How to Hold a Guitar: A Basic Guide for Beginners

Hey there, dear reader! If you’ve stumbled upon this article, chances are you’re a newbie in the world of guitar playing. Congratulations on taking the first step to becoming a rockstar! Before you start shredding those chords, it’s essential to learn how to hold your guitar correctly. In this article, we’ll guide you on the proper way of holding a guitar, so you can play comfortably and avoid injuries.

Why Holding a Guitar Properly Matters

Before we dive into the technicalities of holding a guitar, let’s first discuss why it’s essential to know how to do this properly. Holding a guitar correctly will help you play with ease and prevent discomfort or pain. It will also improve your posture and hand positioning, making it easier to learn proper finger placement and chord progressions.

Find the Right Guitar Size

The first step in holding a guitar correctly is finding the right size that suits your body type. Guitars come in different sizes, so it’s crucial to select the one that feels comfortable to you. A guitar that’s too big or too small can make it difficult for you to hold it properly.

Sit Comfortably

Once you’ve found the right size, it’s time to sit comfortably. Sit upright on a chair with your back straight, and your feet flat on the floor. Place the guitar on your lap, with the bottom curve resting on your right thigh (if you’re right-handed), and the neck of the guitar resting on your left hand.

Position Your Left Hand

Now that you’ve got the guitar in your lap, it’s time to position your left hand. Your left hand should be on the neck of the guitar, with your fingers hovering over the frets. Your thumb should be behind the neck, providing support, and your fingers should be curled slightly.

Position Your Right Hand

Next, let’s focus on your right hand’s position. Your right hand should be resting on the guitar body, with your elbow slightly away from your body. Your fingers should be positioned over the strings, ready to pluck or strum. Make sure that your wrist is not bent too much, as this can lead to injuries.

Find the Right Guitar Strap

If you prefer to stand while playing, using a guitar strap is a must. Choose a strap that can adjust to your height and preferences. The strap should be long enough to let the guitar hang low on your body, but not too low that it’s uncomfortable to play.

Position Your Guitar Strap

Once you’ve got a guitar strap, it’s essential to position it correctly. The strap should go over your shoulder and across your back. Adjust the length of the strap so that the guitar is at a comfortable height for you. Make sure that the strap is secured, so the guitar doesn’t slip off while you’re playing.

Practice Your Posture

Holding a guitar correctly isn’t just about your hands’ position; it’s also about your overall posture. Make sure that your back is straight, your shoulders are relaxed, and your arms are in a comfortable position. Practicing good posture while playing the guitar will help prevent injuries and make it easier for you to learn new techniques.

Experiment with Different Styles

There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to playing the guitar. It’s essential to experiment with different playing styles to find what works best for you. Whether you prefer fingerpicking, strumming, or using a pick, make sure that you’re comfortable with the technique you’re using.

Find Your Dominant Hand

When it comes to playing the guitar, there’s no right or wrong hand dominance. Some people play with their left hand on the fretboard, while others play with their right hand. Experiment with both to see which one feels more comfortable to you.

Learn Proper Finger Placement

Once you’ve got your hands’ position figured out, it’s time to learn proper finger placement. Your fingers should be placed perpendicular to the fretboard, with the tips of your fingers pressing firmly on the strings. Make sure that your fingers are close to the frets, as this will produce a clearer sound.

Don’t Neglect Your Wrist

Playing the guitar can put a lot of strain on your wrist, so it’s essential to take care of it. Make sure that your wrist is straight and not bent too much while playing. Take breaks in between playing to stretch your wrist and prevent injuries.

Practice, Practice, Practice

As with any skill, practice is key when it comes to playing the guitar. Set aside time each day to practice playing, even if it’s just for a few minutes. The more you practice, the more comfortable you’ll become with holding the guitar and playing new techniques.

Invest in a Guitar Stand

When you’re not playing your guitar, it’s essential to store it correctly. Investing in a guitar stand is an excellent way to keep your guitar safe and secure. Make sure that the stand is sturdy and can hold the weight of your guitar.

Clean Your Guitar Regularly

To keep your guitar in top condition, it’s crucial to clean it regularly. Use a soft cloth to wipe down the guitar’s body and strings, making sure to remove any dirt or debris. You can also use guitar polish to keep the guitar’s finish looking shiny and new.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

Learning to play the guitar can be challenging, especially if you’re a beginner. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from more experienced players or take lessons from a professional. Learning from someone else can help you improve your technique and avoid bad habits.

Take Care of Your Fingers

Playing the guitar can be tough on your fingers, especially when you’re just starting. It’s essential to take care of them by moisturizing and stretching them regularly. You can also use finger exercises to improve your finger strength and dexterity.

Take Breaks

Playing the guitar for extended periods can put a lot of strain on your body. It’s essential to take breaks in between playing to rest your hands, stretch, and prevent injuries. Make sure that you’re not playing through pain, as this can lead to more severe injuries.

Stay Patient

Learning to play the guitar takes time and patience. Don’t get discouraged if you’re not improving as quickly as you’d like. Keep practicing and stay patient, and you’ll eventually become a pro.

Have Fun

Last but not least, remember to have fun while playing the guitar. Don’t get too caught up in perfecting your technique or playing the “right” way. Playing the guitar should be a fun and enjoyable experience.


Holding a guitar correctly is crucial for any beginner player. By following the tips we’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able to hold your guitar comfortably and avoid injuries. Remember to practice regularly, take care of your body, and most importantly, have fun! Happy playing, and we’ll see you in the next article.