Finding a position that is comfortable to be in for period of 20 or 30 minutes (or longer, depending on your level of motivation) is of the utmost importance. If you are feeling undo tension immediately upon starting to practice, chances are we need to modify something about your sitting or standing position. I believe since we are all built a little differently that there should be just some general guidelines and let the student sort of grow into his comfortable position. Be sure to take breaks every 20 or 30 minutes. Stand up, walk around, stretch out some jumping jacks! But after a few minutes off get right back to another stretch of focused practicing.

 Guitar Posture - Considerations

Acoustic and Electric

1. Sit in a straight back chair with no arms.

2. Thighs should be parallel with the floor so guitar does not want to slip down and off.

3. The guitar's waist should rest on the right leg if you are right handed.

4. Strumming hand sort of hangs over and hugs guitar body and keeps it stable. Do not  hold the neck in postion with the left hand. You should be able to release the neck with left hand and the guitar should stay pretty much where it was.

5. The left hand should be able to approach the neck naturally and comfortablly. Thumb behind the neck, fingers nicely curved over the fretboard. No part of the palm touching the neck (for now). Fingertips up to the back of the fret.

6. The pick should fall over the sound hole whether strumming or picking. Not up by the neck or by the bridge.

7. You can build a "bridge" from strumming arm to top of guitar with a strumming hand finger for now, if it helps you feel a bit more connected while playing single notes only NOT while strumming. It will give the picking hand help with spacial awareness of the strings and distancing issues. It should seem obvious why it would not be a good idea to have the strumming hand connected to the guitar's top while trying to strum.

8. Do not tilt the guitar back to see what fret you are on. Use the fret indicators.

9. Make sure you have the right sized guitar. They do make 3/4 and 1/2 guitars for children and small adults.

10. When standing we use a strap to keep the guitar in place. As a general rule you should adjust your strap so that your guitar is at approximatly the same place as when you sit. I advise against using a strap when sitting. It serves no real purpose and is a general nusiance really.

11. Demonstrate the angle of the strumming are to the guitar. almost but not quite paralell to the strings. This creates an advantages angle for strumming and palm muting and is just a good attitude for the strumming/picking hand to have in general.