How to Hold the Guitar When Sitting

The sitting position is best to use when you are first learning to play the guitar.

When playing sitting down:

  • Sit up straight on the front part of the chair as shown in the photo.
  • Raise your right leg by crossing it over your left leg or by placing your right foot on a footstool (as shown in the photo). Then place your guitar on your right leg.
  • The guitar should be close to your body in an upright position with the neck pointing slightly upwards.

The main aim is to be comfortable and have easy access to the guitar fretboard. A music stand will also be helpful.

How to Hold the Guitar When Standing

The standing position is particularly good for playing electric guitar (but can also be used with an acoustic guitar) and is essential if you plan to play in a band. Once you are comfortable with this position, try moving in time with the music as you play.

When playing standing up:

  • Use a wide guitar strap and adjust it to a comfortable length. Let the strap take the weight of the guitar. This will keep your hands free to play rather than having to support the instrument.
  • Make sure your weight is balanced evenly between both feet.
  • The guitar should sit comfortably against your body in an upright position, with the neck pointing slightly upwards.

Right Arm Position

The correct position for the right arm is illustrated in the photos. Notice that the forearm rests on the upper edge of the guitar, just below the elbow. Be careful not to have the elbow hanging over the face of the guitar or your hand too far along the fretboard.


Right Hand Position

When you are playing single notes, support your right hand by placing the second and third fingers on the body of the guitar. If you are playing an acoustic guitar, pick the strings over the sound hole as this makes the best sound.


If you are playing an electric guitar, pick the strings between the pickups, as shown:

If you are strumming a chord, do not support your right hand with your fingers on the body of the guitar but still rest your forearm on the upper edge of the guitar.

Left Hand Position

The correct placement of the left hand is illustrated in photos A and C. Be careful not to allow the thumb to hang too far over the top of the neck (photo B), or to let it run parallel along the back of the neck (photo D).

Photo A: Correct

Photo B: Incorrect

Photo C: Correct

Photo D: Incorrect


When playing notes and chords your fingers should be on their tips and placed just left of the frets (not on top of them) as shown in the picture.

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