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> Position While Practicing
Crazy_Diamond
post Apr 27 2011, 06:48 PM
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Hi guys,
I haven’t been around for quite some time now. I was so busy finishing my Master’s Degree thesis, but its finally done. I really didn’t play any guitar at all for the last 2 months and I find myself so bad now. My life as always followed that patterns with the guitar, I practice like hell, I start to get good and then the end of semester hits me like a car on the highway and I don’t find anytime to practice.

I remember that when I used to play a lot I start to notice some pain in my arms and shoulders. I was practicing some legato a few minutes ago and I notice that this pain could come back easily since I had some pressure in my arms. I am sure the problem comes from my posture with the guitar… so my question is

How do you find the optimal posture to practice and how can you fix the tension you have in your body ?

I have a few hypotheses on the elements that cause the pain.

First, I am wondering if all the time spent with my laptop is getting my wrists, arms and shoulders tired. If this is the case unfortunately, I don’t thin I can reduce the usage of my laptop. I a hope this is not the problem.

Second, I was practicing on a regular chair and I put my right foot on the horizontal bar under my chair. The result was that my guitar lifts a bit and my position seems more comfortable. I felt that I could practice my legato for a longer time in that position. Still that position wasn’t an ultimate one and my feet start hurting from that bar. I then question my self about using a foot stoole.

I have never seen anyone in my entourage practicing guitar with a foot stoole and I really wonder if it is a real solution or if I’m analyzing myself too much instead of practicing.

I want to do a real practice including AP, scales, legato… but I feel that the tension in my body is preventing me from getting the best out of my practicing routine.
Oh yes and I forgot…. I am not at home since a few weeks and I don’t know when I will get back, these means that I don’t play on my beloved Stratocaster but I play on an old beat up acoustic guitar.

Anyone can help me on finding solution to get the best posture possible and preventing any pain ?

Thanks for your help !!!
Simon



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thefireball
post Apr 27 2011, 07:00 PM
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I find that standing up is much more comfortable to me that sitting. When I sit, I tend to tense up. I'm a lot more relaxed when I stand up; it feels more natural.


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Crazy_Diamond
post Apr 27 2011, 07:15 PM
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QUOTE (thefireball @ Apr 27 2011, 02:00 PM) *
I find that standing up is much more comfortable to me that sitting. When I sit, I tend to tense up. I'm a lot more relaxed when I stand up; it feels more natural.


Are you saying that you do all your practicing routine standing up ?


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Brandon Earman
post Apr 27 2011, 07:50 PM
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QUOTE (thefireball @ Apr 27 2011, 01:00 PM) *
I find that standing up is much more comfortable to me that sitting. When I sit, I tend to tense up. I'm a lot more relaxed when I stand up; it feels more natural.


I have started to realize this as well. I do feel more relaxed and natural when I play and stand. I feel like I can really dig into the bends and stuff as well. Standing up can take some getting used to. Sitting down I can play slightly harder passages than standing, but I'm working to change this.


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Crazy_Diamond
post Apr 27 2011, 08:08 PM
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I should try practicing standing up but since I don't have my strat with I am only left with an accoustic with no strap.

I have'nt touch my guitar since the samll 20 minutes I played earlier and I feel some tension between my neck and my right shoulder...




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Bogdan Radovic
post Apr 27 2011, 09:15 PM
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When I want to get comfortable playing - I practice standing up. Sometimes I just can't find a sweet spot when sitting down. Type of chair also plays a big role, experiment with different ones to find one with perfect height/angle. I got used to practicing standing up really and it make perfect sense to me as I will be standing up when I play on stage - so no problems there...


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dark dude
post Apr 27 2011, 09:17 PM
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It's tough to advise you without seeing how you practice, but I'll try give a few pointers.

Use of a keyboard and mouse can put considerable strain on your arms, I've had it myself. I made sure to take breaks and ensure that my arms had enough support.

"Keyboard platforms are designed to keep your wrists and shoulders in a neutral, relaxed position. Palm Rests are also helpful in keeping your wrists in a neutral position." (Source). When that neutral, relaxed position is compromised, it can lead to increased stress, which leads to damage over time. I'd also advise taking breaks when you feel tightness or tiredness from typing and/or mouse use, to allow for recovery.

Try using a footstool, bunch of books, whatever you can find to prop your leg up:

I feel a lot less pressure on my picking arm's shoulder when I adopt this position, and the rest of my body feels fine too. Always try to keep your fretting hand's wrist as straight as possible, otherwise you're restricting blood flow, which leads to injury. Don't feel weird using this position, many do so.

