A guitar support does the dual job of increasing the height of the guitar off the ground (much like the raised left leg on a footstool does) and also changing the neck angle to the floor. A third job required of a support is adjusting the tilt of the guitar towards a player’s chest.
Here are the major guitar supports which are popular and I discuss their pros and cons.
For most classical guitarists, the search for an alternative to a footstool may begin and end here! The Gitano is a tiny sized solution – the smallest of all considered here – and the simplest with minimal adjustments possible to it. You attach it to the bottom of your guitar and you play, that’s it. It uses two suction cups that are reliable to the extent that they can be. And Gitano’s small footprint and foldable design means you can chuck it in your guitar case or put it in your pocket. You’re ready to go anywhere.
This smallest support is 5 1/2” long, 2 1/2” wide and less than 1” thick. Andrew York plays with it and endorses it. It’s been around for quite a while, so it’s been tried and trusted. Its strengths and shortcomings are well known.
With the Gitano, you can adjust the neck angle from very steep to almost parallel to the ground. Where you attach the suction cups on the guitar determines the angle. It is easy to figure out in a couple of tries.
The overall height can be anything from 2” to 7 1/4”, so it should fit most people’s requirements. Again this is easy to figure out in a couple of tries. The fabric strap allows for a tilt towards the player’s chest with a limited leeway.
Overall, these adjustments are quick, non-fussy and nothing elaborate. The simple, ingenious design does not allow for too much of fine-tuning. And in my opinion, this is just fine. You fit it and you play. When you are done, you flatten it out and drop it in your case. Or, even leave it on the guitar for days.
It’s a fairly secure strap for giving stability to your playing. There are no two opinions about it. Here’s Allen Mathews of ClassicalGuitarShed.com reviewing the Gitano:
The only big caveat is that the suction cups can come off – who can tell when exactly that will happen? – and bring your performance program to a dead halt. If you are a performer on stage, you should think twice about a product like this. But if you’re not, it’s a great, cost-effective and non-fussy solution. Even if you are a stage performer, using a Gitano for practice at home or for teaching sessions with students makes a lot of sense.
The other thing I find is if you are very tall, the Gitano doesn’t seem to lift the guitar high enough adequately. For the normal and the short, this is a perfect solution.
So, for non-critical applications, the Gitano is an affordable, surprisingly effective replacement for a footstool with its simple and ingenious design.
Check the price of Gitano at Amazon.
2. Ergoplay Tappert
The Tappert is one of the oldest supports out there. It seems to have been there forever. It is a popular support and to many, including myself, it feels most like a footstool.
It is a tall and wide and gangly piece, nothing like the petite Gitano. It is not foldable and you’ll have to figure out how you’re going to fit it in the case, if at all possible. However, portability or foldable design is not why you buy the Tappert.
You buy for the stability it provides. The height is adjustable with a screw and the neck angle is adjustable with the support’s front leg position. You can get a fairly steep angle if you prefer with the Tappert.
Depending on the neck angle you settle for, you can gain an overall height of 6” which should be adequate for most folks, except very tall people. (For tall people who require more height, Ergoplay has another variant called Troster.)
Ergoplay Tappert comes with two suction cups at the top and one at the bottom of the contraption. The material is metal, so the feel is solid and reliable. Even if the suction cups come off, you are better off with the Tappert for you will be working with gravity and solid metal. It won’t collapse.
Hers’s a user demo of the product.
This is a model that Scott Tennant uses, so we can’t dismiss it easily. A slotted connection between the two halves of the upper bout offers lots of options for tilting the guitar toward you. You also can adjust the height of the upper bout of your guitar.
For left-handed players, there is a separate version.
Like all suction cup based design, there is a problem of causing damage on more expensive guitars, which use French polish instead of lacquer or polyurethane as a finish. The pulling off and fixing of the cups has been known to cause the polish to come off and leave faint but distinct marks on the body of the guitar.
A commercially available solution like Kling-On film can be placed between the body of the guitar and the suction cups to prevent any damage. This product uses a light, non-permanent adhesion. For less expensive guitars, of course, this is a non-issue.
Check the price of Ergoplay Tappert at Amazon.
Look ma, no suction cups!
The Murata guitar support is a good, clean, alternative design that is finding its share of enthusiasts. It uses clamps that hold the guitar securely rather than the ubiquitous suction cups. For most traditionally designed guitars, this is one of the best supports starting with the design itself.
The qualification here is ‘most traditionally designed guitars’. More expensive guitars, those with a raised fingerboard especially, have a soundboard that tapers towards the neck. This makes the thickness of the body variable, larger at the lower bout and smaller at the upper bout. Murata’s clamping system requires that the guitar body is of uniform thickness.
Barring that, the Murata can stake its claim to the top of the charts in terms of stability and height options. It gently clamps to your guitar with four adjustable rubber feet. Nothing is going to come off during performances, so there is that element of security built into it. Also, there is no damage to the finish of the guitar because there are no suction cups to deal with.
With the 3” pole that’s included with the Murata, you get 4 1/2” to 6” of leg lift. You can extend its range with replacement poles of 2” to 8 3/8” that are available separately. With these poles, you can achieve a lift of 3 1/2” to 11 3/8”, which is quite adequate for anyone.
