Putting the squeeze on your guitar

J Bird

Synchromatic
Dec 2, 2016
755
Enumclaw
Lately, I've been squeezing any and all guitars up against my ribcage with my right forearm. It seems to be giving me more control with my right (picking) hand, while also putting the fretboard into a more stable and friendly orientation for my left hand.

What do you all think about this discovery of mine?
 

Emergence

Synchromatic
Gold Supporting Member
May 25, 2022
711
New York
There’s a proper way to hold a classical guitar sitting on a stool with your left foot on an elevated foot rest resting the guitar against your left thigh with the neck raised. You must be able to get used to it but the position is maddening with an electric. Me? I play seated, crossing and uncrossing my legs to keep comfortable. I hold the guitar in my lap and position the body and neck so I can see where I’m plucking and fretting. I’m sure I look totally unprofessional but I spent my life as an engineer, not a guitarist.
 

Henry

I Bleed Orange
Apr 9, 2014
19,211
Petaluma
If that works better for you, good . . . BUT.

What this tells me is that the guitar is not positioned correctly. I am a firm believer that your 2 arms should have one job only - playing the guitar. Not holding the guitar. You should be able raise or move your arms to the side and and the guitar should be in the ideal spot. Otherwise your playing will be restrained and you will eventually fatigue yourself maybe even develop a cramp from the clamp.

I'd use your clamp method to find the best position for your guitar, then find the right strap, seat, foot stool, chair, posture, etc. that keeps the guitar there without you expending energy. It may not be perfect, but IMO that is what you should aim for.
 

dmunson

Gretschie
Dec 19, 2015
490
Charlotte, NC
Particularly for finger picking, holding the guitar in a stable position is one of the tricks of maintaining control of your attack.
As Henry mentioned, if you are expending an unusual amount of energy keeping the guitar stable, it does limit your ability to manuever either hand smoothly. Just try to maintain stability as naturally as possible, even if that means re-evaluationg how you are holding the instrument. It should all be as relaxed as you can make it.
 

new6659

Country Gent
Gold Supporting Member
Dec 10, 2018
3,378
Southwestern Ontario
Lately, I've been squeezing any and all guitars up against my ribcage with my right forearm. It seems to be giving me more control with my right (picking) hand, while also putting the fretboard into a more stable and friendly orientation for my left hand.

What do you all think about this discovery of mine?

Do you mean like this? Looks like Mike Bloomfield discovered this quite some time ago;)
1664247654108.jpeg
 

J Bird

Synchromatic
Dec 2, 2016
755
Enumclaw
Kind of, but more against my ribcage than pelvis.

It feels very natural, not like I'm trying to keep the guitar from slipping, more like I'm seizing control, confidently, with authority.
 

J Bird

Synchromatic
Dec 2, 2016
755
Enumclaw
You know that image from the early 60s with all their guitars practically right underneath their chins and the guitar necks pointing pretty straight up into the air? Yeah, that's sort of me, just not quite that dorky looking.
 

Henry

I Bleed Orange
Apr 9, 2014
19,211
Petaluma
You know that image from the early 60s with all their guitars practically right underneath their chins and the guitar necks pointing pretty straight up into the air? Yeah, that's sort of me, just not quite that dorky looking.
I also play pretty high up. I have short arms. I don't know how some play at their waist, my wrist doesn't twist like that!


Screenshot_20190615-163803_Samsung Internet.jpg
 

loudnlousy

Gretschified
Gold Supporting Member
Oct 18, 2015
12,707
Germany
Sidenote: I invested quite a lot of time practicing a certain technique that was new to me.
I did this sitting down.
When I went to band-reheasal I wanted to show my newly acquired skills to my bandmates and failed miserably.
I simply could not play it standing up.
So I learned that I should better exercise in that position that I intend to perform my stuff later.

1664274155625.png
 

ruger9

Country Gent
Nov 1, 2008
3,595
NJ
Campilongo, Frisell, and others have been using that technique to get a beautiful, gentle chorusing to their chords...

Campilongo had a video up on YT demonstrating it, but it's no longer available. This is the technique tho:

 

Bertotti

Gretschified
Jul 20, 2017
10,148
South Dakota
On acoustic and mandolin I play a lot of the time with out the strap and that means using my arms to hold the guitar. It is different but workable. Tue biggest issue is letting any tention leak into your position that will hurt your technique quite a lot.
 

Back in Black

Country Gent
Double Platinum Member
Jun 22, 2020
1,718
Ontario Canada
Lately, I've been squeezing any and all guitars up against my ribcage with my right forearm. It seems to be giving me more control with my right (picking) hand, while also putting the fretboard into a more stable and friendly orientation for my left hand.

What do you all think about this discovery of mine?

Hey JB,

Sounds more like ''love'' to me!

Not that there's anything wrong with that...I hug all mine regularly!

I've even been known to kiss a few.

Best,

BIB.
 

J Bird

Synchromatic
Dec 2, 2016
755
Enumclaw
Yes, it is some good love.

I'm concentrating on keeping everything relaxed while applying inward pressure with the meat of my forearm.

Another benefit is that I'm finally involving my ring finger and pinky into my picking. They end up being in closer proximity to the strings and I'm not having to anchor my pinky due to the added stability.
 

Henry

I Bleed Orange
Apr 9, 2014
19,211
Petaluma
Sidenote: I invested quite a lot of time practicing a certain technique that was new to me.
I did this sitting down.
When I went to band-reheasal I wanted to show my newly acquired skills to my bandmates and failed miserably.
I simply could not play it standing up.
So I learned that I should better exercise in that position that I intend to perform my stuff later.

View attachment 190824
Lol I learned that "technique" when I was a teenager but never had the right jacket to pull it off live. . .
 

Henry

I Bleed Orange
Apr 9, 2014
19,211
Petaluma
Yes, it is some good love.

I'm concentrating on keeping everything relaxed while applying inward pressure with the meat of my forearm.

Another benefit is that I'm finally involving my ring finger and pinky into my picking. They end up being in closer proximity to the strings and I'm not having to anchor my pinky due to the added stability.
Not learning to anchor is good. The "proper" posture is resting your fore arm and not anchoring your hand. Imo your arm should be unrestrained - you should be able to swivel at the elbow as well as at the wrist. Fixing the forearm or anchoring a pinky minimize flexibility which will make it harder to play in the long run and also unduly stress your body as other parts compensate for the rigidity. Maximize playing with minimum effort.
 


Top