- What are classical guitar supports?
- Why are classical guitar supports important?
- Foot Rests
What are classical guitar supports?
Classical guitarists use ergonomic support mechanisms to elevate the guitar. Historically, the most common classical guitar supports were footstools, also called foot rests. However, new inventions such as the ErgoPlay are becoming more popular.
Perhaps I’m just old school, but my favorite guitar support is still the Tetra-Teknica foot rest. It’s portable, easy to adjust, and fast to set up. That said, some people find them uncomfortable to use for long periods of time. Specifically, people can sometimes develop back pain since the knee is elevated above the waist line.
When you’re holding the guitar, you want the instrument to feel stable, secure, and comfortable! So if you’re new to classical guitar or interested in comparing support options, this article has many great for you to consider.
Below you’ll find my list of the top 7 of classical guitar supports, and the pros and cons of each. By comparing the different options available, you can make an informed decision about which classical guitar support is best for you.
Why are classical guitar supports important?
In guitar, the term ergonomic refers to a design that facilitates efficiency and comfort while playing the instrument. We use ergonomic guitar supports in order to maintain the proper posture and to keep the guitar steady while we play.
In addition to securing and stabilizing the guitar, classical guitar supports raise the guitar which makes it easier for the left hand fingers to play high notes above the 12th fret.
- Fast and easy to set up – simply find the slot that feels right and you’re ready to play
- Adjustable – there’s several slots to choose from depending on the height of the chair you’re sitting in
- Sturdy and durable – since guitar footrests are made with metal and thick rubber, a good foot stool can last you a lifetime
- Portable – very thin when you fold it up so it’s easy to travel with
- Cheaper than other options – prices range from $12-20
- Doesn’t touch the guitar – there’s no risk of a footstool damaging the finish of your guitar
- Less flexibility – it can be difficult to find the perfect height angle
- Potential for discomfort – keeping your knee above your waistline for long periods of time can cause lower back or leg pain
- Less mobility – your left leg needs to stay relatively stable
Guitar foot rests are effective, easy to use, and very portable. You can also set them up quickly and adjust them to various heights. For those reasons, they’re still my favorite guitar support device.
So how do you use a guitar foot rest?
Classical guitarists place their left foot on the footstool to elevate their leg, and then position the guitar on top of that leg. As a result, the guitar can be set up in a proper position that’s also comfortable for you.
There’s many competing guitar footstools on the market. However, I think the best guitar foot rest is the Tetra-Teknica. It’s very wide and durable, plus the non-slip rubber surface makes it a secure option.
- Comfortable – the ErgoPlay devices allow you to keep both legs on the ground
- Adjustable – the adjustable arms allow to position the guitar more precisely
- Easy to set up – not as easy as a foot rest, but it’s still an intuitive device
- Not as portable – the ErgoPlay is more difficult to travel with, and doesn’t contract as easily as a footstool
- Longer set up time – it takes more time to set up the ErgoPlay than it does to set up other devices
- Suction cups can loosen – it’s common for one of the suction cups to comes loose. This can be a distraction or problem if it happens during a performance
- Slippery – these supports can slip out of position depending on the fabric of pants you’re wearing or the angle of your leg
- Wood finish concerns – the suction cups won’t adhere to certain guitar finishes like French-polished surfaces, matte finishes, and semi-gloss finishes
Even though I still personally prefer to use a footstool, I also use the ErgoPlay Tappert model from time to time.
Why do guitarists like ErgoPlay guitar supports?
Many classical guitarists prefer the ErgoPlay support over footstools because it allows you to keep both legs flat on the ground. As a result, you’re less likely to develop any physical problems like back pain or knee discomfort.
So if you’re playing for extended periods of time and feeling some back pain, it’s definitely worth considering an ErgoPlay guitar support.
Moreover, the ErgoPlay gives you more control when adjusting the height. As a result, you can get the guitar perfectly positioned to fit your comfort level.
How do ErgoPlay supports work?
Guitarists position the ErgoPlay rest on top of the left leg, and then attach the support to the side of the guitar using suction cups. To help the suction cups stay secure and protect the finish, you might want to get some cling wrap or other suction cup protectors. ErgoPlay also includes several adhesive stickers to help with this issue as well.
Both of the the ErgoPlay support models have adjustable components. Therefore, you can adjust the device to find a more precise angle that works for you anywhere you’re playing.
The Tappert Model
The ErgoPlay Tappert model is the cheaper of the two models. However, the quality of the Tappert model is still excellent.
Unlike the Tröster model, the Tappert model has a thicker base and only one adjustable arm. The Tappert model also only has one suction cup on the base, rather than two.
Ultimately, the Tappert model is great affordable support option for beginner guitarists to consider.
The Tröster Model
The Tröster model, also called the Troester model, is the more expensive Ergoplay support device. These models have two adjustable arms, whereas the Tappert only has one. As a result, the Tröster allows for even more control and support when it’s attached to the guitar.
Although the price point is slightly higher than the Tappert model, you can’t go wrong with the Tröster!
- Lightweight – the cushion is light and easy to carry around
- Comfortable – the cushion allows you to keep both legs on the ground
- Material – with the leather material, there’s no risk of harming the guitar finish
- Stability – it’s easy to get familiar with the static position of the cushion
- Fast to set up – the fastest support device to set up. Simply place the cushion on your leg and you’re ready to play!
- Less adjustable – other than positioning the cushion further up or down your leg, the cushion itself is not adjustable
- Squeaky – sometimes you’ll hear a squeak sound when the guitar rubs against the cushion
- Lower position – the cushion doesn’t raise the guitar as high as other supports
Guitar cushions aren’t as popular as footstools or ErgoPlay supports. However, I used a cushion for years and found it very effective. I like how fast and easy it is to set up, plus it’s the most consistent of all the guitar support options.
