Which leg do you rest your ax on?

Hello all,
I played for about 20 years, and after a5 year hiatus I’m beginning guitar again but this time with more of a focus on speed and technique. While going through the pick slanting primer and arm mechanics videos, I noticed that @Troy rests his guitar on his right leg. So I went through a bunch of guitar videos, and it seems like all the greats do as well. I’ve always rested my guitar on my left leg. I tried using my right, but it was very uncomfortable for my right shoulder and fretting felt very awkward. Is this something that could hinder my speed in the long run? Or is it not something to worry about?
Thanks!

2 Likes

With a conventional guitar, I rest the guitar on my right leg, often with my right leg crossed over my left.

My main guitar is a small-bodied heedless guitar, which hangs from a strap when I play it sitting down.

1 Like

During my practice sessions I rest it on my left leg with a foot rest underneath. I started doing this about 2 years ago, when I started doing more intense/focussed practice session. For me this is closer to the position the guitar is hanging in when standing up.
Before that, I had it on my right leg for several years. I can’t remember if this was a conscious decision.

Thomas

1 Like

If you are planning to play standing up at one point (performing or rehearsing/jamming) it is helpful, when seated, to have the guitar in the exact same position as it would be if you were playing standing up.

I do this by always wearing a strap, regardless of standing or sitting. When sitting this means that the guitar is hanging right between my right and left legs in exactly the same angle as standing up.

This takes all the guesswork and inconsistencies out of it and you always have the exact same arm position, hand position, head position, guitar neck position, guitar position and posture.

This might not seem a big deal (it didn’t seem that big of a deal to me for a long time), but it makes all the difference in the world.

When you spend 1-4 hours per day practicing and playing with the guitar on your right leg, slouched over and practically under your chin, the moment you then either stand up, or are forced to sit differently it feels completely different, especially when standing up. If you play this way you get into all kinds of bad habits and put too much stress on the elbow and also your neck and you get used to seeing the fretboard in a different way compared to standing up.

So in short, use a strap standing up and then sit down and try to have the guitar in the same exact same position and height.

How long the strap should be is also a whole debate, but that’s another matter.

Hope that helped, cheers

3 Likes

I exclusively place the guitar on the left leg, like you do.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Its the classical position and at least theoretically a more natural position to play relaxed in. I once read a book called the principles of the effortless classical guitar (or something similar), in which this position was explicitly recommended above others.

Most strat-shaped guitars can feel a little awkward in that position, though. Which is why i play x-shapes. Also because i’m cool.

4 Likes

Thanks for the replies. I plan on practicing standing up more than I did before because I’d like to start or join a band eventually. I never really played standing before. It’s good to know that I already have a head start because of my left leg preference!

2 Likes

Yes, right leg is a classical position. That’s how classical guitarists are taught to play. Btw you can see Batio uses this position a well. As for difference - it should be theoretically, but… some cool guitarists use right leg, some use left leg, but they all are still kicking ass regardless
I used left leg earlier now switched to right one. I guess it’s because of my new habit: playing half-lying )
Anyway, when I play on left leg I usually use some stand under my leg (box or something) or else I keep my foot on my toes.

1 Like

Am I the only one who feel it is uncomfortable sitting at all? I always stand while practicing :confused: probably a hell for my back

I always felt that classic riffs feel better when standing up, while most leadplaying is easier when sitting. I am pretty sure that was/is due to improper technique, though.

1 Like

Oh right on! I didn’t check MABs sitting position but yeah, you’re absolutely correct! That just took away all my apprehension :sweat_smile:
I can’t tell you how bummed I was when I noticed so many great players rested on their right leg. I tried practicing like that for a couple hours but man it killed my right shoulder. I think it has to do with my height and long arms (I’m 6’7). Just feels like I have to crank my picking arm too far for comfort resting on my right leg. I was worried the left leg position would interfere with proper arm/wrist mechanics. Thank you!

1 Like

Nah, it was a bit uncomfortable for me too some time ago. And when I was sitting I felt that guitar neck is too low (compared to my standing position), so I unconsiously lifted my leg on my toes.

That depends very strongly on your preferred mechanics. Usually, you can make adjustments to feel comfortable on either leg.

For me, the main issue is approach angle (the angle if your picking forearm relative to the horizontal).

If you prefer a more horizontal approach angle, then resting the guitar on your right leg (assuming you play right-handed) may work better. If you prefer a more vertical approach angle, then the left leg becomes more appropriate.

I default to left leg, deviation plus extension and fingers. When I switch to my right leg, I unconsciously turn off the extension component and adjust my finger motion to keep my other angles consistent.

I am guided mainly by feel and tone to get the angles right. It feels more like I’m watching the adjustments happen by themselves, rather than directing them consciously.

1 Like

Always on the left with a foot rest, A: as my back can’t take it on the right leg and B: its a lot closer to my standing posture.

1 Like

Rightie, right leg. I’ve always thought of the left leg as the classical position and results in a guitar held very parallel to the body, while the right has the guitar at an angle, slanting forward. This is a bit closer to how I play when I’m standing, so that’s kind of where I ended up.

I remember when I was first learning spending a lot of time wondering what was correct, and I think my problem-solving approach way back then was to just look at the pictures from Unplugged in New York to see what Kurt Cobain was doing. 20-25 years later, I have very different influences, but no regrets. :smile: A solid 95% of my playing time is standing, anyway.

I’m right-handed and place the guitar on left leg with a foot rest. Having the guitar on my right leg makes me uncomfortable in the right shoulder area. I cannot hold the guitar on my right leg for more than a minute of playing without being sore in the shoulder and upper arm. Plus, I find that the angle at which the guitar sits between the legs/resting on the left leg gives better overall access to all the parts of the neck to my left hand. And my right arm is overall more relaxed that way.

The fork of a Flying V goes on one’s right leg, and everything else should go on one’s left leg, with a stool of some sort. The classical guys have the ergonomics perfected, and note that all of the people with the guitar on their right leg are self-taught, hence little concern about ergonomics or long-term damage from when they are old.

John Petrucci also rests his guitar on the left leg. And then switches to the right.

In the mid… the right one.

1 Like

I find the right leg to feel more comfortable. Honestly, I’m not too concerned about a little variation in how the guitar sits against me sitting vs standing up. I think it creates good variety in stimulus and ultimately can lead to more flexible technique. I don’t want my technique to be so “flimsy” and easily thrown off that if things aren’t always 100% identical my chops go out the window.

Classical guitar I rest in the leg that is closer to the neck.
Acoustic guitar (like a Martin): I rest it in the leg closer to the bridge.
Electric guitar: Even sat down, I have recently started using a strap that leaves my guitar at the same position as when I play standing, so it basically hangs all the time (I’m paying attention to any pain or uncomfortable feeling while I am trying this, just in case).

1 Like