Students inevitably need to get up and move around the classroom. The safest way to lay the guitar down is to place it top down with the strings against the floor. The tuners are also facing towards the ceiling and will not be moved as they would be if the student laid the guitar with the back on the floor.
Placing the guitar top down will also spare it from accidentally getting knocked over or falling which will cause serious damage. Never let a student lean the guitar against the wall or a desk! A young girl in my Guitar 1 class leaned her personal new guitar against her desk and came up to talk to me. We both heard a sound and looked over to see the guitar falling sideways. There was nothing we could do. When it hit the floor, the headstock severed from the neck, though the strings still were connected to the bridge. This brave girl fought back the tears, yet I know she was thinking, “What is Dad going to say about my new guitar?”
Placing the guitar on the floor on its side, though taking up less room is not advisable either, because the sides and the head will touch the floor and put pressure on the fragile head, as well as rest on the 3rd or 4th string tuner affecting tuning. I have seen a headstock snapped off by accident in my classroom when placed on the floor this way. The student was very sorry, yet I still was short a guitar for all following periods.
P.S. (A broken headstock, though looking very serious, can be repaired by a reputable guitar repairman. The trade-off is – will the repair cost more than the value of the instrument? A crack in the top of a guitar is a much more serious injury.)
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