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  • Guitar size and position

    Posted by jenbicimsn-com on December 2, 2022 at 4:54 am

    If there is already a thread, please point me to it. I just wants some ideas for best guitar posture/position and size… and it winds up hurting my shoulder/back after awhile.

    SERE replied 1 year, 2 months ago 10 Members · 9 Replies
  • 9 Replies
  • GerryB56

    December 2, 2022 at 10:07 am

    I struggle with neck and shoulder discomfort, too, after playing for awhile. Check out Tony’s Daily Stretches course in the Skills Courses section – they do help. Some people suggest using the classical playing position, with guitar on your left leg and held at an upwards angle, but I’ve not given that a serious try so far. I’m wondering if using a shoulder strap and playing standing up might help. As for size, I avoid the dreadnought style guitars, finding them too awkward to reach my right arm over to play comfortably. I have concert hall size acoustics, and a Taylor GS Mini, which is very light and easy to handle (though it does have a narrower neck which presents other challenges!)

  • Loraine

    December 2, 2022 at 11:16 am

    @jenbicimsn-com Its all about what works best for you. The smaller bodied guitars will be less stressful on your neck, shoulders and back. I have guitars ranging from smaller (Gs mini to a 12 string dreadnaught. As the bodies get larger and the necks longer, I find I can only play for short periods because of Pain or discomfort. Even with the smaller bodied guitars, I have to make sure I’m in the right height chair, keep good posture, raise the neck of the guitar a little (some use the classical position as mentioned by @GerryB56 ). Standing corrects the posture issue – harder to slouch or bend over the guitar when standing. If you’re already using a smaller bodied guitar with a shorter neck length, then examine your posture, play in a relaxed state, shorten your practice periods, opting for more practice periods throughout the day instead of one long one. Good luck with it.

  • Cadgirl

    December 3, 2022 at 5:18 am

    @jenbicimsn-com Sounds like you have gotten some good advice already but I have to add my 2 cents. Your size plays a lot into what size / type guitar you would do good with. I’m 5’6” average sized woman with carpel tunnel in both my wrists. I wear a brace at night that helps my carpel tunnel but, if it flairs up, I’m only good for 10 minutes no matter what I do. Otherwise I’m good to play for hours as long as I’m taking a break here and there. I had a Martin D28 which is a big guitar and for me it was uncomfortable for me to play. Same issues that you mention, shoulder and back pain. Now, I prefer a smaller guitar. GS-mini is a great size. Easier for me to get my arm around. Then I have a couple of Grand Concert sizes, which are just a tad bigger. I also want to mention my Grand Concert sizes are only 12 fret models so the neck is a bit shorter. I start out sitting very upright but then start slouching over my guitar like a crab by the time I done. I thought both @GerryB56 and @Loraine gave good advice. Also go to your nearest guitar store and try out different guitars. But, what feels good in the store might not feel good 2 hours into playing. Remember to stretch out before and during your playing. Good Luck to you.

  • Kitman

    December 3, 2022 at 7:26 am

    Hi @jenbicimsn-com , great advice in the posts above. I offer a potential resource of good guitar play posture and relaxing when playing. Judy Minot is an author and musician tht ha written a helpful book full of tips that apply to guitar and actually. Life in general. Her book is call “Best Practice”’ and her web site is https://www.judyminot.com/bestpractice. Her book may also be purchased on Amazon. Best to you in finding a solution!

  • That_Guy

    December 3, 2022 at 7:52 am

    It’s expensive but I can tell you that Gibson makes a studio series called the G-45 that has a shallow body

    If you’re having trouble finding a guitar that fits you it’s definitely a good idea but there is no one size. Any size person can play any size guitar. You will see a little tiny Loretta Lynn playing a jumbo size which is the biggest they make or a full grown man playing a single o-18. Most professionals choose a guitar size foe the different tones they make. Bigger = louder plus more bass. Smaller = more distinct note separation.

    When I first started playing my guitar would leave a big red crease across my chest under my right nipple. I don’t know if I just figured out a better posture or just got used to it but now it doesn’t bother me at all and doesn’t leave any sort of mark. I guess I used a hunch over the guitar trying to look down and see what I was doing but now I don’t really need to do that anymore.

  • Carnelia

    December 6, 2022 at 2:56 pm

    I have a huge dreadnought (Taylor 310), which I need for playing with a group in a big room, and I make myself use it for daily practice because it’s so much harder to play – keeps me in shape for anything! (it also sounds wonderful) I’m a smallish female and getting my arms around it has been challenging – the classical position turned out to be the answer. I googled “women playing big guitars” and there are a lot of women who use this position with the headstock pretty high up, parallel to your ear roughly. Resting the guitar on your left leg, letting the big body drop between your legs, is a bit like sitting when you’re 9 months pregnant! Having a good firm regular chair has helped, no sofas. I have also found that 15-20 minutes of yoga a day, including lotus pose (or some variation), where you sit up straight and cross-legged for 10 minutes (build up gradually), has eliminated back/shoulder guitar-holding strain.

  • [email protected]

    December 17, 2022 at 9:55 am

    Everyone: Thank you for your candid responses. I appreciate you all!

  • rancher6231gmail-com

    January 26, 2023 at 5:43 am

    I have always struggle playing chords cleanly and reaching all the finger positions. I am an average sized man with no disabilities and I have literally been trying for years. I can read music and play notes fine but chords are always hard. My best solution so far is holding a 3/4 size guitar in the classical position. I worry that somewhere down the road this is going to be a problem but it is working right now….

    • SERE

      January 27, 2023 at 11:02 am

      Yes playing the small one may slow you down a little if you change to a larger guitar. But it’s doable. Have switched from steel string to classical and back. Now play different songs on each

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