Practical Guidelines For Classical Guitaring: Standing (Posture For Guitarists pt.6)

Ergonomics and Posture for Classical Guitarists, Aches and Pains, Injuries, etc...
PhD-Michael
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Practical Guidelines For Classical Guitaring: Standing (Posture For Guitarists pt.6)

Post by PhD-Michael » Mon Jun 10, 2019 6:32 pm

In part 6 of my light-hearted posture series for guitarists I bring you tips for how to get the best out of playing standing up. This is intended for classical & flamenco guitarists but will benefit guitarists of any style.


Arion Romanus

Re: Practical Guidelines For Classical Guitaring: Standing (Posture For Guitarists pt.6)

Post by Arion Romanus » Mon Jun 10, 2019 7:08 pm

Thanks for another excellent video! I also play with a strap and would definitely recommend others try it as well. For what it's worth, I've attached my strap button at the underside of the heel (i.e. towards the ground) and I haven't had any problems with stability as the strap sort of "grips" the heel and holds it firmly. I also don't need locking buttons this way (although it would of course be safer that way). Apart from being able to freely adjust the height of the guitar, the strap also gives me greater control of the angle of the neck which is nice.

Speaking of adjustments; any thoughts on how high one should have the guitar? I usually go with the very rough guideline of having the headstock at about head height, but I'm not sure if that's always optimal.

PhD-Michael
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Re: Practical Guidelines For Classical Guitaring: Standing (Posture For Guitarists pt.6)

Post by PhD-Michael » Tue Jun 11, 2019 10:47 am

Arion Romanus wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 7:08 pm
Thanks for another excellent video! I also play with a strap and would definitely recommend others try it as well. For what it's worth, I've attached my strap button at the underside of the heel (i.e. towards the ground) and I haven't had any problems with stability as the strap sort of "grips" the heel and holds it firmly. I also don't need locking buttons this way (although it would of course be safer that way). Apart from being able to freely adjust the height of the guitar, the strap also gives me greater control of the angle of the neck which is nice.

Speaking of adjustments; any thoughts on how high one should have the guitar? I usually go with the very rough guideline of having the headstock at about head height, but I'm not sure if that's always optimal.
When I sat to play I loved that the guitar didn't move AT ALL. Now that I stand I love that I can change the neck angle if I need to.
As for guitar height; it's not set in stone because we're all made differently. Headstock somewhere around head height is fine, but you also want the neck at around 45º with your plucking hand (when it's in the normal plucking position rather than ponticello or dolce) somewhere around navel level. These guidelines are obviously all problematic due to individual variation.
If the guitar is too low or the neck angle too close to horizontal the left wrist will be too flexed and wrist pain becomes a risk. You want the left wrist straight or only slightly flexed as often as possible. Barré chords throw a spanner in the works! If the guitar is too high you'll have to raise your right shoulder.

PhD-Michael
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Re: Practical Guidelines For Classical Guitaring: Standing (Posture For Guitarists pt.6)

Post by PhD-Michael » Tue Jun 11, 2019 1:22 pm

Arion Romanus wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 7:08 pm
I also play with a strap and would definitely recommend others try it as well. For what it's worth, I've attached my strap button at the underside of the heel (i.e. towards the ground) and I haven't had any problems with stability as the strap sort of "grips" the heel and holds it firmly.
I think your guitar is stable because you've got a strap that grips your shoulder well, it's nothing to do with the strap gripping the guitar's heel. But whatever, if it works for you that's the main thing! If it's set up properly you should be able to move both hands freely without disrupting the guitar.

Arion Romanus

Re: Practical Guidelines For Classical Guitaring: Standing (Posture For Guitarists pt.6)

Post by Arion Romanus » Tue Jun 11, 2019 3:08 pm

I suppose that may be the case, though I've just got a standard cheap nylon strap, but as you said, my hands are free to move. I wonder if an alternative solution could be to attack some kind of counterweight near the back of the guitar/on the end of the strap; just in case on does have problems with balance. I've also seen videos of people using multiple straps/some kind of harness to hold the guitar. I suppose your prototype guitar will bypass this potential problem by design?

Thanks also for the tips on strap height - lots to think about!

