The position on guitar and health

  • Francisco Tárrega - Andrés Segovia - Regino Sainz de la Maza - Sabicas - Paco de Lucía

    The body-position on the guitar is crucial. Moreover, we must remember the importance of taking care of our body to avoid injuries.

    For playing the guitar, we must adopt a proper position. Depending on the type of guitar we use and the type of music we play, the position will change. One of the most obvious comparisons is the difference between the classical and flamenco position.

    The classic posture consists in raising the leg support, seeking a greater accessibility to the entire instrument. A stool or the foot is used to elevate the leg, in a way that the instrument is positioned at an angle of 45 degrees approximately. The right arm is positioned over the side of the guitar and the hand forms an angle of almost 90 degrees from the top. Nowadays, many guitarists use ergonomic elements such as ergoplay or “gitano” in order to raise the instrument and avoid keeping their leg raised.

    Regarding the Flamenco posture, the position has had a total evolution. Before Paco de Lucía, the guitar rested on the body by the bottom, and the right leg was placed against the lower side of the instrument. This position has been designed for a left hand with little mobility.

    Paco de Lucía was who joined the Flamenco posture we know today, which consists in placed at the centre of the side of the instrument on the right leg. This position varies when the legs are crossed, and where the right arm is positioned in a lower part of the lateral side, slightly lower in comparison with the classical position.

    Due to the fact that the flamenco guitar has a narrower and a less deep box than the classical one and the great evolution of the Flamenco technique, this is a very comfortable position.

    Even so, when the art of the guitar is studied in any style, it is studied for many hours, maintaining the same or a similar position. When we finish, we usually focus on the upper extremities because they are numb, but we must not forget the lower ones.

    Regarding this situation, the problem gets worse with the classic position, where we stretch more the support leg, so doing stretches after studying is even more important in order to balance both legs and avoid any type of injury.

    As we have discussed, to improve this position and to make it less harmful, there are some ergonomic elements which elevate the guitar and, placing both legs at the same level, the lumbar position improves.

    In jazz, there are some interpreters who use the Spanish guitar and depending on each one, they use different postures, although the instrument and the styles are similar. We'll discuss it.