Standing or Sitting

How do you play your guitar ?

If you asked most amateur guitarists whether they tend to sit or stand when they play, I reckon about 95% of them would say they sit.

Sitting is all very well if you just play the guitar as a leisurely hobby a few times a week and have no real aspirations to take your music to a higher level, but if your goal is to join or start a decent band then you really need to start getting used to playing from a standing position.

If you do want to take your music to a semi or professional level at some point and would rather take the more relaxed approach and gig sitting down then that’s fine, there are thousands of brilliant artists out there who do just that, I’m not knocking sitting down in the slightest but for those of you who are thinking about putting in a more dynamic performance, you need to start changing your playing habits sooner rather than later.

Playing standing up places a lot more strain and tension on your hands, wrists and muscles than playing from a sitting position and it will take a long time for you to develop the extra strength and suppleness you will need to play effectively to a performance level while standing.

Guitarist Nicholas Mollard

Relaxed Wrist Position – Sitting

Guitarist Alex Skolnick

Standing Causes More Strain Due To Wrist Angle

Having your wrist bent at greater angles to get round the fingerboard means every chord, lick, run and bend you attempt will be much harder to achieve than it would be in a sitting position.

I remember when I took the decision to start to play standing. Everything I’d ever learned and all my playing skills went down the pan, it was almost like starting from scratch again.

It’s not just the fact that your fingers and muscles ache a lot more and you can’t play as well, it’s also considerably more tiring and somewhat boring standing up all the time. I remember thinking this makes playing the guitar seem more like work than a hobby.

It was a bit of a hassle and for a while I’d play standing up for a few minutes each session and then go back to sitting down. I knew I would eventually have to get used to it if I wanted to play live, so I persevered.

Needless to say, I have been playing standing up for a good few years now. After a while, as does everything guitar related, practicing standing became completely normal and now feels totally natural. To tell you the truth, I play much better standing up than I do when I am sitting down.


Standing also shows somewhat of a commitment to your self in the fact that the reason you are standing is because you are preparing yourself to gig on stage and not sit around and jam in your bedroom for the rest of your life.

When I’m learning stuff or trying to get to grips with something new, I still sit around and slouch about as usual, but as soon as my practice time kicks in I get up and play standing.

If you’re feeling tired or couldn’t be bothered to stand up properly for two hours, it really helps to slouch on the nearest wall while you play. Make sure you don’t get to used to doing this as it tends to angle your guitar in a way that makes it much easier to play than if you were standing in front of a mic in a live situation.

Really, if you are intent on becoming a singer and guitarist, the best way is to practice in front of the mic. It’s just another way of preparing yourself for what you are eventually working towards, which is to go out and gig.

You don’t have to stand all the time, just try for 10 -15 minutes a day until you get used to it, then go for the half hour and build and up from there.

Give it a go and after a few weeks of getting into the habit, you’ll find playing standing just becomes the normal thing to do, you won’t even think about it.

So get off your lazy arse and start playing standing up.

You’ll thank me in a few months.

Posted 07.04.09

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6 comments to The Advantages Of Playing Guitar In A Standing Position

  • ShreD

    This article was really helpful to me & it relieved all my tension. I recently bought a shoulder strap as I decided to switch from sitting to standing position & its quite similar to your experience. I’m having too much difficulty playing it in standing position. I cannot play with speed or can’t use any technique with ease. As you have mentioned, I will have to start from the scratch again to get hold of the standing position. I was too worried before but thanks to your article I feel calm now.

  • Thanks ShreD, I’m glad this has helped. Once you realise it’s a nightmare for everyone when they start playing standing up, it’s not so bad. Give it a couple of weeks and things will start to look up.

    Don’t drop it to low to start though, otherwise you’ll have to much to deal with and won’t progress.


  • ShreD

    Yes. . . I tried various positions and finally settled for the comfortable position. Its not too low or too up. With everyday practice, my guitar-playing is slowly improving. Thanks to your blog . . . .Cheers!

  • m.purushothaman

    you’re so generous and a good teacher,from today i’ll play in standing position……….thanx a lot……….

  • Satan

    When I first learned guitar, I only played sitting down. Trying to play standing up was, as noted here, a nightmare. I could not do it whatsoever.

    One thing that helps is to shorten the guitar strap to a ridiculous degree, to more closely place it in the location you are familiar with while seated. Then, gradually lengthen the strap until it is in a normal/natural position.

    And if you are first learning guitar, make sure you get used to playing while standing right from the start.

  • Chris Lynch

    Thanks, very useful info etc.

    Much appreciated.

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