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  1. #1
    I guess this is jazz, not classical...but...

    How come the majority of jazz players don’t sit with the guitar in the classical position, instead opting to have the guitar on the right leg - hanging off the right side?

    There’s some strange outliers like Stowell...Pass had his own thing going on. Then Wes Mo had his guitar angled like a soundboard projecting from his lap, but the majority of what I’ve seen is right leg.

    Does right leg position have a function over anything else regarding technique, sound, Archtop logistics, tradition...being able to show off more of my classy outfit?

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  3. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by child as audience View Post
    I guess this is jazz, not classical...but...

    How come the majority of jazz players don’t sit with the guitar in the classical position, instead opting to have the guitar on the right leg - hanging off the right side?

    There’s some strange outliers like Stowell...Pass had his own thing going on. Then Wes Mo had his guitar angled like a soundboard projecting from his lap, but the majority of what I’ve seen is right leg.

    Does right leg position have a function over anything else regarding technique, sound, Archtop logistics, tradition...being able to show off more of my classy outfit?


    I played classical seriously for a long time (I have a degree in it). Classical position certainly has benefits, but it can be hard on your back.

    I generally play with the guitar on a leg, but when stretches etc require classical position, up it goes.

  4. #3

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    Without a footstool or crossing your legs, or a strap, or some device, how do you take a guitar and rest it on your left leg? Any ideas?

    Ever notice where the output jack on an es175 is?
    Last edited by cosmic gumbo; 03-20-2019 at 12:50 AM.

  5. #4

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    Uh, play strapped and this question goes away. Just sayin'.

  6. #5

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    Because everything is so different... if you want to know how come.. I think it is not enough just to look at classical players and jazz players and ask 'how come'
    One will have to search and find what is behind classical guiatr, what is its history, its construction, strigs, tension, how it was developed historically.. what and how people played on plucked guitar-style instrument in teh past... what kind of music was pleyed and technique and and constructions reflected this musical styles, what was the schools (or schools)


    The same thing about jazz... what is archtop essentially, what was it invented for, how it can be realted to flattops of the era, how it is constructed, how it was taught (amateur or professional), how it is being taught etc.etc.

    It is not that simple...

    of course if you really want to know...

    But if yu just asking... well... give a little guitar to a 5 year old kid and see how he will sit with it - without any classical teacher around.. only with his dad or granddad playing bluegrass or blues who was given guitar the same way some thousands years ago.

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by child as audience View Post

    Does right leg position have a function over anything else regarding technique, sound, Archtop logistics, tradition...being able to show off more of my classy outfit?
    Yes, I like the tone on my right leg more. More mids, warmer.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo View Post
    Without a footstool or crossing your legs, or a strap, or some device, how do you take a guitar and rest it on your left leg? Any ideas?

    Ever notice where the output jack on an es175 is?
    There are all manner of guitar supports that attach to a guitar (classical, accoustic or archtop) that will permit you to get the neck up, keep both feet flat on the floor and sit in a very comfortable position. Here is an example of the brand I use:



    There are others. Things get a little more difficult when the guitar thickness drops below 3 inches. There are still solutions like this but it takes some searching to find one you like. This arrangement has made it possible for me to keep playing and also to now play 17 inch archtops when any other position caused back and shoulder pain. Bottom line: Experiment. Find something you like

    Eric
    2002 Gibson L5 CES

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive View Post
    Yes, I like the tone on my right leg more. More mids, warmer.
    Do you mean fatter?

  10. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo View Post
    Without a footstool or crossing your legs, or a strap, or some device, how do you take a guitar and rest it on your left leg? Any ideas?

    Ever notice where the output jack on an es175 is?
    Yeah, 175 is my main fiddle so I did run into that.
    I wired up a right angle end cable and am fine.

    Luckily, the Neutrik ends I ordered also work in the tele cup style jack as well which was my other pain in the backside with a straight cable.

    My “footstool” is always with me...my other foot.

    I take my my right foot and lay it on it’s side, then use the curved instep for the ball of my left foot which fits perfectly in the curve to lock it in.

