My Ergoplay and why I cant use a foot stool

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

My Ergoplay and why I cant use a foot stool

Post by Mahayes » Mon May 18, 2009 6:04 am

So its been an entire semester since Ive been able to use the foot stool due to severe and I cannot stress enough when I say SEVERE back pain. I have been using my ergo play ever since. But I feel like a part of me as a musician is missing now that I cannot use the foot stool anymore. Firstly, I think that my playing is better with the foot stool as the guitar feels more stable and my left hand is not in an elevated position which causes the blood in my arm to have to work harder to circulate. Anyway, I only know of one famous player who uses this device and it is Goran. This also discourages me. Any advice anyone? It would be much appreciated.

suicas

Re: My Ergoplay and why I cant use a foot stool

Post by suicas » Mon May 18, 2009 12:59 pm

I started using one a while ago too, after my back started hurting a bit after long periods of playing (only minor pain, but I thought it best to try and stop it earlier rather than later).

When I first started using an ergoplay, I hated it, and it felt unstable, everything felt wrong. I ended up going back to the footstool a lot.

After a while, I suddenly became used to it. It now feels a lot more stable than when I'm using a footrest, and I have no back pains whatsoever. It feels horribly unsteady when I go back to using a footstool now.

It did take a while to happen though, and took quite a bit of adjusting of chair height and ergoplay settings to get right.

There are also plenty of other similar tools around which do a similar thing, so it might be worth giving those a go if you're not having any luck with the ergoplay.

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oski79
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Re: My Ergoplay and why I cant use a foot stool

Post by oski79 » Mon May 18, 2009 2:15 pm

It sounds to me like your objection is based more on how it looks than how it feels. If you can't play without pain without it, then it seems to me the choice is clear, regardless of how it looks or who else uses it. What's the point in "looking right" by using a foot stool if you can't play for more than a few minutes without pain? (And, by the way, Goran is NOT the only top guitarist who uses a suppor of some kind.) Sure it feels different than a footstool, but it's a big change. I'll bet you'll get used to it.
“People may say I can’t sing, but no one can ever say I didn’t sing.” --Florence Foster Jenkins

Hunt-man

Re: My Ergoplay and why I cant use a foot stool

Post by Hunt-man » Mon May 18, 2009 2:16 pm

What model Ergoplay do you have?

I bought the troster because it was adjustable. I can't get it quite as low as I would like and I'm about to modify it, but I hate to cut it up. They have constructed it so you could have the guitar touch your nose... way to much upward height adjustment, IMO.

The only other thing I have to watch is the angle of my right hand to the strings. The Ergoplay causes my right hand to be more perpendicular to the strings. I was able to adjust some of that out by dropping the height of the neck. My nails hook a little bit so I am sensitive to the angle.

I don't miss the foot stool. I feel so much better when I play now.

Mahayes

Re: My Ergoplay and why I cant use a foot stool

Post by Mahayes » Mon May 18, 2009 6:13 pm

oski79 wrote:It sounds to me like your objection is based more on how it looks than how it feels. If you can't play without pain without it, then it seems to me the choice is clear, regardless of how it looks or who else uses it. What's the point in "looking right" by using a foot stool if you can't play for more than a few minutes without pain? (And, by the way, Goran is NOT the only top guitarist who uses a suppor of some kind.) Sure it feels different than a footstool, but it's a big change. I'll bet you'll get used to it.
Thankyou, and yes your assumtions are quit accurate. I didnt like the ergoplay at first because of the way it looked. But now I think Im getting over that. And yes, I cannot play for more than a few minutes, 20 at best, without getting very bad pains in my neck and back, and I am only 24. I am not tensing so I cannot figure this out. Anyhow, my discouragment lies in the sole fact that I think that I play better without it. However, I will have to get over this and overcome. I have noticed, however, that my Weiss and other baroque pieces have improved while using the ergoplay, tappert design, because of the elevated neck. :)

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oski79
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Re: My Ergoplay and why I cant use a foot stool

Post by oski79 » Mon May 18, 2009 6:18 pm

Mahayes wrote:
Thankyou, and yes your assumtions are quit accurate. I didnt like the ergoplay at first because of the way it looked. But now I think Im getting over that. And yes, I cannot play for more than a few minutes, 20 at best, without getting very bad pains in my neck and back, and I am only 24. I am not tensing so I cannot figure this out. Anyhow, my discouragment lies in the sole fact that I think that I play better without it. However, I will have to get over this and overcome. I have noticed, however, that my Weiss and other baroque pieces have improved while using the ergoplay, tappert design, because of the elevated neck. :)
Well, I do agree with you--I'm not nuts about how they look either. It's just a really inelegant looking solution. I use a Gitano, which is less intrusive, but gets me to a comfortable position. Regardless, it is being able to play comfortably that is the important thing. Soon you won't give it a second thought.

Cheers,

o79
“People may say I can’t sing, but no one can ever say I didn’t sing.” --Florence Foster Jenkins

GuitarVlog

Re: My Ergoplay and why I cant use a foot stool

Post by GuitarVlog » Mon May 18, 2009 6:22 pm

I'm a very happy Ergoplay Troster user. Solid, steady, fully adjustable, and very comfortable. When I feel great I play great. :D
Mahayes wrote:Anyway, I only know of one famous player who uses this device and it is Goran. This also discourages me.
Martha Masters and Scott Tennant use guitar supports. I've seen others but can't recall their names. Paco Pena was reported as using a wooden guitar support at a performance. That's very untraditional for a flamenco guitar player.

