Guitar top heavy, Guitar weight or strap issue?

Hi everyone!

I have a Taylor Big Baby (BBT), and I mostly play sitting.

I find that the neck is a bit too heavy compared to the body, so when I don’t hold the neck, it will immediately “fall” down / move downwards. For example, when I take my hand off the neck, i.e. to take a note, and I only “hold” the guitar with my upper right arm, the neck will move downwards. I mostly play with a strap, but my strap is very sleek, so it simply slides over my shoulder when the guitar neck does this.

I do not notice it so much while I play, but I do find that the neck tends to lay on my palm (instead of having a small gap between palm/hand and neck), and so I sometimes have issues that the thin e string doesn’t ring out because it touches my skin. That might be because of the same weight/balance issue?

  1. Is that just normal for a guitar and I should stop complaining and get used to it?
  2. If it is not normal, what to do about it? I already thought of adding an additional weight to the strap button to balance it out? Is that a thing?
  3. Or would this be more of a strap issue, and I should get a different strap? On the other hand, I was thinking of removing the strap alltogether, because I play in a sitting position most of the time…

What do you think?

Thanks & Greetings,


Hi @nabri79, my acoustic guitar behaves the same way. (I don’t know, but I bet many acoustics do this). I keep my guitar level and balanced with my right arm, which I drape over the lower part of the guitar. (I’m right-handed.) The guitar sits on my right leg with my right arm resting on the body (sort of hooked over the body of the guitar). The right arm sort of holds the guitar body against my own body, to keep it in place. With this position I can completely remove my left hand from the neck and the guitar stays in position.

You most definitely do not want to have to support the guitar neck with your left hand, as you have already discovered.

Justin talks about this stuff in an early video, although he demonstrates with his electric guitar, not an acoustic:

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thanks for this. I already revised that video because also my first thought was that I am doing something wrong. But I’m not, I think.
I should have mentioned that though, so thanks for pointing it out. :slight_smile:

But still I find the neck of the guitar pulling downwards, that’s why I raised that question.


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Nadine, some guitars are ‘neck heavy’ and wearing a strap tightened to a short (ish) length is the way to go even when sitting.
On an acoustic you have the option of securing the strap at the body or at the headstock.
image - image
The second method can really help with neck heavy issues.
Also, having a suede or suede backed strap helps as they tend not to slip and slide around on your shoulder.
I hope that helps.
Cheers, Richard


I’m going to go with option #1, but I would be a little less hard on yourself and not really call it complaining --it’s more like something you’ve noticed, and once noticed kind of sets in as an issue.

That’s a heck-uva guitar. Nice choice really. Maybe it has some quirks, maybe it’s not the perfect guitar for you. Some players go through guitars like I switch bourbon brands. It’s the way things go sometimes. The thing to do is stay in control of the instrument, tame it, be the boss. Why take your hand off the neck? Put the guitar down when you are done holding it. If you are sitting it is partially balancing on your knee. Yeah, roll with it and be the boss. :slight_smile:

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Do you not rest your right arm on the body of the guitar?

Look at fellow Justin community member @Buncey in her posted video:

She could take her left hand completely off the neck and the head would not go down because her right arm is keeping the guitar stable.

What is the position of your right arm when you play?


I would say that it looks pretty much like in the video. I sometimes find that my right arm is a bit more towards the neck, so that the right hand gets a bit in front of the sound hole, but I am trying to get rid of that bad habit, so that I don’t block the sound from coming out of the guitar. But in both positions, the good one and the wrong one, I have that “pulling downwards” feeling from the neck.

Thanks Richard, I will surely try that shorter strap attached to the headstock. :slight_smile:

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Another option is to look at supports, like the “Neck Up”, or Gitano. A small support like these could help keep the guitar position where you want it without being too much. I use a Sageworks, but I hold ina more traditional classical style and I think the Sageworks (which is awesome) might be bigger than you want or need.

It seems to me that if your upper right arm is resting on the lower bout of the guitar body, then it’s impossible for the neck to drop, because the would imply the body moving upward and your arm would be impeding it. Science, yo!

It’ hard to diagnose these things in a forum, but one last thing: can you place your guitar on your lap, with your right arm in place and your left hand not touching the guitar? Can you keep the guitar horizontal using just your right arm?

If you can, then you’re in business. If not, you should try to make the adjustments to allow you to do that.

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I have a Taylor Academy 10 and that would be neck-heavy except the body sits under my right armpit and so doesn’t move even when I’ve got no hands touching the guitar. I think the Academy might be a 7/8 size guitar and I’m 6 foot tall which maybe helps but can you tweak your position at all to achieve this?

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can you place your guitar on your lap, with your right arm in place and your left hand not touching the guitar? Can you keep the guitar horizontal using just your right arm?

Yes, I can do this easily. I think it is probably more “over time” that I get that sinking neck feeling while I play. Maybe due to movements which I make? That would lead to the conclusion that my arm touches the guitar too lightly while playing, so that it can make slight movements over time. But adding more tension / harder grip to my arm doesn’t feel right?

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Thanks for these links. I have never heard of these things (which doesn’t mean a lot, of course :rofl: ).
Could be interesting, but I think I’ll try without extra devices first. :smile:

I think the Big Baby is just a bit bigger than the Academy. I think mine is like 15/16 of normal size, and I am only 5ft 6’’ tall (170 cm). But I can rest my armpit on the body of the guitar, no problem.

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OK, thanks for all your comments.

So, in total, it looks like it’s normal for guitars to be top heavy, which should be accounted for by having the body under the armpit so that the guitar can’t move.
Why it does this for me over time, I still have to find out.

But it doesn’t seem to be a very common problem, although there are existing devices around which are meant to keep the guitar in a better / different position.

So, I do not want to make the problem bigger than it is. It’s not like it makes the guitar unplayable, but it was a thing which bothered me sometimes, so I thought I’d just ask.
I will pay a bit more attention to when / why that happens and try to figure it out and then get rid of it. :slight_smile:

Thank you all!


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Actually it not normal for guitars to be top heavy. I have 5 acoustics and my wife has 2 and none of the are neck heavy. Some guitars are top heavy but most aren’t.

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Lots of people also put a no slip pad (like the kind you put under a rug or in a drawer) between the guitar and the leg. Maybe something like that would help.

Yes, I guess that would be a good idea, too. :+1: I’ll give that a go!

Guten Morgen Nadine, I’m Andrea, another member from Germany. I’ve got similar Problems with my acoustic guitar. If I put it on my tigh, I hardly find a well balanced position, when I wouldn’t fix it with my fretting arm, the neck fell down immediately. I fumbled around for a long time, because I tend to support the stability of the neck by my fretting hand as the neck moves e.g. while changing chords. I couldn’t control the guitar for a long time. Then I moved my right arm further backwards, as shown in the video further up. The crook of my arm rests on the very “edge” of the guitar. Before, it used lay on the highest point of the guitar body (I play a dreadnought guitar). Moving the arm slightly backwards provides a more stable positioning in my case.


Hi Andrea!
Thanks for your suggestion. I think I am working on the same thing already, but for a different reason.
I don’t like it when my strumming hand gets in front of the sound hole, but when my armpit is on the highest point of the body, it does. So I am also trying to lay my arm a bit further to the end of the guitar.
But I did not notice a difference in the diving neck issue yet when my arm is further back. But maybe that is because it slowly goes more to the front again while I play…