Many guitarists, beginners and advanced, face some difficulties when trying to switch position while playing the guitar from sitting down, to standing up. In this simple, yet comprehensive short post, I will try to explain to you the reasons behind this situation, and give you few tips on how to play the guitar standing up. Read on
Three Main Reasons:
- The strap: first and most important reason, is regarding the strap. When you play while seated, you either don't have a strap on the guitar, or you set it too long and loose that you don't feel its presence. Some guitarists set the guitar's strap too low when standing up that it reaches the knee, that is fine if they are comfortable with it, some others prefer it set high down their chest. This is totally a personal preference. Your goal is to set the strap exactly in a way comfortable to you. So, grab the guitar, stand up, and start playing, and set the strap and the height of the guitar to the point you feel comfortable enough to play.
- You haven't played or practiced while standing up before, so you are only used to playing while seated. Aside from the strap issue, switching from the main position you've only played guitar in (seated), can be strange at first. This is what you are used to. I want you from now on, to perform every exercise or song both while seated and when standing up, so you don't feel much difference the next time you change position and doesn't affect your playing.
- Body position: no matter how you are playing the guitar, it should never feel “unnatural” in that position. Don't hurt your wrests, or your back, find the right position when playing whether you are sitting down or standing up. The best way to do that is by trial and error.
- While the height of the guitar is, as I have stated in point 1, a personal preference, you would ideally want to set the guitar NOT too far down to your knees like some rock and metal performers do. It looks cool on stage but very few people can play like that and it requires months or years of training. If this image is important to you, and want to be an axe wielder and hang the guitar low like Zakk Wylde, Slash, Jimi Page and the likes, then you're welcome to practice it as much as you want.
But in my opinion, it'll be very hard at the beginning and you might risk hurting your wrist, and I still insist on finding that comfortable stance for your standing up position playing that will make you play better than look better.
Setting the strap tighter so the guitar hangs higher will allow for a more comfortable playing in general, and will allow for a better execution of the technical more difficult licks and techniques on the guitar, because both your hands have more freedom to move along the body of the guitar, and resembles the sitting position more accurately, so it feels easier to play and more natural.
But in the end, it is up to you to choose in what position you want to play. There are definitely some players who hang it low and still play great and put out a very good show, while almost all the more technical guitar players such as Yngwie Malmsteen and Jason Becker, prefer to hang it high and they play mind blowing solos and very difficult techniques.
Playing the guitar while standing up, is an optional thing, but if you are thinking of performing in front of audience in a band or a gig, you are most likely to be required to stand up, move, be active, and basically be cool. It is almost mandatory for performing in front of people. If you are a beginner, this might not be a big deal for you, and you can ignore this in the mean time, but also, it's wise to keep this in mind and even try to perform some of your exercises while standing up and get used to both seated and standing up positions.
I hope you found this post informative and to the point, and if you have any more questions or concerns please feel free to leave a comment below and I'll get back to you as soon as I can. Enjoy and good luck!