I've noticed that many electric guitarists hold their guitars very low - almost so that their arms are straight. I'm not a very skilled guitar player but I can't even imagine playing with my arms stretched, especially the bar chords. Does anyone know how they achieve that?? or is it all about practice and arm strength?

3 Answers 3


Yes many electric guitarist do allow their guitar to hang below their waist. And some motorcycle riders like their handlebars so high that they look like they are hanging from a pull up bar! Those motorcyclist sacrifice some control of their bike and I believe the same applies for many guitarist who play with their guitars hanging too low.

Perhaps some find it easier to play this way, particularly if they have long fingers and therefore less need to bend or curl their wrist. Or some guitarist have adopted methods of fretting where they use the thumb to fret the bass strings on many chord formations. But I think many guitarist learn to play that way just because they think it looks cool.

I personally have no desire to every learn to play that way. For my body and hand shape, it puts way too much stress on my wrist to try to curl up to reach the fret board when it is positioned much below my elbow. The position I use (guitar slightly above waist height) allows me to keep my wrist relatively straight and relaxed. I feel that I have more control of my arm movement to move my hand up and down the neck because it's easier to rotate the shoulder when my forearm is more parallel to the floor than perpendicular.

Most guitarist will probably find it more comfortable to play the guitar in a position that allows for a straighter wrist and a forearm closer to parallel to the ground. Personally I would rather use a position that provides greater comfort and ease of playing than try to look like the rock stars who try to play with their guitar down around their knees. But if you want to learn to play with guitar slung low, it may require altering your fingering and regular stretching exercises to limber up the wrist. I personally don't recommend it however!


It's practice and practice. I couldn't realize how people did that, so I put my guitar very low and kept practicing and finally I was able to play a bit better ( but now I prefer to play regularly).

It also has to do with the fingers' length. I have a friend that has very long fingers and when he lowers his guitar, he plays easier than I do, because he can reach the fretboard easier.

  • And fretting the low E string with the thumb. That's how I handle the barre chords and power chords. Commented Dec 25, 2015 at 12:55

Many guitarists hold their guitar below the waist, bending their wrists of their fretting hand at an unnatural angle. This can cause problems, and it makes it harder for you to play, but it makes you look awesome. That's all the benefit. There are some some players who play at knee-height, for example Slash from Guns and Roses, but when he has to solo, he will put his leg on a higher elevated surface. That is because playing it so low sacrafices comfort and reach to look cool. You can do whatever you want. I, for example, put my guitar exactly at waist level when I play, and I can still play normally, but I would suggest not to put it any lower.

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