Stand or Sit for your guitar practice.
Should you sit or stand for your guitar practice? This is something I've been asked many times before.
So i will say straight away, that I think it is a good idea to sit and stand for your guitar practice. I'll go through some pros and cons and tell you why I like to do both.
At the beginning holding a guitar around your body can cause aches and pains you are not used to. This is normal as you get used to playing the guitar on a daily basis. This will lend to people sitting for most or all of their daily practice routines. As you play more, and become more comfortable with the guitar, your muscles will get stronger and this will not be a problem.
When sitting most people will have their guitar rested on their leg, with the guitar slightly turned away from them. This is a very natural position to be in when sitting down, unless you are classically trained, were you would have the guitar in-between your legs, with one foot on a foot stool. This is actually something I am leaning into more over the last year or so, I am sure I will talk about the benefits of using a foot stool in up and coming blogs.
When we are sitting down we are slightly hunched over the guitar giving a clear view of all the frets and strings. This is great when learning new scale and riffs ,helping you to navigate around the fretboard. This changes when standing up. Your view of the guitar becomes very dependant on the fret marking rather then looking at each string, which when standing up kind of becomes one string.
Don't worry too much, this is what are practice sessions are for, to learn and discover what best works for us.
Strap position when standing up comes into play at this point. I will make a blog post about strap positions but at this point just go with what feels comfortable. I will say though that try and have the same strap position when sitting down as when standing up.
Pros and Cons
Can clearly see each string
This is great when learning something new like scales or chords. You can really make sure you are playing the right notes, and work on making what you are playing sound clean and clear.
You can practice longer, which is great when we are at a level of practicing longer than an hour. This gives us more time with the instrument and see progress quicker.
Less weight around your body
let's face it, guitars are heavy and anyone who as stood up with a les Paul will know the struggle of playing one of the classics. Sitting down helps with this, and as long as you are aware of you posture, sitting it can really help with them heavier guitars.
Fretting hand and picking hand will be in a different position from standing up.
This is something you will notice the minute you stand up. This really comes down to your arms rather than you hands as you arms will be more stretched out. This may have an affect on your fretting hand, which maybe inclined to over bend.
False sense of being able to play something smoothly
This one is related to the last one. Your hand will be in one position sitting and a different position standing. If you spend a lot of time learning a new riff or lick sitting, then you go and stand up and play it, your hands are not in the same position making what you have just learnt, seem more difficult to play. Over time this won't be a problem, but at the beginning can start putting people off. I can assure you it will get more comfortable to play sitting and standing.
May develop bad posture
You have to look out for this one. Make sure you sitting up right and not getting into bad habits. I am very much as guilty as the next guitar player, and I'm always making sure I am aware of how my posture is when sitting down. Playing with bad posture will lead to aches and pains, resulting in having to stop your guitar practice. I'll do some future blogs on posture and how to develop and be aware of it.
Getting used to the weight of the guitar
When you are starting out, the guitar can feel very heavy, which can lead to us sitting down more for are guitar practice. Practicing a couple of times a week standing up will help with this. Getting used to the feel and they way the guitar moves when standing, is hugely beneficial when learning the guitar.
If all you do is sit down when you play guitar, you might struggle when you get called to go to a jam session, or play your first gig. You may find it hard to adjust to standing up. You want to be prepared for this, and its simple, just once or twice a week stand up during your practice session. This will put you in good stead for when you are ready to start playing with other musicians. Also, for gigs you could be standing up for 2 hours or more, and the more you get used to this, the better.
This is an interesting one. It can hugely help with your timing. When you sit down and play the guitar, most of the time you are just tapping your foot to keep time. The minute you stand up, you start using you whole body to keep time. This will feel strange at first but when you starting using you body to keep time. you start to feel it on a deeper level. Instead of relying on your hands and foot, you can really move to the music, giving you better time and feel.
Won't be able to practice as long
The only real Con I could think of at this time for standing up, is not being able to practice as long as you want. At first your practice session might only bit 15-30min long, which is fine for standing. But when the time comes and you're practicing for more than an hour, it can start having an effect on your shoulders. It's a little different than playing a gig for two hours where you are moving about more freely. When it comes to practicing standing up, you tend to be in one position, in a room, concentrating on what you are trying to play. Be aware of this and make sure to take breaks and drink water.
Something I will say that when you are first learning the guitar, and possibly with in the first year, standing and sitting are going to feel like two different worlds. Trust me when I say, you do get used to both playing positions, and they do become one. After you have been playing for some time, you find that when you learn a new riff or lick, sitting down and standing up, playing the same riff is no different.
When I am learning a new song, I will sit down. But when it comes to practicing the song as a whole, and learning the structure of the song, I tend to stand up, giving me the confidence I will be able to play the song at a gig with no trouble.
I hope this helps answer some of you questions on whether to sit or stand when playing.
If you would like more help in this or are interested in guitar lessons. please feel free to get in contact
till next time.