Fingerstyle Foundations: How to Hold Your Guitar
Welcome to this first installment of a series of lessons on Fingerstyle Guitar Foundations.
Today, I’m discussing the most basic concern beginners face when they begin learning to play fingerstyle guitar: How do you hold the guitar, and how do you position your hands?
In this video, I walk you through several different options you have and the pros and cons of each:
More than anything, what I want you to be aware of is the tradeoffs you make when you choose to hold the guitar one way vs. another.
Be aware of the tension in your body and notice how different ways of holding the guitar impact the straightness of your spine, the angle of your hands and fingers on the guitar and how rooted into the ground you feel.
My Preferred Methods for Holding the Guitar
When I’m practicing seriously, I use the classical position with the guitar placed between my legs and leaning against my solar plexus. However, I use the Gitano almost religiously. It is THAT fantastic. So much better than a footstool.
(If you’d like a Gitano of your very own, head here.)
If I’m looking for a more casual playing experience, I usually just place the guitar on my right leg near the hip. However, I still use the Gitano in this position, which raises the neck of the guitar up to a more comfortable level. I also rarely do any serious practicing while holding the guitar in this position. The tension that results from twisting my spine to orient my body to the guitar on my hip inhibits my ability to play relaxed and fluidly at a high level.
Let Your Experience Guide You
Whatever you do, don’t take my word for how to hold your guitar.
Explore the different options that appeal to you.
But always be aware of the many sensations your body experiences as you hold the guitar in different positions.
This may all feel like a big to-do about a very small issue, but trust me–how you hold the guitar serves as the foundation for all the music you will make moving forward.
It makes sense to choose consciously and deliberately with a good perspective on why you hold the guitar the way you do.