PhD-Michael
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Re: Practical Guidelines For Classical Guitaring: Standing (Posture For Guitarists pt.6)

Post by PhD-Michael » Wed Jun 12, 2019 5:49 pm

Arion Romanus wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 3:08 pm
I suppose that may be the case, though I've just got a standard cheap nylon strap, but as you said, my hands are free to move. I wonder if an alternative solution could be to attack some kind of counterweight near the back of the guitar/on the end of the strap; just in case on does have problems with balance. I've also seen videos of people using multiple straps/some kind of harness to hold the guitar. I suppose your prototype guitar will bypass this potential problem by design?

Thanks also for the tips on strap height - lots to think about!
Adding a counterbalance might not be a good idea because it increases the weight bearing down on the small contact area of the strap. Yes, my prototype aims to fix the balance issue.
On guitar height and angle: I suddenly developed sharp left wrist pain. I took a couple of days off and elevated the neck a bit and had no more trouble.

Arion Romanus

Re: Practical Guidelines For Classical Guitaring: Standing (Posture For Guitarists pt.6)

Post by Arion Romanus » Wed Jun 12, 2019 6:15 pm

I'm glad to hear your wrist problems didn't persist. I'm currently undergoing some physical therapy for problems with my right arm and shoulders (from computer use/poor posture, not from guitar playing).

Speaking of elevating the neck, by the way, any thoughts on holding the guitar cello style à la Paul Galbraith? It seems to (at least theoretically) allow for a straighter left wrist, but I wonder if the more elevated elbow can cause other problems. Do you think it's a reasonable trade-off?

Dirck Nagy
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Re: Practical Guidelines For Classical Guitaring: Standing (Posture For Guitarists pt.6)

Post by Dirck Nagy » Wed Jun 12, 2019 9:03 pm

It is a shame my compadre Andrei Krylov isn't a member here any more. Standing Posture Partisan Extraordinaire!

We could probably search for his old posts.

cheers, Andrei!
dirck

PhD-Michael
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Re: Practical Guidelines For Classical Guitaring: Standing (Posture For Guitarists pt.6)

Post by PhD-Michael » Thu Jun 13, 2019 12:52 pm

Arion Romanus wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 6:15 pm
I'm glad to hear your wrist problems didn't persist. I'm currently undergoing some physical therapy for problems with my right arm and shoulders (from computer use/poor posture, not from guitar playing).

Speaking of elevating the neck, by the way, any thoughts on holding the guitar cello style à la Paul Galbraith? It seems to (at least theoretically) allow for a straighter left wrist, but I wonder if the more elevated elbow can cause other problems. Do you think it's a reasonable trade-off?
Take it easy with the therapy - going slower is better. Be aware that your playing might contribute to the problem. Don't take that to mean I'm telling you to stop, though!
As for the cello posture, while the seated position and body posture are good, cellist's aren't immune to RSI. Cubital tunnel syndrome AKA cellphone elbow AKA cellist's elbow! The left arm, being so elevated, risks impingements (the thoracic outlet syndrome mentioned in my video). The right arm isn't as supported. My nails pluck at about 45º to the string's length but the cello posture forces a perpendicular attack, which sounds more trebly.

Arion Romanus

Re: Practical Guidelines For Classical Guitaring: Standing (Posture For Guitarists pt.6)

Post by Arion Romanus » Thu Jun 13, 2019 2:42 pm

PhD-Michael wrote:
Thu Jun 13, 2019 12:52 pm
Take it easy with the therapy - going slower is better. Be aware that your playing might contribute to the problem. Don't take that to mean I'm telling you to stop, though!
As for the cello posture, while the seated position and body posture are good, cellist's aren't immune to RSI. Cubital tunnel syndrome AKA cellphone elbow AKA cellist's elbow! The left arm, being so elevated, risks impingements (the thoracic outlet syndrome mentioned in my video). The right arm isn't as supported. My nails pluck at about 45º to the string's length but the cello posture forces a perpendicular attack, which sounds more trebly.
I've definitely slowed way down with my guitar practice and my physiotherapist gave me a set of stretches and exercises for me to do that I'm currently working on three times a week. If nothing else it goes to show that no matter how you play the guitar you should definitely look out for your general fitness. I'm actually lucky that I'm playing guitar as well; if it wasn't for me worrying about my ability to play I would have probably gone way longer without seeking professional help :?