Lastly, listen to your body. If you feel that a part is stressed or there's pain, stop and figure out why. If you persist, it can lead to problems later on, and demotivation will also arise. You haven't played for a while, so don't go in all guns blazing, remember to always warm-up, and listen to your body.


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Todd Simpson
post Apr 27 2011, 09:23 PM
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This is some great advice. This is traditional "Classical" guitar position and it's been used for hundreds of years for one reason. It works. It creates a comfy angle for the guitar, allows for reach, doesn't over stress any given body part and should be about where your guitar hits you when you stand up. That is, if you want to play the same stuff standing up that you spend hundreds of hours on while sitting down wink.gif

Todd
QUOTE (dark dude @ Apr 27 2011, 03:17 PM) *
It's tough to advise you without seeing how you practice, but I'll try give a few pointers.

Use of a keyboard and mouse can put considerable strain on your arms, I've had it myself. I made sure to take breaks and ensure that my arms had enough support.

"Keyboard platforms are designed to keep your wrists and shoulders in a neutral, relaxed position. Palm Rests are also helpful in keeping your wrists in a neutral position." (Source). When that neutral, relaxed position is compromised, it can lead to increased stress, which leads to damage over time. I'd also advise taking breaks when you feel tightness or tiredness from typing and/or mouse use, to allow for recovery.

Try using a footstool, bunch of books, whatever you can find to prop your leg up:

I feel a lot less pressure on my picking arm's shoulder when I adopt this position, and the rest of my body feels fine too. Always try to keep your fretting hand's wrist as straight as possible, otherwise you're restricting blood flow, which leads to injury. Don't feel weird using this position, many do so.

Lastly, listen to your body. If you feel that a part is stressed or there's pain, stop and figure out why. If you persist, it can lead to problems later on, and demotivation will also arise. You haven't played for a while, so don't go in all guns blazing, remember to always warm-up, and listen to your body.



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Crazy_Diamond
post Apr 27 2011, 09:52 PM
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QUOTE (dark dude @ Apr 27 2011, 04:17 PM) *
It's tough to advise you without seeing how you practice, but I'll try give a few pointers.

Use of a keyboard and mouse can put considerable strain on your arms, I've had it myself. I made sure to take breaks and ensure that my arms had enough support.

"Keyboard platforms are designed to keep your wrists and shoulders in a neutral, relaxed position. Palm Rests are also helpful in keeping your wrists in a neutral position." (Source). When that neutral, relaxed position is compromised, it can lead to increased stress, which leads to damage over time. I'd also advise taking breaks when you feel tightness or tiredness from typing and/or mouse use, to allow for recovery.

Try using a footstool, bunch of books, whatever you can find to prop your leg up:

I feel a lot less pressure on my picking arm's shoulder when I adopt this position, and the rest of my body feels fine too. Always try to keep your fretting hand's wrist as straight as possible, otherwise you're restricting blood flow, which leads to injury. Don't feel weird using this position, many do so.

Lastly, listen to your body. If you feel that a part is stressed or there's pain, stop and figure out why. If you persist, it can lead to problems later on, and demotivation will also arise. You haven't played for a while, so don't go in all guns blazing, remember to always warm-up, and listen to your body.


Thanks everyone for your advice!!!

I am wondering if any of you use that classical position???

I have never spent a lot of times with this.


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K1R
post Apr 27 2011, 10:04 PM
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I use classical position all the time and it is the most comfortable position for me smile.gif


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JamesT
post Apr 28 2011, 07:03 AM
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First of all, congratulations on finishing your masters thesis. It's an impressive accomplishment!

Regarding practice position, I have switched to standing up. I practice and play 100% of the time while standing up. The only exception is once a while when playing acoustic. When I used to practice sitting down, it was hard for me to play at all standing up so much so that it felt awkward when practicing with the band. It was just tough switching back and forth. Then some time later, I had taken a long break from guitar and noticed lower back pain from sitting kind of hunched over when practicing and it was then I decided to exclusively play standing up. And now I'm totally used to it. The balance of the guitar seems even better standing. I've gotten used to it to where I can practice for a two hour session without noticing any fatigue at all from the standing. After two hours, it's usually time for me to take a break anyway but even if I keep playing it only gets slightly tiring. Bottom line, I think that for me standing solved a bunch of my practice woes.


