Hi, how are you doing? Justin here! Welcome to BC-106, where we’re going to be talking about body posture and fretting hand position, which would normally be your left hand but for left handed people that would be your right hand. So, first thing I want to talk about is just the general way you’re going to hold your guitar. Now, some of you may have seen classical guitar players, where they put their guitar over like this and have the guitar at an angle. It’s kind of weird because I’m sitting on the floor right now, but if you’re sitting on a seat and you’re sticking the guitar up like that, the neck pokes up in the air, right? Now, that method is not bad, well not bad, it’s very good for playing classical guitar, and it’s actually a very good position when you’re going to keep your hand very square to the neck and when you’re using fingerstyle to pluck the strings. For most rock and poppy sort of style guitar, which is what I’m doing in this course, that type of posture is not really very good. It’s very bad for strumming, it’s next to impossible to get your thumb over in a useful fashion, that’s a little bit more advanced than we’re going to cover in the beginners course, but there are quite a few problems with that as far as your kind of general pop and rock style guitar playing goes. So if you want to play a classical guitar, by all means get it over on that other knee, otherwise, your guitar should be sitting on the leg on the same side as your strumming hand. Right? That’s where it should be. It should be quite tight to your body,
don’t let it be slipping too far forward. Also, don’t be letting the guitar
point forward and falling over. Some people kind of bring the guitar up so they can see it and look at their hand. That’s a really, really bad habit. So make sure you’re keeping the guitar pointing up and down, tucked in at the back so it’s right up at the top of your leg where it joins your hip and it should be tight against your body. Now on an acoustic guitar, the top of your arm here will sit on top of the guitar, right where the elbow is, so the arm is kind of hanging down. I can completely relax like that, and it’s really steady. That’s how it should be. And the combination of the guitar being up against the back there
and your arm resting on it, keeps the guitar neck really steady. Because the one thing that you want to
be making sure you’re doing, whatever way you decide to play the guitar,
is that your fretting hand, the hand that’s going to make the chord shapes and stuff, the fretting hand is not supporting the guitar neck. It’s really, really, really important. The fretting hand does not support the guitar neck.
At all. Right? So, part of the combination here is
your arm resting on and kind of shoving the guitar a little bit that way,
kind of pulling it into your body a little bit, the fact that the shape of the guitar has this little area for your leg to go in, it helps keep it really steady
and it should be, not rock hard in this position but solid, because you don’t want the neck wobbling around while you’re trying to change chords. That’s just, that ain’t gonna happen. Right? So, really try and make sure that you’re keeping no support on the neck with your fretting hand and that it stays steady. Don’t let it be moving around too much. If it’s moving around a lot, you’re doing something wrong. So, reexamine your posture a little bit. Now, also make sure that you’re not hunching over like this. Particularly, I call it craning, when people are going like this to look over and see their fingers. You should be able to still tell a bit, even though you can’t see them right on, try not to spend too much time with your neck craned over, you will give yourself a sore neck. I don’t want to be responsible for any mega chiropractor bills and stuff that you get. That would generally suck. Okay, when it comes to wearing a strap, it’s a good idea, particularly if you play an electric guitar,
to use a guitar strap. Let me reach over here and grab an electric guitar. Now, of course you make sure you’ve got strap locks there. Now what I go for with my strap is, that the strap is almost in the same position as if I was standing up. So if I’m sitting up straight, the strap is pretty much tight. And if I go to stand up, the guitar
won’t really move much, right? I’m supporting it now, but it’s roughly in the same place when I’m sitting and when I’m standing. Because what you don’t want if you’re a beginner, you don’t want your guitar kind of
sitting up like this when you’re practicing, and then you go to stand up,
you’ve got your guitar at your knees. So, somebody like Slash say, plays with his guitar real low, right? So it’s halfway between his
groin and his knees, crazy. I don’t know how he plays like that, I can’t. But he obviously does and he plays
guitar awesome with the guitar that low. The danger with that when you’re starting out is that you have to have your wrist kind of bent in a funny way and that’s really not a good idea when you’re starting out. So, my recommendation would be to use a strap, have it at roughly the same height as when you’re sitting or standing. I don’t tend to use a strap too much when I’m actually sitting, but if you’re standing it’s a good idea. If you’ve got back problems,
a really good thing that you might want to try too, is using one of those kneel chairs. Where you’re kind of kneeling down on a little pad and you’re using your guitar with a strap. Forces you to sit up really straight, keeps your neck and your spine in a really good position. So if you’ve got any back problems, get yourself a kneel chair, a guitar strap
would be a really good thing for you. Okay, now I want to go up close and show you, talk about a couple of the left hand things. Most important here with your left hand, make sure your finger nails are short. You cannot practice guitar if you’ve got long finger nails on your fretting hand. Right? It doesn’t work. So you know, I have mine really short. Like, you can’t really see any white kind of nail stuff at the end. But you don’t have to go that short, but they need to be short enough so they don’t touch the wood of the guitar when you’re playing your chords or scales. That’s really important. Now, I’m going to show you now a little exercise, I’m going to jump back on the acoustic guitar, give you a little exercise, to make sure you understand where you should position your left hand fingers.
This is really important. Okay, so what I want you to do in this little exercise here, is I just want you to get your first finger out, and this is the fifth fret here. And I want you to put it right up
next to the fret, alright? Not back here and not in the middle, but right up next to the fret, just not touching it. Right? Now, I want you to play that note . . . which would be the note C, yeah?
And I want you to see how lightly you can play that note and still get the note. So, play it and keep relaxing your finger . . . and eventually it will go dead. Press it back again. Okay, now that’s really light. Right? I’m really hardly having to press
on that to get that note sounding good at all. I can press a lot harder if I want mate, my finger will go white, but generally,
I don’t need a lot of pressure on that to make a nice note. Now if I move my finger right to the back of the fret here, and try this same exercise, that’s about the same pressure as I had on the front. I can get a clear note, but I really have to press. And as soon as I do that, I’m going to get a really big nasty line in my finger. So it’s really important at this stage that as a beginner guitar player you realise that when you get your finger
right up next to the front of kind of where the space is, so if you’re playing a D chord, and I know I’m not on the right frets or whatever, but you see all of my fingers are really close up to the fret see, for each one it’s not like back here, trying to get if you played a D chord like that,
you’d end up with all of this sort of stuff. It’s horrible. So every time you get a finger in a fret, you try and get it right up next to the fret without touching it. That’s the rule.
As close as you can get it to the fret, without touching it. It’s a good exercise. Try it for yourself a few times and get used to the idea that you can really, that you know that putting it too far back is a bad idea and that you got to try and get it up next to the fret. Well, I hope you had a good go at that little exercise there with your left hand finger placement.
Very, very important part of your guitar journey that one. Last little thing, make sure you
stay relaxed while you’re playing. Try not to let your shoulders get all bunched up like this, try and keep them all really loose. When you’re loose, your body will naturally fall into a good posture when you’re playing. So just remember to try and stay being a cool cat and you know, keep your body nice and relaxed, don’t let yourself get too tense. Don’t try and sit funny.
Make sure you get a music stand too, none of this craning around to
look at the sheet music like that, it’s really bad for your neck. Okay, we’re ready for the next lesson. I’ll see you again, some time really soon. Bye bye!