Guitar Straps: How Low Can You Go?

I don’t know how this happened, but I’m seeing it quite a bit these days. Somehow it has become “cool” or just “the thing” to have your guitar strap adjusted so low that your guitar is swinging at your knee caps. I have no idea how such a thing has infected the guitar community. And no offense metal rockers, but I see it a lot with you.

If you are doing this, it really hinders your guitar playing.  

Let’s look at why.

Think about when you practice guitar…

I often practice guitar with it sitting on my lap.  My guess is that most of you probably do too.  It usually isn’t till a performance or a show that comes up where I throw on the guitar strap.  

Now, when you practice guitar, think about where the position of the guitar is in relationship to your body. For me, the body of the guitar rests on one of my legs, which puts the guitar right smack in front of my stomach.

When we practice this way, we become used to this position. If our guitar is positioned this way when we practice, we’ll perform much better with a guitar strap adjusted so that the guitar is in a similar position to our practice position.

But maybe you are the type who practices with their guitar down to their knees…

Another real problem, and the main problem, with having your guitar strap adjusted so low is that it causes a lot of tension in your arm and wrist.  If I have the guitar strap adjusted in such a way that causes the neck of the guitar to be really low, I’m going to have to reach really far down towards the neck and then bend my wrist very awkwardly upwards to actually play.  

All this reaching and bending is causing tension in your arm and wrist.  Any tension will decrease your speed, accuracy, and dexterity in your guitar playing.

Adjusting Your Guitar Strap

Adjust your guitar strap so you can comfortably reach the guitar fretboard without tension and a severely bent wrist.  A good reference for where you should set your guitar strap is how the guitar is positioned when it sits on your lap.  Ultimately, where you adjust your guitar strap will vary from person to person. The goal is to decrease tension in your arm and wrist so you can increase speed, accuracy, and dexterity in your guitar playing!

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About Brett McQueen

Brett McQueen is a musician, songwriter, and the founder and editor of Guitar Friendly and Ukulele Tricks. Learn more about him here and follow him on Twitter at @GuitarFriendly.