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Gabriel Leopardi
post Apr 28 2011, 07:24 AM
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yeah, classical position is very comfortable to play and seems to be the best posture to avoid pain or stress however it's so different from my standing up position (the guitar hits near from my shoulder). That's why I don't use it for practicing.
I agree with Bogdan suggestion,, and I will like to add that it's very important to stretch your back, arms, hands and fingers before starting you practice routine and try to feel relaxed during the whole routine.


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Apr 28 2011, 07:10 PM
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Just as much you fingers are getting tired when playing guitar, that much they are getting tired of working on a keyboard and with mice, specially on smaller laptop keyboards you are mentioning.

Position problems are notable for both guitar players and people who spend lot of time in front of a computer.

In short - your muscles need stretching before every longer session, wetter it's guitar or keyboard.


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Crazy_Diamond
post Apr 28 2011, 07:31 PM
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Thanks for all your input guys I will definetely spend more time on strechting. I have also practice standing up today I fell that I released some tension in my shoulder and in my neck.. I am going to practice again and see how it goes...

QUOTE (JamesT @ Apr 28 2011, 02:03 AM) *
First of all, congratulations on finishing your masters thesis. It's an impressive accomplishment!


Thanks !!! It was a lot of work smile.gif


QUOTE (Ivan Milenkovic @ Apr 28 2011, 02:10 PM) *

In short - your muscles need stretching before every longer session, wetter it's guitar or keyboard.


I'll spend more time on stretching then...


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thefireball
post Apr 28 2011, 07:45 PM
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There is some great advice here. I tried the classical position, but for some reason my guitar always felt like it was sliding off my leg. biggrin.gif
I had to keep pulling it snug to my body. I guess I'm doing it wrong.

QUOTE (Crazy_Diamond @ Apr 27 2011, 01:15 PM) *
Are you saying that you do all your practicing routine standing up ?

Yes, that is mostly true. However, when writing a song or something, then I'll usually sit down.

QUOTE (Brandon Earman @ Apr 27 2011, 01:50 PM) *
I have started to realize this as well. I do feel more relaxed and natural when I play and stand. I feel like I can really dig into the bends and stuff as well. Standing up can take some getting used to. Sitting down I can play slightly harder passages than standing, but I'm working to change this.

Regarding this last passage: I am in the same boat.


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Apr 28 2011, 09:07 PM
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QUOTE (thefireball @ Apr 28 2011, 08:45 PM) *
There is some great advice here. I tried the classical position, but for some reason my guitar always felt like it was sliding off my leg. biggrin.gif
I had to keep pulling it snug to my body. I guess I'm doing it wrong.


Yes, that is mostly true. However, when writing a song or something, then I'll usually sit down.


Regarding this last passage: I am in the same boat.


Me too, although standing position is a lot more comfortable and natural.


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Blister
post Apr 29 2011, 03:59 AM
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QUOTE
First of all, congratulations on finishing your masters thesis. It's an impressive accomplishment!


Congrats as that is an amazing accomplishment!

My vote goes for the classical position, as well. But I am curious if you try both, which works best for you?

Gary

This post has been edited by Blister: Apr 29 2011, 04:05 AM


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Ben Higgins
post Apr 29 2011, 10:20 AM
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QUOTE (thefireball @ Apr 28 2011, 07:45 PM) *
Yes, that is mostly true. However, when writing a song or something, then I'll usually sit down.


Regarding this last passage: I am in the same boat.


I'm exactly the same as you Fireball. I started practicing standing up a few months ago and managed to tackle 2 problems in one. 1) I avoided the tension in my arms and shoulders by playing in a position which allows your shoulders and arms to align themselves in a more natural state and 2) I improved my confidence in playing stood up.. as previously I only did it for gigs but always felt I could only play my more technical stuff sat down.

Crazy Diamond, I have the same issues if I sit down.. a lot of it is to do with stress starting in the neck and shoulders and travelling down the arms.. let's face it, we're asking our shoulders to hold themselves in a tensed state in order for us to play. I especially get this when playing an acoustic as my picking hand and arm has to sit higher because of the size of the guitar body. Classical position is a much more bodily comfortable position to practice in. Although I don't use it (mainly because I don't know what to do with my foot- I don't have a footstool, but will try a pile of books!) I know a lot of people who do and they swear by it.

And no, laptop / computer work doesn't help. I'm sure we're all in this boat aren't we ? tongue.gif But it doesn't have to be a problem.. just take occasional rests and make sure your wrists and other joints are already warm before you start typing.. lack of blood flow means cold ligaments, tendons etc which is what leads to strain.. but if they're warmed up then you should be able to avoid problems smile.gif


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