    Pro tip: magic erasers clean shoes very well. Ha.

  11. #10

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    I take my my right foot and lay it on it’s side, then use the curved instep for the ball of my left foot which fits perfectly in the curve to lock it in.


    You know this is the photo how lutist Hopkinson Smith used to sit at the beginning of his career (leg on leg, no strap)

    and this video is how he sits now.... (strap fixed in a special way so you can sit on the tail oof it, and a stool under right hand)

    Guess why he changed the posture with age...

    Attached Images Attached Images Classical position?-smith-hopkinson-13-jpg 

  12. #11

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    Yep, that's me.

    I have totally lost the ability to play any guitar without a strap.

    I know, it's.... sad.

  13. #12

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    MUCH better to play strapped with good posture, than hunching over all damn day.

  14. #13

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    I come from a classical guitar background and play my Gibson L4 archtop on my left knee with a Murata GR2B guitar support. This position is comfortable, provides good visibility of the fret board and allows the left hand to smoothly travel up and down the neck without having to change the arch of wrist or any other hand contortion.
    Murata GR-2B, Guitar Rest Support, adjustable feet, Black

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by child as audience View Post
    I guess this is jazz, not classical...but...

    How come the majority of jazz players don’t sit with the guitar in the classical position, instead opting to have the guitar on the right leg - hanging off the right side?

    There’s some strange outliers like Stowell...Pass had his own thing going on. Then Wes Mo had his guitar angled like a soundboard projecting from his lap, but the majority of what I’ve seen is right leg.

    Does right leg position have a function over anything else regarding technique, sound, Archtop logistics, tradition...being able to show off more of my classy outfit?
    The majority of jazz players are not playing classical pieces on a classical guitar.
    Ignorance is agony.



  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by whiskey02 View Post
    The majority of jazz players are not playing classical pieces on a classical guitar.
    Irrelevant. The position of the instrument is paramount in reaching all of the notes and chords without harming one's physiognomy. "Jazz" guitars may well be too large to utilize the "classical" position, but putting a strap on and centering the guitar like the classical players do will enable the player to have a more efficient technique, while keeping one's spine and joints healthier. Joe Pass and Gene Bertoncini are good examples.

  17. #16

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    As far as jazz guitarists position goes, Joe and Gene are rare examples, not common, and certainly not more “correct” than the vast majority of jazzers that play off of their right leg. So too Flamenco players have a couple of frequently used positions that work for the repertoire and instrument they play. “Correct” technique is variable for different styles and genres of music. Try playing SRV sh#t with perfect Segovia technique and it will be audibly evident that Segovia technique is flat out wrong to express what that music is conveying.
    Ignorance is agony.



  18. #17

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    Some other EG's of classical-like posture: Martin Taylor & Pasquale Grasso. Nothing is wrong and nothing is right, but if you're inclined to it you're in OK company.

    It works great for me and has for 50 years. What I like most is the the guitar is always in a similar place, whether standing, sitting on a high stool or low chair, leaning against a pool table, sitting on the edge of the bar and so on. That's what started if for me: the gigs required standing and I wanted to sit for at least some of the hours of practising I used to do.

  19. #18

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    It has probably been said already but if we have to/chose to stand then obviously we will be strapped and we should tilt the guitar up at least a little bit. Most people do that.

    Playing seated? Well, the human body is the human body. It's best to use a position that is not unduly stressful on the body when used for hours each day. That's just common sense. Maybe we should consult with OSHA, lol.

    As far as playing blues and rock or blues/rock, yeah that is different in a number of ways. Many people here have no doubt spent some time with those styles but I don't believe that's what most aspire to now. Just a guess though.

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by whiskey02 View Post
    As far as jazz guitarists position goes, Joe and Gene are rare examples, not common, and certainly not more “correct” than the vast majority of jazzers that play off of their right leg. So too Flamenco players have a couple of frequently used positions that work for the repertoire and instrument they play. “Correct” technique is variable for different styles and genres of music. Try playing SRV sh#t with perfect Segovia technique and it will be audibly evident that Segovia technique is flat out wrong to express what that music is conveying.

