Mustache. The suggestion on rotating the guitar is what I do. I'm 60 and play dreads and jumbos with no shoulder pain.

I just started learning mandolin. They are small and you need a strap even while seated. The length of the strap should allow your arms to hang naturally hand your hands will be in the proper location by bending your elbows.

On a guitar this pushes the neck forward rotating the bout back. The exact position described in the video.
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Old 06-09-2019, 09:24 AM
DadOfThree DadOfThree is offline
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Wow, thank you so much everyone for chiming in and taking the time to type all of that for a beginner. It's absolutely appreciated. I'll work on some of these suggestions during the week. :-)
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Old 06-09-2019, 12:24 PM
JonPR JonPR is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rstaight View Post
On a guitar this pushes the neck forward rotating the bout back. The exact position described in the video.
Just to point out there is a danger there in straightening the elbow.
I.e. the rotation is fine if the hand positions are maintained. If the shoulders don't also rotate, then the left arm moves forward with the neck. This can feel very comfortable to begin with, as the neck falls into the palm of the hand easily, thumb coming over the top.
But that's bad for any left-hand position outside of a few basic cowboy chords. It can also strain the left arm unnecessarily as the shoulder has more weight to support (because the elbow moves forward).
I.e., an ideal left arm position is for the upper arm to hang vertically. The muscles then only have to hold up the forearm. The elbow shouldn't be tight against the body, it can be a little out to the side, but the upper arm and shoulder should feel fully relaxed.

Having said all that, with guitar on the right thigh (legs uncrossed) access to the upper frets naturally requires the neck to move forward a little anyway. The best guide is still to have the left arm feeling relaxed when it's at right angles to the neck when barring around fret 5.

I totally agree with Silly Moustache about the chair and the horizontal thigh - at least for a dreadnought (like the OP's). I have a narrow-wasted guitar (Guild F30), and need to either cross my legs (my preference) or raise the right leg on a footstool - or just use a lower chair! - to get my guitar at a good height. A strap is a good alternative - and I do have one on the guitar for playing standing, but I can't get used to it when playing seated: the guitar doesn't feel firmly situated enough unless I have it on my leg.
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Old 06-10-2019, 03:44 AM
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SprintBob SprintBob is offline
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All good advice above in terms of the positioning of the guitar when seated but I’ll add I find the NeckUp is wonderful as as the tool to get the guitar in that position seated. I hate a strap around my neck, much more comfortable with the NeckUp (www.neckup.com).
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Old 06-10-2019, 03:57 AM
JonPR JonPR is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SprintBob View Post
All good advice above in terms of the positioning of the guitar when seated but I’ll add I find the NeckUp is wonderful as as the tool to get the guitar in that position seated. I hate a strap around my neck, much more comfortable with the NeckUp (www.neckup.com).
Yes, I was going to mention that. I don't have one, but it's a handy alternative to either a footstool or a strap - if the guitar needs raising, but would a dreadnought need it?
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Old 06-10-2019, 05:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonPR View Post
Yes, I was going to mention that. I don't have one, but it's a handy alternative to either a footstool or a strap - if the guitar needs raising, but would a dreadnought need it?
I find the NeckUp secures the guitar well so it does not shift around on you and since it is adjustable, it can accommodate small to large bodied guitars. I typically use one on guitars with lower bouts that range from 00 widths to GA or dreadnaught widths.

I recently went out of town and found the NeckUp I keep in my Rainsong’s case was missing. I found a music store with a cheap footstool but it made me realize how much better the NeckUp works for me. The big advantage is keeping a straight back with both both feet flat on the floor. I get lower back pain and sometimes numbness with crossed legs or a footstool, never with the NeckUp.
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