Wearing a guitar strap is a necessity if you are playing while standing but what about when you are sitting? Are there any advantages or disadvantages to doing so?
Using a strap while sitting is largely a personal preference. But some guitars that are not ergonomic or have neck dive can really benefit from a strap. And being able to adjust the height and angle of your instrument helps with posture and prevents strain to your back and wrist.
This is especially helpful for older players.
I think there are some situations where a strap may be helpful when sitting down so read on and hopefully this will make it easier for you to decide what to do.
Reasons to wear your guitar strap while sitting
Depending on whether you learned to play in a formal style or just on your own is a big factor in where and how you hold your guitar on your body.
For example, a classical guitarist is likely to hold the guitar at a pretty extreme angle with the neck higher than the body.
But heavy metal musicians such as the guys in Metallica often play with their instruments very low on their bodies and with their arms practically straight.
Anyway, if you hold your guitar higher on your body, then a wearing strap when you are sitting is useful to get the correct height.
Another benefit of straps is the insurance they provide. If you are in a room with hard floors or sitting in front of a desk where you may lean forward to adjust something, a strap will help keep you from accidentally dropping your guitar or hitting it on the desk.
However, one situation where you may want to think twice about a strap is if you ever sit in an office chair with armrests that don’t attach to the back of the chair.
From personal experience, I have had straps get caught under the armrests when I tried to stand up. This can be bad for the strap buttons or you may pull the chair over on top of yourself.
Should you adjust your strap to play while sitting?
Besides using the strap to adjust to your usual playing height, the type of guitar you are playing can influence whether you need to make adjustments.
Guitars such as acoustics, Les Pauls, and Fender-style guitars are designed to be ergonomic and rest comfortably on your leg.
So you may find that adjusting your strap will help stabilize your instrument so your fretting hand is free to move around without supporting the weight of the neck or you aren’t being stabbed in the leg by a pointy BC Rich guitar.
Most comfortable straps to play with while sitting
If you use a strap to support the weight of the guitar while sitting and playing for long periods of time you may feel the weight of the guitar digging into your shoulder after a while.
So using a wide 3-inch strap or a padded strap can save you some aches and pains.
But if you rest the guitar on your leg and just use the strap as insurance against dropping the guitar then any strap will do the job.
Correct posture for playing while sitting with a strap
There are some differences in how people sit when they play so to make things easy let’s use a right-handed player as the basis.
A classical guitar player will usually rest the guitar on their left leg but most players rest the guitar on their right leg.
If you play for a long period of time it can be nice to change position sometimes and just adjust your strap accordingly.
And posture is important; a strap can help you to keep the guitar tight up against your body so you can sit up straight instead of hunching over.
You should also try not to bend your neck too much but I know that is difficult especially when you are starting out and trying to see what you are doing with your fretting hand.
Lastly, there is the issue of your wrists’ posture.
The lower your guitar sits on your body the straighter your arms will be at the elbows and your wrists will have to bend to compensate.
Not only can this be bad for your wrists but it can affect your playing too.
Classical guitarists tend to keep their wrists pretty straight and jazz and blues players often use straps to adjust their guitars so they can keep their wrists straight too.
Of course, some of these posture issues may not seem like a big deal for younger players but they can become more important as you get older.
Should you leave your guitar strap always on?
If you do a mix of standing and sitting while playing you may prefer to just leave your strap on all the time.
This brings up its own points of discussion and you can check out our article on it here:
As far as today’s topic, if you do choose to leave your strap on but don’t use it when you are sitting down, just move it out of the way (this is easier with thinner straps) and be very careful when you stand up if you are in a chair with armrests!
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.