Let's face it: playing guitar is bad for you.
Most guitarists play in a way that twists the spine, lifts a shoulder, skews the hips, and tenses the forearms.
Even some of the common wisdom about playing guitar makes it sound like a chiropractic nightmare. This is from Guitar for Dummies:
Because of the strength your left hand exerts while fretting, other parts of your body may tense up to compensate. At periodic intervals, make sure that you relax your left shoulder. Make sure as well that your left elbow doesn't stick out to the side, like that of some rude dinner guest. You want to keep your upper arm and forearm parallel to the side of your body. Relax your elbow so that it stays at your side.
Paul Galbraith has devolped a much more relaxed posture for guitar. He holds it as if it were a cello, the body cradled between his knees, the neck straight up by his left ear. He even props the guitar on an end-pin, which serves two ends: it holds the guitar at the perfect height for both hands, and it transmits sound into a resonating box on the floor, which gives his guitar a wonderfully rich acoustic bass sound.
Galbraith has spent 20 years developing this posture, and a new set of techniques adapted to this posture. He tells the entire story on his website, which has lots of great pictures, as well.
And most importantly...this is ALL in the service of a keen and expressive musical mind -- Galbraith's playing is beautiful and evocative.
And check out his two-day visit to Performance Today on our features page.
Fred, if Jimi Hendrix were alive today you just KNOW he'd own one of these guitars!
Hendrix would be 65 this year, so...I can see it!