Are footstools or supports the standard?

Ergonomics and Posture for Classical Guitarists, Aches and Pains, Injuries, etc...

Re: Are footstools or supports the standard?

Postby thendrix » Wed Dec 21, 2011 4:25 am

I have moved to a thigh support after decades of using footstools. I will never go back.
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Re: Are footstools or supports the standard?

Postby adrianh » Wed Dec 21, 2011 11:47 am

I don't normally use a footstool, I sit with crossed legs, but then, I mainly sit hunched on the couch, music on the space next to me or perched on the arm of the couch because I don't want to "waste" time setting up. Maybe I should get out of this habit and try one of these new-fangled supports.
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Re: Are footstools or supports the standard?

Postby cliffbryant » Thu Dec 22, 2011 11:49 pm

I think it's important too (no matter whether you use a footstool or a cushion) to take regular breaks and to walk around a bit before resuming playing....regular breaks can minimize the chance of injury/discomfort. I know this seems obvious but I find I have to "make" myself do this. I sometimes get so engrossed in what I'm trying to do that I forget to take a break.
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Re: Are footstools or supports the standard?

Postby AndreiKrylov » Fri Dec 23, 2011 1:06 am

cliffbryant wrote:I think it's important too (no matter whether you use a footstool or a cushion) to take regular breaks and to walk around a bit before resuming playing....regular breaks can minimize the chance of injury/discomfort. I know this seems obvious but I find I have to "make" myself do this. I sometimes get so engrossed in what I'm trying to do that I forget to take a break.

Yes it is a very good way to do it - to have breaks, but if you have breaks for relaxation and minimization of discomfort it will be even better if you play standing/moving freely isn't it? :)
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Re: Are footstools or supports the standard?

Postby dtavano » Thu Dec 29, 2011 6:30 am

The footstool has been in use for a long time because it is an effective method of getting the guitar at the right angle and keeping it supported. It is as or more effective as any of the supports in terms of supporting the guitar correctly and has no issues with reliability. In addition the footstool doesn't have the potential to damage your guitar and/or the finish. The prime disadvantages of the footstool is that it is not ergonomic and can cause pain and discomfort and is not good for the spine. It's also less portable than most supports.

I started CG on a Gitano and recently made the switch to the footstool. What I've noticed is that the Gitano can get the guitar in a good position but can't get it in a perfect position like the footstool, I now have better access to the higher frets without the Gitano. In addition to that, the footstool does not have any trouble with slipping like the Gitano would every now and then, and has no potential for a suction cup to come loose. Also my head ends up in a better position to hear the guitar without the support.
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Re: Are footstools or supports the standard?

Postby jimw » Thu Dec 29, 2011 5:58 pm

for comfort while playing, something to consider may be a Dynarette, a kind of leg pillow that allows you to keep both feet flat on the floor while playing. I've used a footstool, but switched after experiencing some back pain when playing or practicing for extended periods.
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Re: Are footstools or supports the standard?

Postby clsgtr » Mon Jan 30, 2012 7:34 pm

Yes, footstools are the standard, but I too am thinking about switching from a footstool to another support of some kind, but I do not want a suction-cup type support. Is there anything on the market that does not attach to the guitar, but resists slipping? The Dynarette cushion looks nice, but I'm not sure how secure it cradles the guitar in place without moving. Any further thoughts or suggestions?
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Re: Are footstools or supports the standard?

Postby Andrew Fryer » Mon Feb 06, 2012 4:17 pm

I use a 6" high tupperware box.
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Re: Are footstools or supports the standard?

Postby thendrix » Tue Feb 07, 2012 1:51 am

The Dynarette (at least the one I very recently bought) has a rubbery strip on the underside, to prevent slipping on the leg, but nothing on the top side.
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Re: Are footstools or supports the standard?

Postby Tomzooki » Tue Feb 07, 2012 1:49 pm

AndrewF wrote:I use a 6" high tupperware box.

:lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: Are footstools or supports the standard?

