If you’re a guitar beginner, you may wonder about this “leg problem”. As you can see, some guitar players rest their guitar on a right leg, some on their left.
But which leg is more proper to rest your guitar on? Does it depends on what guitar (classical, acoustic or electric) you’re playing?
For a classical guitar, a proper way is to rest it on your left leg (if you’re right handed). Acoustic and electric guitars don’t follow these “rules”. You can play them on either your right or left leg, depending on your comfort.
If you’re a lefty, a proper way of holding a classical guitar is to rest it on your right leg. Further in this article, I’m going to assume you’re right handed for the sake of simplicity.
Classical Guitars – Why Left Leg Rule?
Classical guitars are more cumbersome than acoustic or electric guitars. That’s why there’s this rule of resting it on your left leg.
They have wider neck and they are wide, in general. Add to that the foot stool professional classical guitarists use, and you’ll get a clearer picture of holding a classical guitar properly.
Of course, keep in mind that there’s no any law whatsoever that’s forbidding you from playing a classical guitar on your right leg. It’s just the matter of comfort.
When it comes to acoustic guitars, there’s no strict rule on which leg should you rest your acoustic guitar.
Acoustic guitars can be cumbersome for many guitarists. That’s because every one of us has different body. Also, different acoustic guitars have different body shapes.
There’s a dreadnought shape, auditorium, jumbo, parlor and so on. All of these different shapes of acoustic guitars will provide different comfort to different guitarists.
Acoustic guitars usually don’t have as wide neck as the classical guitars have. That’s why this leg issue isn’t so important in regards to acoustic guitar playing.
Most electric guitarists rest their guitars on a left leg. But again, there’s no rule to it. I don’t know for sure, but my theory is that when electric guitar came to prominence in 50s and 60s of 20th century, lot of guitar players decided to play them on their right leg out of rebellion.
Think about it. Rock ‘n’ roll is partly about “breaking rules” and rebellion. In that sense, playing guitar on the right leg, that way breaking the rule of playing it on the left leg, could be the act of rebellion.
But those are just my thoughts. Who knows?
Anyway, electric guitars are significantly smaller in size and width than classical and acoustic guitars. Also, electric guitars have much narrower neck.
So, again, it’s up to you and your feeling of comfort.
To determine on which leg should you rest your guitar on, think about your playing style.
Do you often perform solos on your guitar? Or are you more of a rhythm guy, jamming chords, powerchords and so on? Or both?
Where on fretboard do you spend your time the most when you play? If you like to solo, it’s obvious that you use higher frets.
It’s often more comfortable to rest your guitar on your left leg when you do a solo. When a guitar is rested on your left leg, you have an easier access to higher frets, and that can make your soloing easier.
On the other hand, if you want to jangle on the lower E string, playing fast rhythms, then perhaps resting your guitar on your right leg is more comfortable for you.
Personally, I rest my guitar on a right leg. That’s because I’m more of a rhythm guitar player.
Left Leg Advantage
Biggest advantage of resting your guitar on a left leg is that the fretboard stays parallel to your body.
That’s often practical when you play something that requires using both lower and higher frets on a fretboard. And middle as well.
Imagine, for example, playing a composition on a guitar in which you’re using majority of frets on the fretboard. Imagine you’re playing it while the guitar is rested on your right leg.
Now, imagine you’re playing some basic chords first.
Chords are usually played in the lower region of the fretboard. Now, after a while you proceed to play some solo passages or licks that are located in the higher region of the fretboard.
In that moment, the neck of your guitar will be pointed away from you. That can cause discomfort for your playing, especially if you’re playing a classical or acoustic guitar.
Here, take a look at the pictures below.
Here’s an acoustic guitar residing on my left leg while my fretting hand is placed over higher frets. You can see that the guitar body parallel to my body.
Here’s the acoustic guitar resting on my right leg while my fretting hand is placed over higher frets. You can see the guitar body and the neck are not parallel with my body.
Now add a wider neck to the whole experience (in the case of classical guitar) and you’ll get a slight discomfort.
Your Body Constitution Plays A Role Also
If you have smaller hands, or if you’re a smaller guy in general, this whole right leg-left leg issue can be more relevant to you.
If you’re just a regular guy with regular hand and body size, this whole issue is probably not relevant to your level of comfort.
Resting a guitar on your left leg will provide you an overall stability, since the guitar is located and balanced in front of the center of your body.
Do A Quick Test
Take a following simple test in order to determine which leg gives you more comfort and relaxation when you’re playing.
Play some riff or solo on your right leg. Then play the exact same thing on your left leg. That’s it. Is some leg providing more comfort and stability when you play? If it is, go with that option.
If it doesn’t make any difference…well, OK. Play however you like.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this article as much as I had enjoyed writing it.
Don’t forget to check out some other interesting articles from this site about various guitar topics and issues!
Cheers, and rock on!