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Lesson #2: Holding the Guitar

by Tyler de Witt posted on 1999-10-17
Topic: For Beginners Subtopic: General
Level: Beginner Number of Readers: 73527

Holding the Guitar

The way you hold the guitar will be different depending what kind of guitar you are using. I'll start with how to hold an acoustic guitar.

To hold an acoustic guitar, curved indentation of the body should rest on one of your legs. If you're right handed, this usually means the right leg. The neck of the guitar will protrude to the left. The crook of your right arm should hook over the edge of your body, allowing your forearm to swing down in front of the strings. Over the sound hole(or near it) is where you will sound the strings. Your left arm should go underneath the neck. The thumb of your left hand will press against the back of the neck, and your other four fingers will be used to press down the strings on the fretboard.

Holding an electric guitar is almost the same, except I doubt you'll be able to let the crook of your right arm hook over the edge, because of the shape of the body. There's more of a tendency to slouch with an electric guitar, so try to keep your back fairly straight. If you're standing up and using a strap, remember not to let your guitar hang too low. I know it looks cool, but it makes it really hard to play anything. Once you get really good, then you can do whatever you want, for now, keep the strap short.

That's really all there is too holding a guitar. There's small details that aren't important right now, but might become very important later, depending on how technically proficient you wish to become. You'll probably end up changing the way you hold your guitar a couple of times during the course of your playing, so don't worry about getting it completely perfect right now.

Things to remember from this lesson:

1. The guitar rests on your leg if you are sitting down.
2. The right arm drapes over the edge of the body, and the forearm dangles down and is used to sound the strings.
3. The left arm goes under the neck, and the thumb of the left hand rests on the back of the neck, while the other fingers are used to push down the strings.
4. If you're using an electric guitar, don't slouch and don't let it hand down too low.

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