Friday, July 13, 2007

Finding the Right Hold

Guitar practice is coming along. The scales are getting smoother. Somehow it still feels kind of strange. I'm trying different positions for holding the guitar to see which feels best. Each one changes the way I fret the strings and thus requires a different focus on practice.

Lots of musicians just hold the guitar across their thigh. This works well for folk and country playing. It puts the neck down low and I find it difficult for my wrist to flex properly and to play certain chords. I can change that somewhat by crossing my legs and thus gaining a little more comfortable height for the neck. Classical guitarists use a more upright position for playing which gives you a lot of room to move up and down the neck for different chords and scales (see photo for example). I find that better but not totally comfortable yet. Right now, I switch back and forth between crossed thighs and a not quite correct classical hold (I don't have one of those foot stands). Both work but I'm not fully comfortable with either of them yet. Hopefully, practice will bring one hold into near constant use so that I can stop worrying about that and concentrate on the hand memory part.


jsd said...

hope your guitar practicing is going well; i've never learned scales; tried learning by notes first, then chords and vice versa; unfortunately i want faster results; am very interested in how to solve the "oh so that's what you were playing" problem.

Lee said...

Thanks JS! I started out on chords like a lot of folk music players. Then a different teacher taught me scales. Gotta admit I don't use 'em much but it helps with familiarity and I practice. I think, but it needs questioning, that the trick to having the song sound familiar is either which root string you pluck or whether you "walk" to the next chord which I was shown very briefly. Simple works best for me. I'll ask more about how to make it sound familiar.

If you'd like, I have an old teaching book that has not only chords but also strumming instruction as well as plucking patterns for the songs it has. That has always worked better for me. I get stuck on just one type of strumming and it doesn't work well for everything. Maybe we could get together at your place some evening? I'd bring both book and guitar.