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I'm almost embarrassed to confess this...

When I play my guitar while sitting in my office chair I seem to have no trouble executing intricate stylings and and left hand maneuvers.


However, when I take to the stage (where I stand to perform) my performance is seldom (if ever) as flawless as at home. For years I've been chalking it up to nerves. But it's more than that. This morning I was looking at a YouTube of me playing one of my songs on stage:

No wonder I'm having so much trouble. Everything is different!  Just now I reattached my strap above the nut (instead of at the heal pin). This allows me to comfortably shift the neck slightly to the right across my body in almost an identical position as when I'm seated. My arms, hands and wrists fall more naturally into place, I can see (and hear) what I'm doing better.... Jeezz!  Why didn't I think of this before now? Guess an old dog CAN learn a new trick.

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Replies to This Discussion

why not just sit when you perform?

Good point Craig, and I do sit for full evening sets ... restaurants, supper clubs. But for stage performances (I'm a singer-songwriter) I need the be a bit more animated in my delivery. (I'm not exactly Carlos Montoya) :-)

I am a sit down player myself. However the folks that I gig with all stand and it looks odd to be sitting down alone. So.... I stand but I too have faced the same problem as you Lon. I also agree that it does feel better to have the strap attached at the head rather than at the heel. Besides I play a 1945 Martin 00028 and I'm not about to go putting holes in its' body! My thought is that I just need to stand while I practice and I'll get used to it.

Not much help to your question but at least a little commiseration....

Yes... I really need to stand and practice more :-)


I looked at the two video links you provided at the top, and made an observation almost immediately.

When you are sitting, it appears that your guitar is raised a bit more than when you are standing. this would change how your right arm rests over the bout, as well as changing the angles of your left arm, which would affect the left hand technique.

Here are side by side (sort of) comparison of screen shots from each of the videos. Maybe I'm wrong, but that is what it looks like to me.

You've nailed it Arlie! But it's more than just height alone. I experimented with shortening my strap (still attached to the heal button) and it still left my left arm sticking way out there. I'll try to get us a comparable picture of the new deal.

My god in the picture on the right you could have been my fathers twin brother!!!!!


Nothing to do with the post, just an observation :)

Interestingly enough, in one of Berklee's books on Modern Guitar, the author (also an instructor at Berklee) encourages his readers to try and always get consistency with how the guitar is being held - whether sitting or standing.  When learning or practicing while sitting, one get's used to how they are holding the guitar a certain way, so that if they play any other way, it changes things up.  I'm sure he's saved a lot of people from years of head scratchin'.  He specifically refers to getting used to playing sitting down w/ a strap, so that when standing, the guitar position one is used to does not change.  When sitting with a strap, the guitar's position should not change when you stand up.  That's his take on it.  I've found that when I position the guitar at more of an angle, I definitely have a bigger stretching capability with my fretting hand - so I practice sitting w/ a strap, to angle the guitar, rather than have it resting on my lap and playing more a 'horizontal' position.


Good advice!


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