“Is it better to practice guitar standing up or sitting down” is a question that I often hear from beginners and intermediate players. The short answer is if you’re a beginner, practice sitting down. If you’re an intermediate to advanced player practice to whatever scenario you need to rehearse towards.
One of my favorite guitar straps
Beginner Guitar Players
For a beginner player, one of the hardest parts of learning guitar is getting the fretting (left hand if you’re right handed) hand to push the strings correctly. This is no easy task, and is a challenge for every single person that picks up a guitar.
It takes months of consistent practice to feel like your fingers aren’t made of Vienna sausages slipping all over the place going wherever the breeze seems to blow them. So why make it harder on yourself?
Playing while standing is generally harder, so don’t worry about this until you have the ability to change between chords easily.
This applies to both electric and acoustic. These body types sit comfortably on the lap, allowing you to focus on that fretting hand that’s not doing what you’re trying to tell it to do.
Now there is an exception to this. While most guitar shapes sit nicely on the lap, so do not. For example, the Gibson Flying V may be one of the most awkward guitars to play sitting down. For this reason I suggest not getting a Flying V body shape when first starting out. If you do have a guitar that is shaped like this, or likes to slide around on your lap then you’ll have to use a guitar strap to keep it sitting in a comfortable position.
Check out my post all about guitar straps to learn about how to install strap buttons, strap locks, how high to hang the guitar, and more.
Transitioning to Standing and Playing Guitar
As you get better at commanding your fretting hand to move around the fretboard, make chord changes, and sling solos without your hand cramping up, you’re likely to want to venture into standing while playing.
This is an important transition, and one that is completely necessary if you plan on performing live. Learning to play guitar while standing will make you a better guitar player. And thus, when you’re ready, it is an important skill to pursue.
It’s important that you have a good strap and that it is adjusted correctly. Check out this post which answers the question: how high should the guitar sit?
If your wrist starts to hurt at all, tighten the strap so that the guitar sits a bit higher. Generally speaking, the higher the guitar sits the easier it will be to reach all of the notes and play correctly.
As mentioned earlier, this is an important skill to learn if you’re planning on performing live. If you’re an intermediate player with a gig coming up, don’t spend your precious practice hours sitting down if you’re going to be standing at the gig. This will just teach you bad habits, and when you’re at your gig you’ll wish you spent more time practicing standing up.
It’s easy to get into the habit of sitting during practice, but standing will make you a better player overall and may even help you stay focused on your practice routine.