Postby Tomzooki » Tue Feb 07, 2012 2:02 pm

I use the footstool. Years ago, following the advice of my teacher, I used for a while a device identical to the actual Aria guitar rest you can find at GSI. I had no problems with the footstool, but my teacher was adamant it was better.... I never got used to it, I had back pain and was less at ease to play in the upper part... So I came back to my footstool, and my teacher was convinced the real reason of my choice was "conformism"..... :roll:

Footstool is always accused when someone has a back pain, but most of the time it is not the cause. Check your overall posture. Most of the time the real cause is a rotation of the spine, when your hips are not in the same plan than your shoulder...
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Are footstools or supports the standard?

Postby ShaneSingleton » Tue Feb 07, 2012 7:39 pm

Tomzooki wrote:Footstool is always accused when someone has a back pain, but most of the time it is not the cause. Check your overall posture. Most of the time the real cause is a rotation of the spine, when your hips are not in the same plan than your shoulder...


Having suffered numerous back injuries I eventually had to quit using a footrest as it caused inconsistent pressure in the muscles of my posterior because the left leg wasn't level with the right leg. That in turn caused significant pain on my left side. I eventually purchased a dynarette cushion. Now that both of my legs are sitting with my thighs parallel to the floor my back pain disappeared and I can easily practice for 2.5 hours straight without issue.

Incidentally, my friend, who is finishing her masters thesis in occupational therapy, saw me using the footrest and asked how much time I spent sitting like that. When i told her she just said "that's just hip and back problems waiting to happen." When I explained why we use the foot rest, she asked why guitarists don't use a cushion instead because it can put the guitar in the exact same position without forcing muscles of the abs, hips, and low back to asymmetrically adjust for the slight alteration in balance. That's when I decided to buy a cushion. I haven't regretted the decision since. Considering that her entire vocation is based on knowing how the body's muscle groups work with each other, tools, and assistive technology I am inclined to trust her assessment of how a footrest can have negative effects over extended periods of use.
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Re: Are footstools or supports the standard?

Postby Tomzooki » Tue Feb 07, 2012 11:58 pm

ShaneSingleton wrote:
Tomzooki wrote:Footstool is always accused when someone has a back pain, but most of the time it is not the cause. Check your overall posture. Most of the time the real cause is a rotation of the spine, when your hips are not in the same plan than your shoulder...


Having suffered numerous back injuries I eventually had to quit using a footrest as it caused inconsistent pressure in the muscles of my posterior because the left leg wasn't level with the right leg. That in turn caused significant pain on my left side. I eventually purchased a dynarette cushion. Now that both of my legs are sitting with my thighs parallel to the floor my back pain disappeared and I can easily practice for 2.5 hours straight without issue.

Incidentally, my friend, who is finishing her masters thesis in occupational therapy, saw me using the footrest and asked how much time I spent sitting like that. When i told her she just said "that's just hip and back problems waiting to happen." When I explained why we use the foot rest, she asked why guitarists don't use a cushion instead because it can put the guitar in the exact same position without forcing muscles of the abs, hips, and low back to asymmetrically adjust for the slight alteration in balance. That's when I decided to buy a cushion. I haven't regretted the decision since. Considering that her entire vocation is based on knowing how the body's muscle groups work with each other, tools, and assistive technology I am inclined to trust her assessment of how a footrest can have negative effects over extended periods of use.


I can't deny footstool is highly non-ergonomic... :D

But I insist again on the twisting of the spine, because did not explain well my point. At least half classical guitarists twist their back that way, and that may be far more bad for the back than the footstool. Furthermore, if that is the cause of the back pain, the use of another device that let both feet on the floor will not improve a lot the pain. That is why I said to check the posture first
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Re: Are footstools or supports the standard?

Postby Trondis23 » Wed Feb 08, 2012 11:55 am

I used a footstool, but after some years my back started hurting so much that I had to look for an alternative. So I bought a Gitano support. Now I want to get another type of support, because the suction cups falls off quite often. I am not sure if I will get a cushion type or another type of support without suction cups.
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Re: Are footstools or supports the standard?

Postby Tom4103 » Wed Jan 16, 2013 3:32 pm

Just in case it helps anyone else: last year I invested in a Murata Guitar Rest.
I think that it really helped; less back-strain and overall I feel more relaxed when playing,
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