Using foot stool vs. Elevating both feet

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

Using foot stool vs. Elevating both feet

Post by James Kelly » Mon Jan 05, 2015 2:20 pm

I have only been playing classical guitar for 6 months and am working on my posture and finding ideal ergonomics for playing.

90% of my playing has been bossa nova/jazz music, and I discovered in videos that Joao Gilberto always propped both feet up about a foot off the ground with a large stool.

I have a left foot pedal and find that raising one leg up is nice for playability but seems to disagree with my back more than elevating both legs. With both legs elevated I have the neck more parallel with the floor than (I assume) a classical player would advise.

I am looking into support cushions like dynarette to allow me to raise the neck of the guitar without having to hike one leg up way higher than the other, although this will force me to get over the psychological anxiety that using a support cushion is somehow weak or cheating, however foolish my reason knows that feeling to be.

My question is if anyone has experience with playing with support cushion vs. without and with boths legs raised vs. with one leg raised. My guess is that jazz and bossa and perhaps other styles that require more rapid chord changes and less complex and long melodies may be more conducive to the neck parallel to floor posture. It is the ideal posture for playability right now for me but I have a feeling I will have to learn a more traditional posture to reduce hunching over and have the ideal set up to play classical pieces.

Thanks for any knowledge and experiences :merci:


Re: Using foot stool vs. Elevating both feet

Post by Musicalwires » Mon Jan 05, 2015 5:57 pm

I use a combination of Dynarette cushion, foot stool and a classical guitar strap. The foot stool is great for left hand while the cushion helps the right hand.
When I am playing chords I prefer playing standing with the strap or with the guitar on the right leg.
Good luck

James Kelly

Re: Using foot stool vs. Elevating both feet

Post by James Kelly » Mon Jan 05, 2015 9:28 pm

Thanks Tom the strap is something I have not looked into but will. I assume you'd have to attach a strap pin to the lower bout of the guitar at least to make that possible. This guy has a cool idea from bassoonists with a lap strap ... pport.html

User avatar
Posts: 3744
Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2012 10:55 pm
Location: Massachusetts

Re: Using foot stool vs. Elevating both feet

Post by bear » Mon Jan 05, 2015 9:46 pm

I experimented with different sitting positions for about a year. Currently I use a straight back wooden chair, I've added a lumbar support and a thick gel cushion (the type normally used on a wheelchair). I have a hospital table that I use for a music stand. I have a footstool and rest my right foot either on the floor or on the leg of the table (which is lower than the stool). I hold the guitar in the "Classical position" but I am able to support the lower bout with both knees when both feet are raised.
2013 Jeff Medlin '37 Hauser 640mm sp
2006 Michele Della Giustina Concert 10 string 650mm ce
2005 Jose Ramirez 4E 650mm ce
2005 Manuel Rodriguez Model C3F 650mm sp
2003 Manuel Rodriguez Model D 650mm ce


Re: Using foot stool vs. Elevating both feet

Post by glissando » Mon Jan 05, 2015 11:01 pm

I've been using a dynarette (with both feet flat on the floor) for just over 6 months. I know some people don't like them, but I find it great. It's comfortable and surprisingly stable. Most of all, I like the fact that it does not require me to attach anything to my guitar.

The only problem is that it's not adjustable, but that really wasn't a big problem for me - I just had to find the right height chair (a couple of hours scouring the local op-shops with a tape-measure in hand was all it took - picked up a nice old chair for $20!).

But, as I said, they're not to everybody's liking. Best bet would be to try one out before you buy if that's possible for you.


Re: Using foot stool vs. Elevating both feet

Post by dbeau » Fri Jan 09, 2015 7:30 am

I've been the route of footstools, dynarette, and attachments but found that versus elevating both feet - what works for me is selecting a lower sitting position. At home i use an adjust right chair and outdoors anything from a bucket, rock, ledge, etc. It sounds odd, but a correct guitar position is easy and my teacher has stated that this method is most often used by him except when in concert where a footstool is used to conform with other members of the quartet. I sit on a short foot stool during a lesson. It's taken 3 years to arrive at this and have been using it for about 9 months and hope this is it - there;s so much more to focus on BUT position is critical to everything else :)

User avatar
Posts: 391
Joined: Sun May 11, 2014 11:13 am
Location: Oslo, Norway

Re: Using foot stool vs. Elevating both feet

Post by tormodg » Fri Jan 09, 2015 1:30 pm

For classical guitar I have used an a-frame for 25 years, but recently switched to a wooden Kris Barnett support. These both let me keep both feet on the floor, but the Barnett support seems better at keeping the guitar steady without slipping.

When I play electric (jazz, chords) I tend to cross my right leg over the left and keep my guitar on my right leg. That brings the neck really nicely under control for me.

Acoustic guitar (mostly fingerpicking, some chords) I also tend to use my right leg to support the guitar, but I usually have both feet on the floor.
2017 Yngvar Thomassen spruce
1994 Alhambra 6P (cedar, battered, broken and repaired)
+ various steel string and electric guitars

Sold: 2014 Alhambra Linea Profesional (spruce)

User avatar
Posts: 1868
Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2012 12:12 pm
Location: Wezembeek-Oppem, Belgium

Re: Using foot stool vs. Elevating both feet

Post by zupfgeiger » Fri Jan 09, 2015 2:19 pm

During the last years I have tried out several solutions. As I have constantly spinal disc problems the footstool is painful. So I switched to the Dynarette some time ago, sometimes with both feet on the ground, sometimes with footstool in a very low position. It's a usefull device, but I find it a bit unstable as my guitar slipped around on the cushion. For a short while I used the Tröster suction cup support which I did not like at all as it caused marks on the sensitive French polish of my guitars and the feeling was unpleasant. Furthermore the suction cups did not stick at all. I gave it up for Chris Barnett's support. Very stable and comfortable with the possibility to adjust position. Definitely A good alternative to the traditional footstool. But, alas, the installation and removal of these extremely strong inner magnets with adhesive strips is really annoying and cumbersome. If you have done it once, you don't want to do it again. As I sell and buy guitars quite often, with this support fumbling will probably be a regular part of my life as a guitarist. Unless I like the De Oro guitar support which I ordered yesterday after having read very positive statements on delcamp.
The secret of getting ahead is getting started (Mark Twain)

Tobias Braun, Santos copy, spruce/yew, 2017
Andrea Tacchi, Enrique Garcia model, Spruce/BRAZ, 2016
Giovanni Tacchi, Daniel Friederich copy, cedar/EIR, 2017

Marty Casey

Re: Using foot stool vs. Elevating both feet

Post by Marty Casey » Sat Jan 10, 2015 1:14 am

I love my new Barnett support and have had little difficulty putting it on and removing it. It is comfortable and so easy to adjust to many different sitting positions edge of seat, back of seat leaning back into the seat and the normal classical position. I use this on two guitars my classical and my Martin D-35.

One issue if you want to call it that is when I am resting on the guitar looking at some sheet music the support can collapse from putting too much weight on it.

I have used a footstool for the past few years and this is my first attempt at a device allowing me to have both feet on the ground. The experience so far has been every positive and recommended. I have had no discomfort with my back but it has only been a couple of weeks. WIth the footstool I would get occasional back pain.

Return to “Ergonomics and Posture for Classical Guitarists”