A guitar support is what goes underneath the guitar to hold it in the correct playing position. During Andres Segovia's time, everyone used a foot stool. But now, you can choose from hundreds of different supports!
For long-term health, choose a support that puts the least amount of stress on your back, neck, shoulders and hips. This is very important! Unfortunately, I know many classical guitarists who developed back and hip problems after playing for 15 or 20 years. Don't let this happen to you!
You can choose from 3 different types of classical guitar supports - foot stool, strap, or attachable. Read about each one below
The foot stool was popularized by guitarists like Francisco Tarrega, and Andres Segovia. It's very practical, but can cause some serious back posture problems.
Very Secure - The guitar will not move around while you play - especially if you use a gripper.
Easily Adjustable - It's easy to change the height of the foot stool depending on what chair you're using.
Looks Professional - many people like to use a foot stool when playing concerts because it looks very clean and professional.
Bad Posture - of all the guitar supports, the foot stool is probably the worst for posture. When you sit with your leg above a 90 degree angle for a long time, it causes major hip problems. Also, people have a tendency to slouch with a foot stool, which causes back and neck problems. This also restricts the amount of time that you practice.
Limited Adjustability Settings - The foot stool only has four or five height settings. This makes it difficult to make fine adjustments to the height of the guitar.
Limited Height - The foot stool cannot go very high. This is a problem if you have a long torso, or play in a tall chair.
The strap was originally used by lute players in the 16th and 17th centuries. Only recently has it been incorporated into the classical guitar world. A strap is versatile and effective, with a few drawbacks.
Perfect Guitar Position - with a strap, it's easy to get the guitar in the perfect playing position for your individual proportions.
Perfect Posture - the strap forces you to sit with perfect posture - with both feet on the ground and your back up straight.
Very Portable - the strap takes up very little space, so it's easy to fit in a guitar case, or carry around with you.
Minimal Adjusting Required - Once you adjust the strap to your proportions, you don't need to adjust it any more. It will be the correct height no matter what chair you sit in.
Stand Up While Playing! - with a strap, you can stand up and walk around while you play.
Looks Professional - the strap is not very noticeable to the audience when you play, so it looks very natural and professional
Hole in Guitar - To use a strap, you need to drill a tiny hole in the end of your guitar. Many people do not want to do this because they think it will decrease the value of their instrument.
Hard to Secure - the guitar can slide around easily with the strap. You can fix this by using a gripper, rubber band, or ribbon.
Hard to play in certain fretboard positions - with a strap, the guitar moves with your body, so it is hard to adjust your body to play in certain fretboard positions
Shoulder Problems - if you use the strap incorrectly, it can cause some shoulder problems.
Attachable supports are probably the most common type of guitar support you will see today. An attachable support is anything that attaches to the bottom of your guitar - with suction cups, clamps, etc. - to help prop it up. There are hundreds of attachable supports you can choose from, such as ErgoPlay and A-Frame.
Good Guitar Position - depending on the maker, the support is very adjustable, so it is easy to get the guitar in the right position. You can move the guitar up, down, right, or left.
Good Posture - it's easier to sit with good guitar posture, as long as you make sure not to slouch.
No Stress on Hips - with an attachable support, your foot stays flat on the ground, so there is no stress on your hips
Can use with foot stool - you can use the attachable support in combination with a foot stool for even more adjustability.
Falls Off Guitar - attachable supports can sometimes unexpectedly fall of the guitar. This is especially bad if it happens during a concert.
Difficult to Adjust - You need to unscrew some things first, so it sometimes takes 1 -2 minutes to adjust.
Bulky - attachable supports are usually very bulky and harder to carry around.
Looks Unprofessional - many guitarists think that it looks unprofessional to play with a big, metal contraption underneath their guitar.