If you want to effectively play The Blues — or any style of guitar, really — you need to get off your chair, strap in your guitar, and stand up!


Too many people go lazy and play the guitar while sitting down.  YouTube is filled with guitar sitter performances.

Sitting down while rehearsing only creates bad habits.  You will tend to turn the guitar towards you for a better view of the strings and fretboard and that is cheating.

When you stand up and play, you can’t easily see the front of the
guitar unless you bend over it and look and that’s a really dumb look
on stage and yet you see it all the time.

When you stand up and play, you have to know where your fingers are in relation to the frets and you can’t look down and see how your pick is hitting the strings.  You’re playing on the faith of muscle memory and that faith never develops in rehearsal if you only play sitting down while staring at your strings.

Great typists never look at the keyboard — and the same goes for great guitar players because they can play with their eyes closed and still get the same, ringing, results.

If you close your eyes and you can’t find your chords — then you are not practicing fairly and you are cheating yourself out of a mastery of the guitar many long for but few conquer.

Mastery of the guitar begins with you standing straight and tall and with your eyes on your audience and not your stompbox or strings below you.

4 Comments

  1. Great ideas, David. I rarely think about how I never look at the keyboard but it’s true — people who look at the keyboard, like people who look at their guitar (I remember not looking at the violin strings after a year or so) need help learning how to play it 🙂

  2. It’s tough not to look, Gordon. When I was trained to type in junior high school, we used manual typewriters with blank keys and if we were still tempted to look down, our teacher would come over and place a cloth over our hands as we typed. Lesson learned!

  3. The article demystifies so many things David, thanks!
    I used to play an Indian reed organ and learnt the basics of it when I was a kid. In fact I don’t remember the process of learning at all.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harmonium
    I never learnt to read the notation, if I needed to play something in that instrument, I needed to listen to it…then with my eyes closed I could just play the tune back.
    Give me a notation without making me listen the song first and I am dead with it…till date.
    I thought it was natural, but now I know it’s the practice/ rehearsal that works.