Guitar height/Strap length

It seems that a lower guitar feels more comfortable for rhythm playing and a higher guitar feels better for lead/single note/precision type playing.
I try to find a middle ground between the two. And there’s also the “geek” factor to think about.
You don’t want to be “that guy” with the guitar tucked under your chin.
Where do you guys wear your guitar and what’s your thought process behind the placement?’

1 Like

You know, honestly, I’ve found myself lowering my strap a little since getting into the CtC stuff. I think a lower position allows for a more relaxed picking hand, while a higher position puts a little less stress on the fretting hand. It’s a matter of balancing them, though incremental change can help you get used to a lower or higher position without much trouble, it seems…

2 Likes

I’m actually find myself doing the opposite.
I’m wondering if the particular pickslanting we have is a determining factor.
I would think that a DWPS would favor a lower height.
I, myself am an uwps and seem to prefer a higher height.

Hmm - you know, it could very well be an upward escaped stroke does work better with a higher position - this is hardly scientific, but most of the well known UWPS guys are either acoustic players who play seated, or guys like McLaughlin, who do favor a high position. Never really thought about that…

That’s sort of what got me thinking about itnin the first place. I do 99% of my practice sitting and when I switch to standing my technique is messed up!!

I used to wear my guitar very high in order to have my left wrist not bent but now I’ve found that my left shoulder gets in a bad/tense position so I have lowered it a bit now.

1 Like

I try to have it roughly the same as if I was sitting down, maybe slightly lower so it’s a bit looser and I can adjust the angle if I want to.

For a while I felt that lower was better for rhythm, but that seems to have gone away.

If I have it any lower than where it would be when I’m sitting down I find it just about impossible to finger 10-12-14 or 11-13-15 or 12-14-16 on the bottom two strings with either 1 2 4 or 1 3 4. Even then to make that particular thing really comfortable I basically have to have the neck of my guitar raised to the height of my own neck.

I have incredibly inflexible wrists.

2 Likes

I think the biggest effect is on the fretting hand, where wearing the guitar higher and with the neck angled upper makes it easier to keep the fretting hand in a neutral position.

Regarding the picking hand, I find wearing the guitar high is completely compatible with my main forearm-rotation dwps (forearm rotation with a small amount of wrist movement). Sometimes I’ll do a gypsy-ish thing with with a wrist flexed 70 or 80 degrees off of neutral, and I find the high guitar feels more “natural” to me with that than a lower guitar does. Worth noting there are other “forearm dwps” guys who wear their guitars plenty low, and my main motivation for wearing it high is the fretting hand.

However, as I’ve tried to dabble a little more with a Paul Gilbert-ish or Andy Wood-ish compound wrist mechanic, I think I’m concluding that that becomes more difficult with the guitar above a certain height, because of how the height affects the forearm’s “approach angle” to the strings. My forearm-rotation dwps generally has a significant “ulnar deviation offset”, and I find that I feel more cramped than I’d like when I try to do wrist-oriented picking with the same setup. I know Andy Wood has an ulnar deviation offset in some of the stuff he does, but I find for me, the wrist stuff feels best when my setup looks more like Paul Gilbert’s, where any wrist deviation offset is quite small, but the arm position is allowing the “pinky edge” of the hand to run closer to perpendicular to the strings than it can when I try to keep that neutral wrist with a higher guitar. Again, I think that’s largley to do with the approach angle of the forearm: with a lower guitar, the forearm’s approach angle gets closer to perpendicular to the strings.

2 Likes

The other day when I started thas thread, I had just raised up my guitar. And it felt really comfortable.
Last night I got together with the guys to jam and man, my playing was sloppy. I’m not sure if it was the strap height or just a mental block.
We haven’t played together in about 2 months, so there’s that too. And if I’m being honest I hadn’t exactly spent much time reviewing the material…
I’ll leave the guitar alone for the moment and see if I can get acclimated to it.

1 Like

I keep the guitar neck quite high as I do a lot of reaches and use my pinky often.

With the neck low I either have to limit my vocabulary, or something has to bend: back or wrist usually.

So even if it makes right hand mechanics more awkward, I keep it somewhat classical height, and I encourage my students to do the same.

Sorry for linking myself, but, here you see the height:

When it’s more casual I’m just being lazy mostly, and it winds up hurting more, hah.

1 Like

Do you have your guitar around that same height when you are playing standing up as well?

P.S.
you have some long ass fingers!!
I have stubby sausage fingers lol
They get the job done though!!

Hah, they really aren’t long! skinny, maybe. My hands are fairly normal sized, it’s just that I know how to position everything to get the maximum reach.

I rarely ever play standing up.

1 Like

I always play standing, & have to position the guitar with top of body at lowest rib. I have tendon damage in my index finger, so I have to hold the pick with thumb & 2 fingers.

Or look at it this way: the higher your guitar, the higher your IQ

1 Like

Happy to see this thread here. For years, I played an archtop guitar and didn’t use a strap. (I used a guitar cushion.) But last Christmas I switched to a Tele. I love it. Back to wearing a strap but still not settled on how high to wear the guitar. (I’m 5’11" with short legs and a l-o-n-g torso.) Hope to figure this out this summer. ;o)