Strange to think that in the old days people would actively seek out a more perpendicular position, even to the point of doing that awkward bend of the wrist that you see in old pictures of Tárrega and Segovia etc. :chaud:

Dirck Nagy wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 9:03 pm
It is a shame my compadre Andrei Krylov isn't a member here any more. Standing Posture Partisan Extraordinaire!
Speaking of Andrei Krylov, I recall seeing this video of his where he briefly talks about playing with a strap. He's attached it the same way I have and it seems to have worked out for both of us.

gebake
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Re: Practical Guidelines For Classical Guitaring: Standing (Posture For Guitarists pt.6)

Post by gebake » Fri Aug 02, 2019 2:25 pm

Just wanted to say a quick thanks for this video! Was very entertaining and has convinced me to attack my guitar and add strap buttons like I’ve been procrastinating about.

closet guitarist
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Re: Practical Guidelines For Classical Guitaring: Standing (Posture For Guitarists pt.6)

Post by closet guitarist » Fri Aug 02, 2019 5:09 pm

[/quote]My nails pluck at about 45º to the string's length but the cello posture forces a perpendicular attack, which sounds more trebly.
[/quote]

Not so sure about the above statement. Pizzicato on the cello is typically played towards the end of the finger board (like the other bowed sting instruments) so in order to play perpendicular to the cello string would require the elbow to be lowered a great deal. I do not recall ever seeing the cello being played like this except as one of the techniques of the bow. The reason pizzicato on the cello is not usually played below the finger board is that the strings will become oily from direct contact with the fingers. When the bow is subsequently used the oil will transfer to the hair of the bow and eventually darken the hair but more importantly the oil will diminish the bow's ability to bite into the string and rosin will be less able to adhere to the hair as well.

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CSeye
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Re: Practical Guidelines For Classical Guitaring: Standing (Posture For Guitarists pt.6)

Post by CSeye » Sun Aug 11, 2019 2:39 am

PhD-Michael wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 6:32 pm
In part 6 of my light-hearted posture series for guitarists I bring you tips for how to get the best out of playing standing up. This is intended for classical & flamenco guitarists but will benefit guitarists of any style.
:bravo:
Entertaining, but most importantly, enlightening.
Thank you for sharing this information.

I enjoy my work but it's intense and involves sitting for 8-9 hours a day.
The balancing act includes whole body exercise - kata practice, and in recent months, standing to play my Godin Multiac Grand supported by a wide strap. The ease of playing with strap support while standing has encouraged me to play more frequently. Interesting! :D
Cordoba C9, Godin Multiac Grand

PhD-Michael
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Re: Practical Guidelines For Classical Guitaring: Standing (Posture For Guitarists pt.6)

Post by PhD-Michael » Tue Aug 20, 2019 11:34 am

closet guitarist wrote:
Fri Aug 02, 2019 5:09 pm
Not so sure about the above statement. Pizzicato on the cello is typically played towards the end of the finger board (like the other bowed sting instruments) so in order to play perpendicular to the cello string would require the elbow to be lowered a great deal. I do not recall ever seeing the cello being played like this except as one of the techniques of the bow. The reason pizzicato on the cello is not usually played below the finger board is that the strings will become oily from direct contact with the fingers. When the bow is subsequently used the oil will transfer to the hair of the bow and eventually darken the hair but more importantly the oil will diminish the bow's ability to bite into the string and rosin will be less able to adhere to the hair as well.
Watch a video of Galbraith, you'll notice his arm (and therefore fingers ) is (are) perpendicular to the strings most of the time. I wasn't talking about playing cello - I meant Galbraith's cello posture mimicry!

PhD-Michael
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Re: Practical Guidelines For Classical Guitaring: Standing (Posture For Guitarists pt.6)

Post by PhD-Michael » Tue Aug 20, 2019 11:37 am

CSeye wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 2:39 am
I enjoy my work but it's intense and involves sitting for 8-9 hours a day.
The balancing act includes whole body exercise - kata practice, and in recent months, standing to play my Godin Multiac Grand supported by a wide strap. The ease of playing with strap support while standing has encouraged me to play more frequently. Interesting! :D
Great stuff! I don't suppose I influenced your decision to play standing up, did I?

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