Whether you’ve been playing for a little while or a really long time, avoiding back pain is eventually going to be a factor for most guitar players. Especially if you spend a lot of time playing, paying attention to your posture will really affect your long-term comfort while playing guitar.
The #1 tip for avoiding back pain is your posture.
Keep your spine straight and afloat while playing. Try to avoid curling your spine over the guitar to look at your frets. Think about your vertebrae – you don’t want them crunched into each other. Instead, find a natural, comfortable posture where your neck and spine are straight.
It’s important to have the right tools.
If you like to sit while playing, use a stool rather than sitting in a chair with arms. This will allow your guitar to sit naturally, without you having to shift over and accommodate it.
The most natural way to play guitar is to stand while you play. It’s recommended to stand for performances if you can to ensure that your back stays straight.
It’s also important to have a guitar strap that fits correctly. If you find you have sore shoulders after a long playing session, look into getting a strap that has some padding, or is wider to better distribute the weight of your guitar.
If you’re having back pain while playing guitar, check out how much your guitar weighs, and consider swapping it for a lighter model. Anything over 8 lbs. is considered a heavy guitar.
For more advice in keeping good posture (and preventing back pain) in everyday life, check out the Alexander technique.