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Guitar playing standing vs. sitting

I said in a YouTube comment reply recently that I always have to put my strap through the belt because it's the only way I can position a neck correctly....

...and this is why I don't have any problems with neck heavy guitars. More on that in a moment.

The standard advice given is that you should have your guitar in the same position standing as when you do seated.

I started playing guitar at 15 years old. Over the years, I have tried many different guitar shapes. Strat, Les Paul, SG, Jazzmaster, Jaguar, and so on. And I have never, repeat, never been able to get my guitar in the same position when standing as when I do playing seated. It's simply not possible.

No matter what I did, the neck was never positioned right. It does not matter what guitar shape or strap is used. I simply cannot get that neck in the same place standing as when seated.

This is not to say I cannot play standing. I can, but the guitar has to be lightweight and the neck must be shifted upward so I'm not straining my fret hand.

Where lightening the weight is concerned, the solution there is either a thin solidbody or a semi-hollow. At the time I write this, I own both types. The Ibanez GAX30 is a lightweight solidbody, and the Squier Thinline Telecaster a lightweight semi-hollow.

However, there is still the neck positioning issue. For that, my solution costs nothing. Put strap through the belt so the rear of the guitar stays down, thereby shifting the neck upward so it stays there. Problem solved.

Because I wear a strap the way I do, any guitar that is typically neck heavy is a nonissue for me. I can play guitars known to have neck dive standing such as the SG.

I did come to a realization however.

It is pointless trying to replicate the exact same seated guitar position when standing

Even for the Stratocaster - a guitar without any real neck dive issues to speak of - I still can't get the same neck position standing as I do when playing seated.

I realized that the two playing positions will always be different no matter what. I also realized that what I needed to do is to establish a standing position with the goal of comfort rather than "must be exactly the same position as seated".

Whenever I tried to replicate the seated position standing, the same thing always happened. I'd have to position my guitar ridiculously high on the body. Yes, the seated position was mostly (but never totally) there, but there would be strain on the shoulder no matter how light the guitar was.

When I found out that shifting the neck upward is what made my fret hand happy, that's what I went with...

...but now I had the issue of my picking hand not feeling quite right. I wasn't in any pain. My picking hand simply wasn't used to the position.

My solution? Just get used to it. Since there was no pain, I went through an adjustment period where when I play standing, my picking hand is in a different spot than I'm used to when seated, so just keep practicing and keep playing until the picking hand feels comfortable in its different position.

I did get used to it.

The only weirdness I have now is that there are some things I can only play seated and others I can only play standing. It's almost like I'm two different guitar players.

The GAX30 is definitely the most comfortable guitar I've ever played standing

So far I'm liking the GAX30 a lot, especially considering it is not a bother to play it standing while with a Telecaster it is, at least for my body type and arm length.

And who knows? This may lead me to actually getting an SG guitar at some point in the future. Or maybe another Ibanez...?


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