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Why did he hold his guitar so high?
2 July 2013
3.23am
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Into the Sky with Diamonds
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Good post there, Rick M; welcome!

As Parlance says, Gerry of Gerry and the Pacemakers would hold his guitar chest high as did a number of other performers.

Then at the other extreme, you had Stones’ bass player Bill Wyman holding his guitar waaaay down

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22 July 2013
6.04am
ladycat
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I remember playing the first Guitar Hero game, on the loading screen would come up hints and tips for the game. My favorite was Do not wear your guitar above your waist, You are not a Beatle!

16 July 2022
11.05pm
forn
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Into the Sky with Diamonds said
 

Then at the other extreme, you had Stones’ bass player Bill Wyman holding his guitar waaaay down

  

Bill Wyman used to hold his bass almost vertical!  The style where it looked cool to wear the guitar slung down low came to be later, Jimmy Page was an early example.  I’ve always thought it was easier to play guitar when it was held higher, holding it low was solely about the cool factor IMO lol.  But then, like John, my eyesight is bad too, so maybe there’s some correlation.

16 July 2022
11.39pm
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meaigs
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The trick is to position the guitar so that you don’t have to bend your wrists as you’re playing. That way lies Repetitive Strain Injury. I’ve been playing bass about six months, having noodled on acoustic for years. I kept shifting it down and down until I found the right level (surprisingly much lower than for the acoustic — but it is a very different shape)

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26 July 2023
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fabioibaf
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normally the higher you hold the guitar the easier for the left hand to do chords and stuff, because one gets more free movement. I guess that’s the main reason why.

27 July 2023
12.32am
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Beatlebug
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Hello and welcome to the forum!

Guitarist here, and it’s more about the angle of your arm relative to the fretboard that makes guitars easier to play when they’re higher up. This is particularly true with barre chords (chords where you press down on multiple strings with one finger), and John, as the Beatles’ rhythm guitarist, often found himself in the position of playing mostly barre chords throughout the duration of a song, often on an acoustic guitar (which is a bit harder to fret than electric guitars).

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27 July 2023
5.41am
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Sea Belt
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True @Beatlebug, hoisting it high helps with barre chords — however, for me it makes it difficult to do subtle quick changes.  I’m more of a mid-level guy I guess. 

Here’s the opposite extreme:

bb79.jpgImage Enlarger

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27 July 2023
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Timothy
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Because John’s guitar is high it blows my mind.

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27 July 2023
1.25pm
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Beatlebug
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Sea Belt said
True Beatlebug, hoisting it high helps with barre chords — however, for me it makes it difficult to do subtle quick changes.  I’m more of a mid-level guy I guess. 

 

I have a different issue as a singer: when my guitar is too high (especially acoustic), it sort of gets in the way of me having the proper posture and diaphragm freedom to move and breathe properly. But when it’s too low, I have to hunch over to fret comfortably, so yeah, happy medium is best.

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27 July 2023
11.30pm
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Sea Belt
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Guilty Confession: When I’m performing a song for an audience — whether a tiny gathering of 2 or 3, or a couple dozen at a cafe open mike — I often look down and over to my left hand on the fretboard for a second or two as I’m fingering riffs or chords, even when most of the time I don’t need to, but only because I sometimes get uncomfortable looking straight at my audience who’s looking at me.

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28 July 2023
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StrawberrySauce
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Timothy said
Because John’s guitar is high it blows my mind.

  

I don’t know why he’s holding so high…

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27 August 2023
11.02pm
forn
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Linde said
If it’s more comfortable, I wonder why people are holding them so low nowadays.

Yeah, honestly, guitars are easier to play if they’re higher.  Back in those days in the early ’60s, it wasn’t established that cool players played their guitars slung real low.  So he really had no reason not to play it that high if he was comfortable that way.  That plus he could see the neck easier with his nearsightedness pretty much explains it, I would think.

I always thought Bill Wyman held his bass funny, almost like an upright.

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