The way you play is as important as what you play.
An uncomfortable position could distract you, and losing focus does no good for your improvement.
Therefore, it is key to find a comfortable spot.
With this in mind, it is not rare to find many players practicing sitting down.
While this is helpful, it also has a setback: eventually, it becomes harder to learn how to play standing up.
It seems unimportant, but there are big differences between one and the other.
So, even though you prefer a sitting position, should you still practice on your feet?
Yes. You should totally practice guitar standing up. If you are used to playing sitting down it will be harder at first, but it’s worth the effort. This position provides you with more flexibility while preventing back pains, and prepares you for gigs. Setting up your strap at a comfortable height is key.
Let’s not leave details aside.
There are plenty of other reasons why playing standing up is important.
In this article, we’ll be covering them up.
Why is it harder to play guitar standing up?
Our brains are designed to use the least amount of energy possible.
That applies both to physical and mental energy.
Once we get used to a certain environment or a specific set of habits, the brain tells us to keep them.
We are secure that way because it is predictable.
This logic concerns the posture in which we play, too.
If we got used to playing guitar while sitting down, then the new information (in his case, playing while standing up) will be hard to digest at first.
After all, we are wasting mental energy on learning an alternative. We are challenging the brain.
The same reasoning goes for switching from guitar to bass, or even switching to another guitar but of a different model.
Until the new information is digested and processed, it will feel slightly abnormal and will be hard to implement.
As usual, the more you do it, the faster you enforce your muscle memory.
5 benefits of practicing guitar standing up
Sooner or later, you are expected to play guitar standing up.
Maybe you’ll play live, or maybe you’ll rehearse with your friends and won’t have a chair at hand.
Despite the necessity, there are tangible benefits to playing in such a position. Here are some of them:
1. Prevents back strain
When playing while sitting down, it is natural to hunch the back over the instrument.
However, this spine position is unnatural.
In the short run, it is not a big deal. In the long run, though, it could cause you back pain.
On the other hand, standing up makes it harder for you to arch your back, and being straight is, in fact, a normal position for the spine.
2. The guitar’s more comfortable that way
The instrument is designed to be played while standing up.
The shape of the body is more conductive if you play on your feet.
3. Boosts your playing abilities
Truth is, practicing while sitting down is much easier than its counterpart.
However, a certain level of difficulty should be a must.
Playing standing up is harder and you are prone to getting tired, but this friction pushes you to improve.
It is always better to do the hard task first.
If anything, remember the following: practicing sitting down first makes playing standing up more difficult, but not the other way around.
4. Avoids leg injuries
This one seems slightly exaggerated, but it is not.
Having a certain amount of weight against your leg for hours without end is not healthy.
Some people suffer from nerve damage because of this method, which leads to spasms or contractions.
5. Better feel with the entire body
Think about it.
Sitting down makes you stiff and inflexible.
Your fluidity gets drastically reduced, and you can barely move your feet.
Standing up is different since you are allowed to move freely.
If you are one of those musicians who simply can NOT move, then this position is the one for you.
Is practicing guitar sitting down a bad thing?
With all the benefits of playing guitar on your feet, you might wonder whether is a good idea or not to play sitting down.
Here is the short answer: Sitting down and playing is not a bad practice at all.
Even musicians who prefer rehearsing on their feet play laying on the couch every now and then.
It prevents your legs from being tired, and it is a great form of relaxation if you have been working all day long.
Sit down. Pick up the guitar. Forget about the rest of the world.
The problem with this is habit is that the longer you apply it, the harder it gets to learn the other way.
The keyword here is balance.
If you play sitting down all the time, then you should, every once in a while, practice while standing up.
Make it simple. Play on a chair for 15 minutes and then play 5 on your feet.
Do it until it you familiarize yourself with the process.
Do you intend to play live?
Live performances and stand-up playings go hand in hand.
Sure, there are certain shows in which you can play while sitting down.
Acoustic presentations or unplugged sessions tend to be done in such a way.
It adds a certain magic to the atmosphere.
However, the overall amount of shows tend to be with musicians standing up.
More energy flows when musicians move freely all over the stage, and this is important because the sound is not the only relevant feature of a live performance.
In fact, the word “performance” says it all.
A loud band that plays with their members sitting down makes it seem half-hearted.
Therefore, if you are going to play live, then indeed, practice playing guitar standing up.
It is a must.
Do professionals always practice standing up?
This is a tricky question and there is no serious answer to it.
The reality is that each professional practices the way they feel the most comfortable.
This may contradict the benefits and advice given in this article, but the truth is that musicians know their bodies and capabilities.
A professional accommodates himself/herself according to their abilities.
This means that if they prefer playing at the edge of their beds, is because they have already practiced on their feet for hours.
They have realized they are more efficient when playing the alternative.
On the most part, though, people tend to practice sitting down to learn techniques and songs. When it comes the time to rehearse with the rest of the band, then they will play standing up.
Once again, this is not an unbreakable rule, but rather a generic fact.
4 tips for playing guitar standing up
Now that you are convinced of playing guitar standing up, then it is time you learn how to.
Sounds silly, isn’t it? After all, you already know how to stand up, don’t you?
Well, there are certain tips that you should follow to make it a more comfortable task.
1. Adjust the strap
Make sure your strap is secured and properly adjusted.
Find the most comfortable setting that suits your body position.
You can also adjust it to the same height that you have when playing sitting down.
Lastly, I encourage you to buy strap locks to prevent the strap from falling off.
2. Check the neck’s angle
The angle of the neck varies depending on your playing position.
A good exercise for avoiding any change in the angle is the following.
Practice playing guitar sitting down, but position your guitar on the leg of your fretting hand.
In other words, if your fretting hand is the left one, then place your guitar on your left leg.
It might feel awkward at first, but once you stand up, you’ll realize the neck’s angle position is the same.
If anything, it is worth giving it a try.
3. Play with lighter guitars
The weight of a guitar is no small detail.
Heavy instruments could give you back pains and tire you in the long run.
Making a new habit with the “wrong” tool discourages you.
If you can, practice playing in this position with a lighter guitar.
It will give you more flexibility.
If you are into music, then there is no way to avoid this step.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re learning a new song, you are getting used to playing with your fingers, or you are adapting to a different playing position.
Practice. Practice standing up every day.
Do it until it stops feeling strange.
Keep practicing and you’ll reach the top.
In the end, the position you play will either encourage you or demotivate you.
Playing uncomfortable is no fun at all.
It reduces your will to practice and prevents you from getting better.
What am I trying to say with this?
That if you find it extremely tiring to play standing up, then the best you can do is to practice sitting down.
Yes. I know this is a contrast with everything we’ve discussed in the article, but the truth is that playing should be enjoyable.
Changing towards a more appropriate position has benefits in the long run, but it shouldn’t ruin your motivation to play.
Instead, find a couple of minutes to practice playing standing up. Just the minimum.
Tiny steps lead to huge changes in the future, and you’ll be grateful you have got used to that posture.
Once again, always make sure you find the process amusing.
Hello there, my name is Ramiro and I’ve been playing guitar for almost 20 years. I’m obsessed with everything gear-related and I thought it might be worth sharing it. From guitars, pedals, amps, and synths to studio gear and production tips, I hope you find what I post here useful, and I’ll try my best to keep it entertaining also.