The first constraint encountered by the classical guitarist in his body positioning is that he must be seated.
Initially, the guitarist should try every means to respect the two axes (i.e. the vertical and the horizontal axes). Let’s say the guitarist needs to sit as if a wire were passing through the center of his head to go down to the tip of the coccyx.
It is very important that the head rest in the axis, both vertically and horizontally. It reaches a weight of around five kilos, nearly 8% of the total body’s mass, so it is important to keep in line in order to avoid unnecessary tension.
Despite maintaining the vertical axis, the lower back and neck must be held in slight lordosis. This prevents the discs and the fluid around them from pressing on the numerous nerves that surround the spine. As simply pressing on these nerves can cause a slowdown communication to the muscles, it is doubly important to keep this slight lordosis. Moreover, this position is also effective in the prevention of disc herniations.
If we begin at the floor, the feet must be well supported on the ground, because it is in this ground support that we draw strength and stability. Needless to say, the use of ergonomic support for the guitar is essential. By using conventional support, it is impossible to have both feet firmly planted, and we must thus compensate for the misalignment caused by the elevation of one foot relative to the other. There are several types of ergonomic support for guitar. Those that are fully adjustable and ensure complete stability of the instrument are preferred.
Then the body weight should rest on the pins. Both have to absorb an equal weight. The pelvis must remain mobile and must move even during the practice of the instrument. This prevents the emergence of lower back tensions. The chair should be high enough so that the legs are higher than 90 degrees. In this way, part of the body weight rests on the legs. This position is one that promotes action. In addition, it results in a light natural curve in the lumbar spine, which ensures the desired slight lordosis. The abdominal muscles must be tonic to maintain the vertical axis. The rest of the shoulder girdle should be toned, but I’ll give more details in subsequent posts.
© Jean-François Desrosby (D.Mus.) 2018