    More irrelevance. Playing Stevie Ray with Segovia's technique is EASY. And we are a JAZZ site, by the way. Joe and Gene are outliers, but they sure can play on the highest level. And I never mentioned "correct" technique, I merely made the point that the "classical" position is perfectly useful for the demands of jazz players.

  21. #20

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    I use a hybrid of clasical and freddy green. It keeps my carpal tunnel from flaring up.

    The jack on my ES175 doesn't seem to be a issue, on the rare times I use it. Never gave it much thought.

  22. #21

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    I find the left knee good for fingerpicking. Guitar angled upwards for better left hand reach, and better angle for the picking fingers.

    Right knee is preferred when using a plectrum. I can't angle the guitar upwards much when plectrum picking as the string angle gets awkward, and on the left knee the guitar needs that angle for the neck to be within comfortable reach.

  23. #22

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    Z
    Quote Originally Posted by ronjazz View Post
    More irrelevance. Playing Stevie Ray with Segovia's technique is EASY. And we are a JAZZ site, by the way. Joe and Gene are outliers, but they sure can play on the highest level. And I never mentioned "correct" technique, I merely made the point that the "classical" position is perfectly useful for the demands of jazz players.
    You sound angry, arrogant and with respect to playing SRV with “classical” technique, completely uninformed. I really don’t mean to sound offensive, but your remarks are proof to me that you are speaking completely out of your element. Should the above videos of Hopkinson Smith be deleted because he is not a JAZZ musician (less so than SRV)?
    Let’s agree to disagree.
    Ignorance is agony.



  24. #23

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    If classical technique means keeping my thumb on the back of the neck, then I'll forego the inevitable injury and never try playing SRV stuff that way.

    To the OP, I'd say it has a few sources.

    1. There's a right way to hood an archtop for playing real rhythm guitar, and it ain't classical position.

    2. Ever stuff a 17" archtop between your legs?
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    If classical technique means keeping my thumb on the back of the neck, then I'll forego the inevitable injury and never try playing SRV stuff that way.

    To the OP, I'd say it has a few sources.

    1. There's a right way to hood an archtop for playing real rhythm guitar, and it ain't classical position.

    2. Ever stuff a 17" archtop between your legs?

    Jeff I don't understand your first point. "hood"? Can you expand please?

    On the second point - yes - every day. I don't see it as being much different than classical playing, although I guess the lower bout might be a little bigger. What's the ergonomic issue?

  26. #25

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  27. #26

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    Ever stuff a 17" archtop between your legs?
    sounds scary...


    On the second point - yes - every day.
    even more scary!

  28. #27

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    On second thought...I prefer classical position for any guitar (without strap) if I have a foot rest to raise that left leg. Else, it goes on the right side.

    Yeah, you need reasonable manspreading to fit large archtops in there

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by whiskey02 View Post
    Z
    You sound angry, arrogant and with respect to playing SRV with “classical” technique, completely uninformed. I really don’t mean to sound offensive, but your remarks are proof to me that you are speaking completely out of your element. Should the above videos of Hopkinson Smith be deleted because he is not a JAZZ musician (less so than SRV)?
    Let’s agree to disagree.
    Ignorance is agony, thanks for the proof. I have 55 years of professional experience as a player and teacher, with many thousands of jazz, classical, flamenco and blues gigs under my belt, as well as teaching positions at some of the leading music colleges in the world. You sound defensive, ignorant and hurt, so let's disagree, and let me go my way at my advanced age with NO back problems of any kind after studying the way the body works and applying good ergonomic principles to playing the guitar. We can safely ignore your unhelpful and narrow-minded viewpoint.

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    If classical technique means keeping my thumb on the back of the neck, then I'll forego the inevitable injury and never try playing SRV stuff that way.

    To the OP, I'd say it has a few sources.

    1. There's a right way to hood an archtop for playing real rhythm guitar, and it ain't classical position.

    2. Ever stuff a 17" archtop between your legs?
    That's me stuffing a 17" Eastman between my legs.



    In the back a little hard to see.