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10 tips on how to get your guitar playing position right

Posture
(Image credit: Future)

Do you sit, stand, slouch or even lie down when you play acoustic or electric guitar? Your playing position affects that of your hands. Start the transformation by getting your posture sorted.

1. Sitting posture

Posture

(Image credit: Future)

Your feet should be shoulder-width apart, pointing forward. Your shoulders should be back and your back straight, resting against the back of your seat.


2. Angle of guitar 

Posture

(Image credit: Future)

Your guitar’s body should sit against your ribcage, with the underside of your forearm resting on the guitar. Depending on its shape, your guitar’s body should reach your belly button.


3. Standing posture

Posture

(Image credit: Future)

Guitars are heavy, so make sure you keep your back straight and avoid the temptation to lean over towards your fretting hand. Bad habits ingrained early are difficult to undo later on.


4. Strap height 

Posture

(Image credit: Future)

A low-slung guitar looks cool, but all your seated hand positions change drastically and you’ll have to compensate. The best way is to set your strap so the guitar’s position doesn’t change when you stand.


5. Picking 

Posture

(Image credit: Future)

Aim to play notes with the tip of your pick. This will help you play accurately and will stop your pick snagging on the strings.


6. Wrist movement 

Posture

(Image credit: Future)

Your picking and strumming movement should come mostly from the wrist. It should feel loose and move freely. Your forearm will move a little, but make sure it isn’t doing all the work.


7. Thumb position  

Posture

(Image credit: Future)

The pad of your thumb should be upright around the middle of the neck. Everyone’s hand is different, so there are no hard and fast rules, but avoid pushing with the base of your thumb, as this will limit your mobility.


8. Thumb for bends 

Posture

(Image credit: Future)

You’ll probably need to move your thumb. Many players hook their thumb over the top of the neck to give them extra leverage when performing string bends.


9. Finger placement 

Posture

(Image credit: Future)

Place your fingers close to the frets without being directly on top of them. This will eliminate fret buzz and help your playing sound clean and accurate.


10. Playing chords

Posture

(Image credit: Future)

Playing more than one note at a time can result in fingers on lower-sounding strings muting higher notes. If you can’t play all the notes with your fingertips, adjust your thumb position.

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