However, you might find yourself needing raise your heel slightly to get the proper angle since the guitar cushion itself isn’t adjustable.
In addition, you might hear some squeaky sounds if you shift or move the guitar while it’s placed on the cushion. That’s no good if you’re recording!
Many articles recommend the Dynarette guitar cushion, but it’s often sold out of major online distributors. Fortunately, there’s many comparable options such as the Peleustech guitar cushion support.
So if you’re not satisfied with the footstool or the ErgoPlay, you might want to try using a guitar cushion support.
- Stability – in terms of a guitar support device that attaches to the guitar, the guitarlift is the most stable
- Adjustable – you can adjust where the suction cups are positioned and set it to the perfect angle
- Comfortable – Guitarlift advocates claim that this is the most comfortable support for them
- Resonance – because the plate prevents the back of the guitar from connecting to the players stomach, this can allow the sound to resonate more freely
- Bulky – Guitarlift plates are very large, which makes them difficult to travel with
- Suction cups – since Guitarlifts use suction cups to attach to the back of the guitar, you’ll want to research whether or not they can damage the finish
- Longer set up time – it can take awhile to set up the Guitarllift, which can be annoying if you play in different locations on a regular basis
The Guitarlift was developed by Felix Justen and introduced at the 2016 Frankfurt Music Fair. Since then, classical guitarists worldwide have enjoyed using this guitar support.
You can learn more about the Guitarlift in their official product video below:
- Portable – small enough to fit in your guitar case so it’s easy to travel with
- Adjustable – similar to the ErgoPlay, the adjustable arms make it easy to alter the height
- Magnetic – Sagework uses magnets instead of suction cups, so there’s less risk of having problems with the guitar finish
- Aesthetic – the woodwork of the Sagework guitar support is elegant and high quality
- Lifetime Guarantee – Sagework offers a lifetime guarantee for their products
- First set up is complex – you have to place adhesive magnets inside your guitar body. If they ever come loose then they could possibly roll around in your guitar
- Adhesive removal – most people leave the magnets in place for the lifetime of the guitar, but some people complain that the adhesive strips can be difficult to remove
- Price – Sagework guitar supports are more expensive than the other options listed. However, the quality is certainly top-notch
Sagework classical guitar supports, previously known as Barnett guitar supports, are quickly becoming one of the most popular supports on the market.
The best part is, this device doesn’t use suction cups! Instead, Kris Barnett developed a method of securing the device to the guitar using magnets.
The two Sagework models are the Umbra and the Atlas. The Umbra model is cheaper and has the same functionality. The only difference is the Umbra model uses a high quality reinforced nylon material called vydyne instead of wood like the Atlas model.
So how does it work? First, you attach a couple of magnets to the inside of your guitar body using adhesive strips. Then, the Sagework support can attach to the guitar quickly and easily whenever you’d like.
You can find a link to their standard model here.
- Lightweight – more lightweight than other guitar supports
- Portable – the sides can contract in, making for a slim attachment plus it fits in your guitar case
- Durable – despite its small size, the Gitano is made of metal and can support the weight of your guitar
- Comfortable – similar to other options, this support allows you to keep both feet flat on the floor
- Suction Cups – the Gitano uses three suction cups, which can cause issues on certain guitar finishes
- Instructions only come in German – some customers are frustrated that the instructions for the Gitano are only in the German language
- Flimsier than other guitar supports – while it’s unlikely that it will fall apart, the Gitano is less sturdy than other support devices listed above. This can be risky in a performance situation
The Gitano is a popular, minimal guitar support for classical and flamenco guitarists. This support is small in size, making it easy to attach and detach when you’re on the go.
Overall, the Gitano is a simple guitar support option with lots of flexible capabilities.
That being said, if you live in the U.S. then you might also want to consider trying the Tenor TPGS+ first. The TPGS+ has similar functionality to the Gitano, but is less than half the price. However, be aware that Tenor’s TPGS+ model only has two suction cups rather than three.
- Stability – the Murata GR-1 model with four suction cups is a stable and popular guitar support
- Sturdy – there’s a lot of thick metal parts that make the Murata a secure choice
- Less slippery – the rounded plastic platform that rests on your left leg is lined with fabric to prevent slipping
- Comfortable – the Murata allows you to keep both feet flat on the floor when playing
- Suitable for Left or Right-Handed – the Murata models are designed to work for both left or right handed guitarists
- Clamp concerns – you’ll want to be careful when tightening the clamps to make sure the pressure doesn’t damage the body
- Bulky – the Murata models are less portable than other guitar supports
- Clamp limitations – the clamps might not fit on certain thicker body guitars or guitars with raised fingerboards
The Murata guitar supports have been around since at least the 1970s. However, the GR-1 model with suction cups is a more recent addition and is now the most popular.
Although the Murata is bulkier and less adjustable than other guitar supports mentioned above. That said, Murata supports are a good option if you want something slimmer than the ErgoPlay and Guitarlift, and sturdier than the Gitano.
People are constantly coming up with new inventions for optimal ergonomic guitar playing. Many people find footstool uncomfortable to use for hours at a time, which is what inspired new support ideas. At the same time, playing with your guitar at an elevated height can also cause stability issues.
In 2022, most new guitarists are choosing to use the ErgoPlay or Guitarlift supports. However, I’m still an advocate for using a footstool as long as it doesn’t cause you any discomfort.
So which guitar support is best for you? The answer completely depends on your body type, and preference for holding the instrument.
Fortunately, most of these options are affordable and easy to obtain. Try a couple of different options and see which one you like best! Once you do, please leave a comment and let me know which guitar support you prefer.