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Thread: Long arms

  1. #1
    Registered User
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    Long arms

    How is it that people like Slash and Jimi page seem to able to play with the guitars around their knees and still play really well. Everytime I play with my guitar standing up I feel like a beatle, with the strap so short. Did Jimi Page just have monster long arms or did he just practise playing that low and eventually get used to it? (In which case that is a very posy thing to do)

    Gareth

    P.S: As a side note I also saw something doubly mental the other day which was a picture of Kurt Cobain playing guitar with a ciggarette in his FRETTING hand! WTF!? Oh well.

  2. #2
    i Breathe ... Admin Guni's Avatar
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    Hi Gareth,

    This is actually a very good question and I am sure there are lots of different opinions about it.

    From a playing point of view having your guitar that low has some disadvantages, eg limiting your ability to stretch your fingers. So a lot has to do with the style these guys play. I mean they are not 'long lines hammer on / pull off guys' which would be really hard to do with the guitar down the knees.

    You could say that bending notes becomes a bit easier because of the angle you can put your thumb around the neck to gain more strength.

    When I started I had the guitar down there too - just because it was cool and no question that beeing cool was the main reason for starting out.

    Soon, I realised that playing like that actually hurt while practicing, so I wouldn't recommend playing all the time like that.

    I doubt that Slash and Jimi play like this in the Studio.

    2 reasons for having the guitar so low:
    1) it's cool (for the audiance). That's what they expect from a rock act. This might perfectly fit into our Music Metaphysics 101 thread

    2) To mentally prepare yourself for some 'kick-***' show. I mean when I hold the guitar like that I feel like 'Yeah, let's rock!!!

    Just some thoughts .....

    Guni
    Please don't email or send me private messages with music related questions as they will be ignored. Rather use the forums for this and I will try my best to take part as much as I can.

  3. #3
    Ibreathe Music Advisor EricV's Avatar
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    I agree to what Guni says...

    You gotta remember that guys like Slash etc. most of the time sit down in the studio when recording their parts. That way, the guitar is way higher than it is when they stand up.
    Paul Gilbert i.e. has his guitar hanging a bit lower live, simply for the look and feel of it. In the studio, he sits down because he needs to to pull off some of the difficult stuff.
    I saw him at a workshop, and when he played some really fast arpeggio-lick with wide left hand-stretches, he leaned forward, resting the guitar on his thigh so it was higher than it was when he stood upright.
    Look at John Petrucci... he has got the guitar way up in front of his chest. A lot of people think it looks stupid, but he needs to do it to play the way he does, and I guess he doesnt really care.

    Guni is exactly right about the "feel" of it... it sometimes makes you play different ( i.e. more relaxed ) if you hang your guitar lower.

    One thing to remember though: I am not a specialist on this, but I once read some columns about a doctor, who also is a guitarist. He had some pictures in there, showing how to hold the guitar correctly, and I think he said that if you hang it too low, your left hand wrist is twisted in an unhealthy way, and it is quite unhealthy to hunch over your guitar... so he recommends to put it kind of in the middle, not too high ( not as high as John P. ), not too low ( not as low as Slash or the dude from the Ramones ).
    Donīt quote me on it, though, cuz I am no specialist on that issue, and I donīt wanna give away wrong advice.

    One thing about playing when sitting down ( i.e. when you are practising )... I learned ( actually a drummer told me ) that it is best to sit on the very edge of your chair / stool. That way, you kinda automatically sit more upright, you donīt hunch like you usually do.
    If you sit down for hours to practise, and you hunch over your guitar, you migth get problems with your back soon. So, sit on the edge of the chair, it will help to straighten out your back.
    Eric

  4. #4

    Talking

    I agree with both of you. It does have its advantages and disadvantages. It does look cool...but if you want to play well...wear it close.

  5. #5
    Resident Curmudgeon szulc's Avatar
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    Rules?

    All that matters is how it SOUNDS but be aware of doing things that can hurt you. Bad posture habits come back to haunt you as you age.
    "Listen to the Spaces Between the sounds."
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  6. #6
    i Breathe ... Admin Guni's Avatar
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    When I'm at home I mostly play a Strat. Live I prefer a Tele. Both guitars have their own strap and guess what: the one of the Tele is about 5 inches longer.

    When I play the Tele at home it feels quite weired to have the guitar lower but playing live I don't even think about it. Again, it's about this live playing feeling .....

    Guni
    Please don't email or send me private messages with music related questions as they will be ignored. Rather use the forums for this and I will try my best to take part as much as I can.

  7. #7
    Ibreathe Music Advisor EricV's Avatar
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    When I practise I sit very upright, not hunched over the guitar. So when I play live, the guitar is right where I have it when I sit down.
    Itīs better for the back, too
    Eric

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