I recently received my 'Murata GR-2B guitar rest' from Strings By Mail and decided to share my thoughts on a guitar support which seems to be rarely seen for some reason.
I'm someone who, like many, is on an endless quest to find a way of holding the guitar that doesn't cause back/shoulder problems. I have over 15 footstools, A-frame, supports, cushions etc. which I have horded over the years in an attempt to find something that alleviates back pain AND is comfortable to play with and have so far pretty much been unsuccessful. Ironically it has been the good ole footstool that has been the best for me, but of course sitting in that position you tire quickly and its not ergonomic, but I do like the height and angle you can get the guitar that way and I'd yet to find a support that put the guitar in that position AND felt stable, until now!
I came across the Murata GR-2B through a friend's suggestion, as he was aware of my back issues and thought this would be a good solution. I'd only ever seen two guitarists using it before on Youtube - Artyom Dervoed and Grisha Goryachev, but what attracted it to me most was the angle it put the neck at, which seemed less steep than other rests dictate, something I personally prefer.
So I thought I'd do a comprehensive pros and cons list for you below. I should say I have the clamp model, not the suction cup one. I figure its much more secure and doesnt damage the polish.
1) Comfort & Playing Position: The fact the rest only attaches to the upper bout means the lower bout can sit at a more natural and adjustable position on your right leg. A lot of other supports attach to both bouts and such it can feel like the guitar is 'levitating' and the guitar can feel quite high up, particularly the Ergoplay Troester. As for the other rests which do only attach to the upper bout such as Gitano, Dynarette etc. yes they do allow the lower bout to be lower, but unlike the Murata, the neck angle is nonadjustable.
The Murata allows you to have a very low neck angle and height if you want, something most other rests don't. It can essentially have a neck angle anywhere between parallel to ground to around 45-50deg.
2) Stability: A big must for any rest is that it must feel secure and stable whilst playing, something I feel many rests fall down on. I've given many concerts using ergoplays and gitano where I've been constantly fighting against the rest sliding down my leg, which is an unwanted distraction to say the least. I think the two biggest problems most rests have when it comes to stability are: 1) once attached, the rest becomes a solid, unadaptive structure, meaning as you sway and tilt whilst playing, the contact point between it and your leg is constantly changing size and position, which leads to slipping. 2) most rests contact your leg via a small strip of fabric going horizontally across the thigh, meaning the resistance against the rest moving side to side on the leg is good, but it is poor for stopping it moving up and down the leg, which is a much bigger issue for me. Perhaps the biggest plus for the Murata then is that it addresses both these issues brilliantly. The rest contacts your leg with a nicely shaped 'saddle', which sits on the leg well, covers a good surface area, has an excellent grippy fabric and most importantly sits lengthways on the leg, stopping it sliding away. Also, the metal support connects to the leg pad via a hinge joint, which means you can rock back and forth whilst playing and the contact area of the leg pad remains the same.
And of course, the four leg clamp unit is as stable and secure as you could ask for with no damage to the polish.
3) Quality: Of all the devices I've seen and used, this is by far the most exquisitely constructed. Like most Japanese products, the engineering and quality of materials is excellent. From the choice of metal to the gripping fabric on the leg rest to the joints, hinges and screws, you can really detect the attention to detail and a well thought out design. I often get the feeling with some other rests they were made by the lowest bidder (the gitano and dynarette in particular) and that they are very overpriced for what they are and whilst the Murata is by no means cheap, for what you get $74 is very reasonable. Also you wont need to fork out for new suction cups when the old ones wear out!
4) Portability: The Murata is extremely portable due to its clever design. As the support rod is detachable from the clamp unit and the leg rest is on a hinge, it can be folded right down so it is flat and will fit in most guitar cases. This is again another plus against many of its rivals, which are bulky and awkward to carry around at times.
1) Limitations: I found a couple of issues in regards to max height and neck angles. Im fairly tall (6'3'') and I have the Murata set to its absolute maximum height. Although Im comfortable, I fear that if I was forced to play on a taller chair I would need something to prop my left foot up slightly so it didnt feel too low, but this is obviously only going to be an issue for taller players.
Though I mentioned earlier one of its plus points being its ability to have a low neck angle, its downside is the opposite in that its not possible to get a steep neck angle. So if you like your guitar to have a steep playing angle this isnt for you.
2) Aesthetics: To be honest, I dont like the look of most supports, and compared to many I've seen the Murata isn't too bad, but it still looks a little bit like scaffolding to me! I personally prefer my rests to be as discreet as possible and perhaps it would have been better if it was all black, just so it drew as little attention to itself as possible, though it would be hard for anyone to miss the big clamp on the guitar!
3) Adjust-ability: This isn't so much of a con as perhaps an area for further improvements. Essentially only 3 things are adjustable: the height of the support rod (and hence the angle of the neck), the angle between the rest and your leg (via forward/backward moving hinge joint) and the placement of the clamp on the guitar (which adjusts its position to your body from side to side and also the neck angle somewhat). I wish there were a few more moveable joints and hinges just to give it that extra level of adjust-ability. I find the fact that the joint where the support rod meets the clamp is fixed at 90deg very annoying, as it means you have to adjust your legs/the position of the leg rest to get certain angles. I also think a 360deg ball & socket joint attaching the leg pad to the support rod would be an improvement, giving more flexibility and dimension for you to move in, instead of restricting you to backwards or forwards.
Overall I'm very pleased and impressed with this rest and for what I'm looking for its probably the best one on the market. I've also experienced little to no back pain whilst playing whilst using it, which is more than can be said for my other devices so it looks promising thus far!
Last edited by Steven Joseph on Sat Dec 21, 2013 1:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Professional guitarist, composer and performer.