Short Description: You'll know how to hold a guitar if you go through this article. So you got your first guitar. Bet you're itchin to start strummin! Let's go ahead and take the first step towards mastering the instrument. Yes, you're absolutely right. We will begin with the intricacies of holding the instrument properly. It's an extremely important step since any awkward pose makes it really difficult to play even the simplest of melodies on it and you may soon drop the idea of becoming an accomplished guitarist.
Ideally, you should sit at the front edge of a straight-backed chair and let the guitar lie on your right thigh with the strings and sound hole facing outwards. The neck should point towards your left. But, if you're a left hander, don't worry; Jimi Hendrix was a leftie too! Gently place the guitar on your left thigh and let the neck point towards your right. The neck should point slightly upwards; say 30 or so. But remember, comfort and ease is the watchword.
A slight deviation here and there which might make you more comfortable wouldn't bring the heavens crashing down. Let's go to the next step and see how your arms should be draped around the guitar. The hand positions described here are for a right hander - it'd be just the opposite for a left hander. Just let your right arm lie gently over the guitar in such a way that the fingers hang loosely over the sound hole. You'd use these fingers to pick the strings. See to it that you don't require a lot of wrist movement while doing so.
People have ended up with carpal tunnel syndrome while strumming hard on their guitars; so take care not to overstrain your wrist. Let's now see how you place your left hand or the "fretting" hand, as it's often described. The reverse side of the neck is curved. So your left palm fits snugly over it.
Bend your fingers till you can freely press the strings with your fingertips. But what would the poor thumb do being left alone as it were! Let it arch over the neck while you're constructing chords. But when you're playing scales keep it at the back of the neck. These are general guidelines, the watchword as always is comfort and ease while you hold a guitar.
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