Hey everyone. I hope everyone is having a good day so far.
I have a rather unusual questions to ask, regarding the body posture specifically the foot and leg when playing the guitar.
I started learning to play the guitar several months ago. And I’ve noticed that my right foot is always in a “weird” position, I guess. I played the guitar while sitting on a chair like most do but my right foot is always in the “tip toe” position. This is not intentional. In fact, I didn’t even noticed that I’m doing it until I came across the lesson where Justin talked about how tapping your foot can help keep you in tune and on beat. Then I started to get conscious about it and noticed that everytime I begin to practice or play the guitar, my right foot will be in the tip toe position automatically. I don’t know if it’s my body ways of trying to get the guitar closer to me so I can play it more easily or what.
I’ve tried putting it back down but as I focus more on the lesson, I noticed that by the end of each sessions, my foot is subconsciously on the tip toe position yet again.
So I wanted to ask is this normal or a bad habit on playing the guitar in the long run? I mean if it’s a bad habit I can try to start getting rid of it more forcefully while I’m still at the beginner stage rather than further down the road where it gets harder to get rid of the habit.
Another habit of mine is whenever I’m “in the zone” or just really enjoying and focusing on playing the guitar, I (subconsciously) like to pull up my left leg up on the chair and sit on it.
I mean I wouldn’t even realised it. I would only realised it when after about 30 minutes of practice, I noticed that I couldn’t feel my left leg. Only then do I put my left leg back down again and endure the numbing sensation or cramps on my left leg.
So is this normal posture/behavior or should I be a bit more strict on my posture/behavior when playing the guitar?
Any feedbacks is very much appreciated.
Hmmm… maybe you’re sitting too high? You could try to pit something under your foot or try sitting on a lower chair.
I sometimes play crosslegged and in strange positions too. But i guess you shouldn’t do it all the time.
Oh and tapping your foot is something you should get a habbit of.
It’s pretty normal I think. You’re just unconsciously raising the guitar to a comfortable height. I have a little footrest that’s adjustable for height for exactly that purpose, although tbh I never use it! I believe it’s something that classical guitarists are trained to use.
Definitely bad habits if you want to play for any length of time.
Your right foot is telling you that your right leg and therefore your guitar are too low for comfort. Try lowering the chair so that the top of your thigh is parallel to the floor. If that isn’t enough, a foot lift, stack of books or something to raise the right foot can help, but that also torques your back and shifts your sit bones and can cause long term back problems.
Better would be to use a lift on your right thigh (like a classical guitarist, except for the right leg). You can buy a billion things, but try a bean bag, small pillow or rolled up towel first.
Based on my experience, you may well change how you hold the guitar a few more times over the next few years, so I would recommend against spending much for lifts yet, if you can avoid it.
Hmmm… That could possibly be the culprit.
I should try all of those suggestions during the next session. And yeah I’ve been trying to make it a habit to tap my toes to be on beats.
Thanks Thomas for the feedback!
Hmmm I never thought of it like that. That’s probably the case. Yeah I’m planning to play the guitar for a long time to come, so definitely don’t want to cause any back problem in the future.
Alright will do.
Oh ok interesting, I thought that your body would eventually find the best way for it to play the guitar and you stick with that throughout your life.
And yeah, I’m currently saving up to buy a new amp, so that’s probably a good idea to just use what’s already available.
Thank you so much Joshua for all the feedbacks!
This is a really good thought. I have very short legs, like a 26” inseam. I had to search for and find a special stool that would go low enough for my thigh to be parallel to the floor. I need about a 17” chair height.
Do you use a strap? I find that even when sitting, if you have a strap taking the weight of the guitar so that it’s just touching your thigh then you can pretty much do what you like with your legs (taking into account the long term health risks that have already been mentioned above of course).
A decent adjustable height and backrest armless chair with built in footrest will also help with your posture and make you sit up straight and avoid long term back pain issues.
I do not use a strap. I mean I have one, but I thought you only use strap if you were to play standing up, which currently is way beyond my grade.
I’ve never thought of using it while sitting down. I shall give it a try later.
The only chair that I’m thinking about while reading that is the gamer chair or the office chair.
I’ll keep a lookout on affordable adjustable armless chair with a footrest.
Dean, I’m constantly working on my posture as well (I’m about 1.5 yrs into this journey). I’m relatively short at 5’3” and find that my seating arrangement also changes depending on which guitar I’m playing. For me, both the depth of the body (especially acoustic vs electric) and the size of the bout make a difference. Some days I just can’t get comfortable, so I stand!
I see. I’ve never really thought about posture before. Right now in my journey is all about mastering the basic chords, chords changes and strumming. I’m a beginner so I’m more focused on those things.
I only have ever tried to play on one guitar which is the current guitar that I have right now, so I didn’t think about how the posture will change along with the type of guitar. So thanks for bringing that to my attention.
Haha I can relate! But usually I’ll just take a break and get back to it later. Because I’ve tried playing the guitar standing and it was a bit heavy for me to handle.
Congratulations on your 1.5 years Judi! Hopefully I’ll keep trying and reach that milestone someday.
Thanks again for the feedback!
I too just use a strap sitting or standing.
You dont have to think about balancing or holding the guitar.
I have mine ( as sairfingers says ) about a 1in above my thigh so I can tap or whatever without worrying where the guitar is going to end up.
The chair I use when playing has legs short enough so I can put my feet flat on the floor, and no arm rests.
I tried a footrest but found it didnt work ( for me ).
Some good other suggestions here too. I’m sure you’ll find one that works for you.
P.S. have a word with the errant leg and tell it to behave.
As suggested by pretty much everyone else, the problem with your right leg could be caused by the height of the chair causing your upper leg to slope downwards. However, I sometimes do the same thing, and it has nothing to do with the height of the chair I’m using (I tried different seating heights, from too high to too low) - it’s simply tension, concentrating hard on my hands. When I do an exercise or play something I’m comfortable with, my leg stays where it should be.