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Flamenco positions for short guys?   You are logged in as Guest
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Posts: 121
Joined: Jan. 24 2022

Flamenco positions for short guys? 

Hey guys, just wondering what your sitting positions are? Im pretty short 5 ft 6 with a small frame, and pretty muscular due to lifting weights for 14 years. The traditional position, on the right leg with the footstool causes some rear shoulder pain as my arm is pushed far right. The cross legged Paco position is pretty good as it centers the guitar better, but causes lower back pain. Both these positions seem to make the golpe a bit easier, of course this could just be in my head.

The last position that i seem to like the best is a sort of hybrid classical position, but that could just be because of my classical background. Basically with a left footstool, but instead of resting the inward curved part of the guitar on the left thigh, the upper outward curve rests on the left thigh, while the large one on the right....basically like pepe romero. Its the most comfortable, the only issue is i have to readjust my shoulder/arm to the right frequently, otherwise my hand lines up to far over the soundhole and the edge of the guitar is on my upper forearm where it should at the crease where my elbow is.

The only thing i have not tried is power through the shoulder pain for a week with the traditional position for example, and than assess it after that.

What do short flamenco players do for their playing positions? I should say my legs are pretty short, my torso is taller. Think jhonny bravo lol, perhaps not the best frame to play guitar with.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 1 2022 20:20:19

Posts: 1689
Joined: Jul. 11 2003
From: The Netherlands

RE: Flamenco positions for short guys? (in reply to trivium91

Maybe try the old school position, like Paco Peña. It takes a while to get used to it.
It works even better with an anti slipping cloth. Nowadays you can buy them especially for guitar to save the french polish. They work good.
But the regular from the convenience store.
Paco now uses the gitano guitar suppor. He is getting older I think.

With and without gitano guitar support

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 1 2022 21:43:19

Posts: 1706
Joined: Jul. 12 2004
From: San Francisco

RE: Flamenco positions for short guys? (in reply to trivium91

None of the positions are comfortable in the long haul, to me anyway. Gotta suffer for the art!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 1 2022 23:23:17


Posts: 121
Joined: Jan. 24 2022

RE: Flamenco positions for short guys? (in reply to trivium91

How does paco pena hold the guitar up like that? I tend to like the hybrid position, basically like Pepe Romero, but is it frowned upon in the flamenco world? I’ve heard that you if you don’t sit in a typical flamenco position, you sound less flamenco.Appeareny, it’s something to do with the attack of the strings. I’m not sure how much sense that makes though.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 2 2022 1:33:40
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 3223
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Flamenco positions for short guys? (in reply to trivium91

When I started to learn flamenco in the early 1960s they told me you had to hold the guitar like the Paco Peña photos above, and your guitar had to have pegs, not machines.

I eventually learned the position. The guitar is not held by muscle tension. It is held entirely by the weight of the right upper arm, with the arm, shoulder etc. completely relaxed. It took a while to learn. The straight part of the side of the lower bout is parallel to the floor, so the arm has no tendency to slide to the left or right. I'm 6'4" so there's too much room between my right thigh and shoulder. I have to put a footstool at the lowest setting under my right foot.

I turned 84 the day before Christmas and I can still do it for a while, but the arm and shoulder tend to tense up, which wrecks right hand dexterity. I have a couple of blancas and one negra. The negra is too heavy and has the wrong weight distribution for me to hold it for any length of time in the "Paco Peña" position.

I got tired of the pegs on the Ramirez long ago and took it to Gryphon Instruments in Palo Alto, California to have machines put on it. Frank Ford came out of the back room to refuse to do it in person. He said it would "interfere with the character of the instrument." I told him that Jose Ramirez III had offered to have his shop do it, but I never had the guitar in Spain long enough to get it done. I'm pretty sure Ford thought I was lying. Kenny Hill's shop up in the mountains did a good job.

I don't like the guitar supports that attach with suction cups, because for me they come loose and they damage french polish. I use a Murata support which is adjustable in height and clamps firmly to the instrument. You can clamp it tightly without harming the guitar. I set it up so I can keep both feet flat on the floor.

I played classical in the standard classical position for many years with a left footstool. A couple of months ago I tried the Murata for classical. To my surprise I found that the classical position was causing tension in the lower back. No pain, just tension.

When I was a teenage trumpet player an operatic baritone in his late twenties I knew emphasized the importance of eliminating unnecessary tension. "You have to learn to relax everything," he said, "your ears, your toes, your fingers, your hair..."

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 2 2022 6:36:05

Posts: 13399
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Flamenco positions for short guys? (in reply to trivium91

Not sure when the last time this topic came up (it comes up at least once a year here), but my thoughts are the same. Be prepared to move or switch positions. I would say between songs but I had been playing on a bar stool for a couple years at one gig and learned how to switch mid song and sort of choreographed that as part of the tune (so I could re positon for a tricky spot and not loose the compas). In general I used to use Paco de Lucia cross leg but switch to Paco Peña position more often these days. When the left hand has to move up and down fast and right hand also needs to move between techniques, that is like a juggling act in the Paco Peña position, but it can be done. The PDL position makes those passages easier. I have even crossed over the OTHER leg and put the guitar up on that. Anything to keep moving my body. With a live situation using a mic close to the sound hole, I pretend the guitar is on a fixed stand and I must move my body AROUND the guitar. In any case any single sitting position is not good for your body so learn how to play in various positions and your body will thank you later.

There is one superior position which is STANDING up with a strap….obviously higher up position than a rock guitarist. Luckily I am mostly playing like that lately and my back/legs/hips/shoulders etc are so thankful.


CD's and transcriptions available here:
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 2 2022 12:45:56
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