Usually I am able play my electric guitar all right at amateur level while in sitting position. The advantage of this position I find is that you can slightly tilt the guitar towards you so that the fretboard and strings are clearly visible and easier to play.

However it suddenly gets too alien once I am in standing position with a shoulder strap. I feel more strain on my fingers now and can’t clearly see the strings. Guitar is held at an angle somewhere midway between chest and waist. I miss my fingering quite a few times in this standing posture.

Is this a simple matter of practice and more practice?

Just to add info about action on my guitar, I have an old Samick electric guitar and I have tried to lower the action as much as I can but it can’t be lowered anymore. On 12th fret it is 4mm on 6th E string which I think is bit high.


5 Answers 5


if you want to play in the same position that you practise in, then have the guitar at the same height for both. It does make a lot of sense, because the angles are all the same. Make sure that the strap is at a position so that both whem standing or sitting, the guitar is in the same vertical place. If you do this, then when you're seated, it won't be on either thigh, but left/right in the correct place. So, when you sit and play, all will be the same as when you stand and play. You'll find this can be the optimum position for you. Otherwise, you'll adopt one practice (seated) and another standing to play position, which is counter-productive.


Pull your strap up higher so your arms are not extended so much. This looks geeky and may feel awkward at first, but it works. As you get more comfortable playing in a standing position, you can loosen the strap a little bit to add some cool factor. But there is no need to play the guitar down around your thighs. I laugh every time I see that because you know that the person playing the guitar is then only playing 5th (power) chords and/or E and A shaped bar chords, which is fine but each to his own.

I keep my guitar positioned around or just above the belt line. Watch belt buckles and jean rivets since those scratch the guitar on the back.

When you practice, sit and play a while, but also stand. I use a drummers throne for practicing. It is comfortable for sitting but not too comfortable, so I stand during a session of more than about 15 or 20 minutes, then sit again... etc.


With practice, you won't need to look at the strings and frets. So, practice not-looking until you get better at playing without looking.

You might as well just do this in standing position, since you want to practice and get better at that, too.

  • I used a mirror, so I didnt look at the fretboard and worked by feel and muscle memory. The image is reversed so you dont rely on what you can see, but it works as a crutch, Takes less time than you'd think Commented Feb 8, 2018 at 16:01

I can absolutely relate to your situation. When I first learned to play guitar I played seated all the time. When I built up enough confidence to try my first open mic, I was fortunate enough to be able to grab a stool from the bar.

But when I started playing in a band while also being the sound man, it was essential that I learn to play standing so I could move around stage and interact with the other musicians as well as get to the board to make adjustments when needed.

At first I experienced the exact same issues you are dealing with. But fret not - I was able to make some adjustments and with practice, eventually overcame the challenges - and you can too.

One thing that I would suggest is to position your guitar while standing in as comfortable a position as possible. Don't worry about looking cool, worry about your ability to play the darn guitar without missing notes.

You will most likely find that shortening the strap, holding the guitar higher, will make it easier to play while standing. If you keep your guitar higher on your torso, you will be able to apply a little pressure on the body with the forearm or elbow on your picking hand whenever you feel the need to tilt the neck towards you the way you can when seated. If the guitar is hanging too low, your elbow won't even be close to the guitar body.

Another thing to try is changing the strap attachment points which will alter the geometry of the guitar in relation to your body. One end of the strap will always attach to the strap button near the bout of the guitar body. It may be best to leave that one where it is. But the other end of the strap can attach near the heel of the neck where the neck joins the body, or on a horn on the guitar body, or even at the headstock using a leather tie string. Experiment with different attachment points.

Another thing you will want to do is get a comfortable strap. I like a wide soft leather or suede strap because it is more comfortable, and is less likely to slip around on my shoulder. Try a strap with a wide shoulder pad area and try shifting it away from your neck more towards the edge of your shoulder. I found that more comfortable for me.

Another thing that will help tremendously - is shifting the position of the guitar as it hangs from the strap so that the body is closer to your right hip (assuming you are right handed). This will more closely approximate the position of the guitar body when you are seated (and resting the guitar on your right leg). You will notice that when you rotate the guitar body towards your right hip, your wrist and arm on fretting side will be more in line and it will be easier to form the chords and feel more like playing seated.

Finally - practice practice practice! After you get a good comfortably strap that helps you position the guitar where you want it on your shoulder, and determine the best attachment position for the strap, and the most comfortable playing position for the guitar while standing, practice as much as you can playing that way. Even when you play seated, use the strap - so the guitar is suspended from the strap versus resting on your leg.

What I found is that over time, I got to a point where I could play just as comfortably standing with a strap as I could sitting on my couch with the guitar on my knee. I am confident that you will too.

Good luck!


I own several guitars, all with different strap button locations, but I use only one strap. I play my guitars low probably because I started out a bass player in junior high school (I'm 53 now).

Low works best for me because that's where my picking hand lives. If I wear anything medium or high my picking hand will cramp up. I pick by rotating my wrist, not flicking I suppose.

My trick to finding the perfect position no matter what guitar i have is: I use an adjustable strap, intentionally cinch it too high, then form an A#m barre chord at the nut, then lower the guitar until that chord feels almost out of reach. That's it. It works for me every time. At that position I can play every chord, and have access to 85% of my fretboard. (I don't think anyone has 100% standing?). Before I learned this trick, I had different straps for every guitar, or if I borrowed a guitar at a studio it would take me forever to dial in the strap height.

If I were to look in the mirror, every guitar i play will be at a slightly different height, and comfortable because of this little trick i learned. My Les Paul probably hangs the lowest because the nut is closest to me, so i can form that A#m barre chord easier than, say my SG. I have Firebirds, a Flying V, and an ES-335 and I'm sure they all hang at different heights.

Another thing I do is, I never play sitting down, unless it's acoustic and I have to compensate for the actual width of the guitar so sitting feels right. If it's electric I've got to stand practicing/recording/gigging or it doesn't work for me.

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