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How to Hold a Classical Guitar

When you are learning to play any instrument, it is essential to master the fundamentals and the classical guitar is no exception. Holding your guitar correctly will enable you to feel relaxed whilst playing and to more easily develop your technique. Playing your instrument will feel effortless if you are properly seated and holding your guitar correctly.

Sitting & posture

Your chosen chair should not be too high or too low. You should be able to sit so that your thighs are parallel to the ground when both of your feet are flat on the floor and are the width of your hips apart. Straighten your spine, neck and head to balance your upper body.

Place your guitar

Your guitar must be positioned so as to afford you easy access to the strings with both hands. If you are using a footstool, place this underneath your left foot and then place the guitar so that the middle of the body is resting on your left thigh. The lower bout should rest on your right thigh. If you need to make more room for the body, turn you right foot slightly outwards.

If you are using an attachable support, attach this to the support on the side of the guitar and then place it on your left leg. The lower bout should rest on your right leg.

If you have chosen to use a strap, attach this to both ends of the instrument then slip your right arm and your head through the strap. The strap should rest across your back and over your left shoulder. Again, the lower bout should rest on your right thigh. Adjust the strap if necessary as the guitar should not feel too loose.

Positioning your guitar

The neck of your guitar should be sitting at an angle of less than 45 degrees. This will mean that the head is not above the level of your eyes. Whichever type of support you have chosen to use, the guitar must be centred across your body. To check this, look down. Your nose should be somewhere between the 12th fret and the sound hole of the instrument. The top of the guitar should be sitting at about chest level. It must be well- balanced so that it will remain in place without your hands or arms touching it. If you believe you have the guitar positioned correctly but it won’t stay in place, consider investing in grippers to place on your thighs.

Arm placement

Raise your right arm and place it on the lower bout of the instrument. Your arm should feel balanced. In other words, you shouldn’t feel as if you have to hold it in place. Put your left arm around the middle of the neck. Rest your thumb behind the neck and your fingers lightly on the fret-board. Both arms should extend an equal distance from your body. Both wrists should be relatively straight and yet relaxed. You may have to arch your right hand a little to reach the strings. Keep your shoulder’s relaxed too.

If you struggle to place your arms correctly, the position of your guitar might not be ideal. Start from the beginning and make the necessary adjustments before replacing your arms.

The following video will help you to adopt the right posture and to hold you guitar correctly:


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