As the new generation of players starts to come in, I would bet that you will see even more of these guitar supports in concert use. They seem to be most popular with either the younger set ("Cool ergonomics!") and the older set ("Save my aching back!"). :lol:

GuitarVlog

Re: My Ergoplay and why I cant use a foot stool

Post by GuitarVlog » Mon May 18, 2009 6:33 pm

Oh, yeah, Eliot Fisk uses one too.

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Re: My Ergoplay and why I cant use a foot stool

Post by hesson11 » Mon May 18, 2009 10:28 pm

I've never tried the Ergoplay, but I have tried the Gitano. I found it rather unsteady. Then I tried a large Dynarette cushion and found it much more stable. It, too, took some adjusting to, determining just the right positioning against both my leg and the guitar, but now it is very stable. If the Ergo continues to give you problems, you might try the Dynarette.

-Bob

Trev

Re: My Ergoplay and why I cant use a foot stool

Post by Trev » Tue May 19, 2009 11:05 pm

I have come to the conclusion that no method of supporting the guitar in the proper position is perfect. The footstool offers great stability, but the raised leg can lead to back pain. The Dynarette won't harm a French polish finish, but it has a tendency to shift and get warm on the leg. The ErgoPlay is very stable and offers a wide range of adjustments, but it looks clunky and has to be taken off to put the guitar into its case. The Gitano is more discreet and folds nicely, but it tends to flex a bit while playing, making the neck a moving target. Unfortunately, I know these things because I have tried them all.

I have recently come to the conclusion that using a few different methods to raise the guitar into the proper position is the way to go, rather than making a rule that I will only use one method. These days, I generally alternate between a footstool and an ErgoPlay Troster. I still like to use a footstool, but the Troster helps me out greatly on days where my back is sore from other activities.

I also wanted to add a few comments about the ErgoPlay Troster. I chose the Troster specifically because of it allows for a wide range of adjustment (a solid endorsement from @GuitarVlog helped as well). Before buying it, I read several posts which suggested that it raised the guitar too high, and I found that to be true myself when I first started using it. For me, the key to overcoming this feeling was to make use of the moveable suction cups instead of the two large adjustment knobs and the sliding brackets. By changing the position of the suction cups within the slots they sit in, you can make a fairly significant change to the angle of the fixed metal pieces that attach to the cups, which in turn changes the height. I can't guarantee that this will work for everyone, but it's worth a shot if your Troster feels too high.

Olarte

Re: My Ergoplay and why I cant use a foot stool

Post by Olarte » Tue May 19, 2009 11:40 pm

Trev wrote:The Gitano is more discreet and folds nicely, but it tends to flex a bit while playing, making the neck a moving target. Unfortunately, I know these things because I have tried them all.
I agree about the Gitano I own one, but the Tenuto support is a huge improvement over the Gitano. IT uses the same concept but is much more stable, does not flex\squeak, has an adjustable strap, and bracket and feels very comfortable to play with. I almost forget it's there.

I'm tempted to get a 2nd one as a backup for the future, since they are made by hand and only sold via a guitar dealer in Canada. *** The forum is entirely free and free of advertising, commercial online sites are boycotted ***.com. It simply is that good.

lil_clair

Re: My Ergoplay and why I cant use a foot stool

Post by lil_clair » Wed May 20, 2009 12:20 am

i dont like those ergo things. ive had a few students turn up with one saying they have back or shoulder pain from using a foot stool or they cant grip the guitar properly. usually the pain or feeling of instability is because they have the foot stool too high or some other postural problem. i think some people are too quick to go and buy a gadget to fix a problem when there is an easy fix. often the ergo thing doesnt make a difference because they are still holding the guitar incorrectly with pressure in all the wrong spots anyway.

but do what you have to do mate. if yr back hurts and youve analysed your posture and tried everything with the footstool maybe its the only way for you. good luck solving yr problem.
thats my 2 cents.

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Re: My Ergoplay and why I cant use a foot stool

Post by Michael Collings » Wed May 20, 2009 3:33 am

The Ergoplay is one of the best purchases I've made. I'm always amazed when I see most professional guitarists using a footstool. I certainly would never say that Segovia, Barueco the Assads or any of the greats are silly for using a footstool, but I wonder if their physiques or temperments allow for this device more than thier ability to "adapt" to it. I also wonder how many potentially great guitarists have had to quit due to the pains you speak of (which I am very familiar with too!)

Mahayes

Re: My Ergoplay and why I cant use a foot stool

Post by Mahayes » Wed May 20, 2009 4:11 am

I should have metoned this earlier. I do also get back pain while using the ergoplay, but it just does not come as quickly as when I am using the foot stool. While using the foot stool I get neck and back pain simutaneously however while using the ergoplay, my pain is just mostly centered in my back, in the middle. I cannot figure this one out guys as Ive been to a yoga instructor and a back doctor who I have stopped going to because it seems like he just wants to keep making appointments for extra cash. I do not trust many doctors like this. Anyways, I need help.

GuitarVlog

Re: My Ergoplay and why I cant use a foot stool

Post by GuitarVlog » Wed May 20, 2009 4:12 am

phonomet wrote:I certainly would never say that Segovia, Barueco the Assads or any of the greats are silly for using a footstool, but I wonder if their physiques or temperments allow for this device more than thier ability to "adapt" to it.
Many of the current guitar supports were, of course, not invented when these players were in their early years.

The most well-known historical guitar "supports" were used by Aguado and Sor. Aguado used a tripod attached to the lower bout and Sor rested the upper bout on a table.

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