by Mark Mara of Quarter Bend Guitar Studio
Proper posture is vitally important to not only your longevity as a player, but your technique, and overall tone as well. Making sure your guitar is properly supported can eliminate both frustration and potential injuries.
With all of the different types of guitar supports on the market, it can be difficult to figure out which one you is right for you. I’ll provide a brief overview of several of the popular methods along with their potential benefits and drawbacks. This article will break supports down into 4 main categories:
Why guitar supports?
The traditional guitar foot stool has been used by guitarists for many years, and may still be the most popular method of achieving proper guitar positioning while seated. Unfortunately, sitting for an extended period of time with one foot elevated can lead to issues and pain in the lower back. As a result, many guitarists are moving towards alternative methods of supporting their guitars.
Suction Cup Supports
Many of the most popular guitar supports use some sort of suction cup system. In general, these supports use anywhere from 1-4 suction cups that attach to one or more locations on the side of the guitar. They work very well for standard sized acoustic and classical guitars but are not typically used on smaller scale or electric guitars/basses(most suction cup supports require about 4-5” of space on the side of the guitar). Another thing to keep in mind with suction cup supports is the finish of your guitar. Guitars with a natural finish or a french polish may not support suction cups. Guitarists get around this by applying self adhesive vinyl or clear suction cup protectors to their guitars (link below). This will also keep your support from leaving a mark where the suction cups attach.
Let’s take a look at some popular suction cup supports:
ErgoPlay Tappert Classical Guitar Support: The ErgoPlay Tappert is a guitar support with 3 suction cups and an arched bar. Two suction cups attach to the upper middle side of the guitar and one to the lower side. The bar has a grip material on the bottom to keep if from slipping on your leg and is adjustable from one side. This support is considered one of the more reliable suction cup supports because the way the guitar sits on the support keeps it from falling if one the suction cups comes off. Some drawbacks of this support are that some guitarists feel the design of the Tappert doesn’t allow them to get their guitar as vertical as they would like and it isn’t collapsable so it is not as travel friendly as some of the other supports on this list.
*Note- There is an higher quality option from the company called the Troster. It has all the same features as the Tappert but is adjustable on both sides (as well as the tilt), has 4 suction cups instead of 3, and can go 2” higher.
Price: $55 for the Tappert, $75 for the Troster
Tenuto/Gitano Guitar Supports: Unlike the Ergoplay support, the Gitano and Tenuto guitar supports are small suction cup supports that utilize a metal and material design to form a triangle shape off the side of your guitar that rests on your leg. I group these two supports together because they are the two most popular supports with this design style. These supports have a simple design. They both use a 4 suction cup design that changes the position of your guitar based on where you place it on the side of your guitar. The Tenuto line of supports now include slim models for thinner guitars as well as pro models which come with strap and tilt adjustments. The Gitano/Tenuto are also incredibly portable and fit in most guitar cases. While there are not may complaints about the suction cups coming undone, if it were to happen there would be nothing to keep the guitar from falling to the ground.
*Note- There are many similar/cheaper options of this style of support such as the Tenor, Oasis, and Flanger supports. The Tenor support uses 2 suction cups rather than 4 and is regarded as an affordable alternative to the Gitano or Tenuto. The Oasis/Flanger supports use one, larger suction cup which comes with a locking mechanism that has yielded a mixed response among guitarists. Many people are weary about the force the support hits the guitar with while triggering and releasing the locking mechanism.
Price: $16-35 for the Oasis/Flanger/Tenor, $35 for the Gitano, $42-62 for the Tenuto
Other Supports: There are two other supports that are a mix between the design of the ErgoPlay and Tenuto style supports that are not listed above as they do not seem to be quite as popular among guitarists. They are the A frame and the Neck up. I’ve provided links for these as well.
Cushion supports are quite different from the other types of supports on this list in that you do not attach anything to your guitar. Guitar cushions simply rest on your leg with the guitar on top. They are simple, effective, and a go-to for many guitarists. Some common complaints about guitar cushions are; some difficulty in the cushion staying in place, poor selection of sizes for the cushions, not very travel friendly, and no support for left handed guitars.
For many people, the differences in the types of guitar cushions are negligible. Here are two well respected brands:
Dynarette/Yifan Guitar Cushion Support: The Dynarette and Yifan are cushions made of a spongy material with a zipper leatherette cover. The cushions come in two different sizes. Some guitarists find the larger size obtrusive and will even opt to use the smaller cushion in conjunction with a foot stool at a low height. While the cushions have a slip resistant material on the bottom, some guitarists find them hard to keep in the same spot.
Price: $32-50 for the Dynarette, $22 for the Yifan
Clamp supports attach to the side of the guitar and are connected to an arched leg support. They are reliable and provide the player with good positioning and range of motion. Since the guitar is resting on the clamps there is little to no worry about the guitar falling. The downside of clamp supports is that they do not work with guitars that have a raised fretboard.
When it comes to clamp guitar supports, there is one style that has been the frontrunner for years:
Murata Guitar Rest: The Murata guitar rest has a comfortable leg rest that does not slip easily. It clamps to the side of the body of the guitar and has a hinge allows for a wide range of motion. The guitar moves with you as you move. Overall, this rest has very positive feedback from guitarists. There have been complaints that the support could be a bit taller.
Magnetic Guitar Supports
Magnetic guitar supports work by attaching magnets to the side wall of your guitar on the inside. The support then attaches magnetically to the outside of your guitar. These supports offer great stability but require you to attach the magnets on the inside with an adhesive and can be more expensive than other guitar supports.
Much like the clamp supports, there is one magnetic support that stands above the rest:
Sagework Atlas Barnett Guitar Support: This support comes with strong magnets and an adhesive for attaching them on the inside of the guitar. It has two adjustable sides with adjustable height, angle, and tilt. The support has a nice wood exterior and provides excellent support and control. Some downsides are; a high price point for a guitar support, needing to install the magnets inside the guitar, and concern that magnets will leave a mark.
Are you looking to get more out of your guitar playing? Trying to reignite the excitement and motivation in your practice? Contact Quarter Bend Guitar Studio for the best guitar lessons in Lancaster, PA!