Here’s Allen Mathews with a 3-minute review of the Murata.
A hinge between the pole and the base allows you to rake your guitar the same as a guitar that sits directly on your leg. With adjustable pivots, the guitar can move freely front to back. The molded base that rests on your leg has a fabric lining to prevent slipping.
For all that, it must be recognized that the Murata is bulky and odd shaped. The good thing is the support collapses, making it small enough to fit in most guitar cases. Also, this product works equally well for left-handed and right-handed guitarists.
Check the price of Murata at StringsByMail.
This is a solution that many, including myself, have permanently settled on. No suction cups again. It uses two powerful magnets instead to steadfastly hold the support in place. It is probably the ultimate in providing security to the instrument in your hands.
It is among the more expensive solutions and quite fiddly to get the magnets inside the soundhole to place them accurately. The good part is this is a one-time fixture, so once it is done there is nothing more to do.
Once the magnets are in place, the support attaches to the exact same spot on the guitar each time. It attaches and comes off very easily.
Four separate mechanisms adjust the guitar’s angle, height, horizontal position and tilt from your body. It works for left-handed guitarists without any modifications. A padded, slip-resistant leg rest provides stability. The protective cork pads that attach to your guitar will not chemically react with its finish.
Here’s Josh Rogers of NBNguitar installing the magnets of Sageworks.
You can gain an overall height of 6” at the steepest angle to 7 1/2” at the low angle. All the adjustments for angle, height and tilt can be intuitively altered. It is an ingeniously designed device.
Many professionals prefer the Sageworks and it is among the more modern solutions available. I haven’t heard of anyone reporting any mishaps during a performance. The magnets are crazily powerful. It is also overall a good quality product, very robustly made. It used to be called Barnett supports after the original inventor of the device.
The Umbra model is the cheaper option offering all the functionality of the top end Atlas model which is made of rosewood.
If any support has serious rave reviews from its proponents, it must be the Guitarlift. Among the more recent entrants, it has received widespread attention from pros and amateurs alike. It is an expensive option but it delivers on what counts: stability and comfort.
Unlike the more familiar under-guitar mounted suction cups, this one has four suction cups which adhere to the back of the instrument. With nine mounting hole options per side, this offers a variety of heights and angles to choose from. The cups are rock-solid. For instruments with a semi-porous finish, the GuitarLift comes with four static-cling type pads.
Another perk to the cups-on-the-back arrangement is that it frees the back of the guitar to vibrate more fully than when being held against the player’s body. There’s a 25mm rubber hose that affixes to the base and serves as a wonderful leg rest and anti-slide unit.
You have to do a bit of fiddly experimentation before you get the accurate placements of the suction cups in the exact places. Once that trial period is over, it becomes easy to take the whole contraption for granted.
In fact, a recurring comment from users is how natural it feels to use this support over any other. Even people allowing for a trial period of weirdness and adjustments say how easy it was to get used to it. Another big plus for most is the ability to rock forwards and backwards with this support quite easily. It helps with playing in the higher frets especially.
Below is the official product demo video. It lays out the features well.
There is a clear Plexi model and a black Plexi model. The Plexi plates are 4mm thick. There are four sizes of plates. The video above featuring Stephanie Jones and Karmen Stendler does a good job of explaining the various options. Be sure to watch it to get the hang of what people are talking about.
The maximum lift you can get with the GuitarLift is a more than ample 9”. Equipped with premium suction cups (50 mm diameter), it comes with 4 optional adhesive suction cup protectors.
The size of the GuitarLift makes it awkward to transport, so the suggested way is using the cups to stick it on the outside of a guitar case! Smart.
Check the price of Sageworks (Umbra) at StringsByMail.
The NeckUp has been around for ten years and is a versatile and comfortable option to consider. It is a genuine leather device using suction cups but in a more elaborate way than, say, the Gitano.
It also provides a little more lift for traditional left leg position and NeckUp calls this the Classical model. A 6-inch support arm shifts the balance point toward the headstock.
The leather device allows freedom of movement in many directions. And it actually fits a variety of instruments—from acoustic and classical guitars to ukuleles and mandolins.
Some advantages of the NeckUp:
- You can adjust the guitar neck from level to 45 degrees
- It works for right or left leg placements
- It easily folds up to fit in most guitar cases
For classical guitars, you attach one end with a suction cup towards the back of the guitar (where an endpin would be in a regular acoustic guitar). The other end attaches to the middle-lower bout area with another suction cup. You get two 2 1/2” suction cups and one 1 3/4” suction cup. You can use any two of them and keep the third one as a spare.
Changing your guitar’s angle simply requires adjusting the suction cup’s placement on the bout. Initial adjustments can be time consuming. However, once you find what works, getting the support on and off the guitar is a breeze.
Our fellow classical guitarist Mark Cohen swears by the NeckUp and reviews it for us.
The NeckUp provides between 3 1/2” and 7 1.2” of lift in height. You can tilt the guitar toward you a modest 10 degrees, but any greater tilt may cause the suction cups to come loose.
Certain guitar finishes, like French Polishes, require suction cup protectors like the Kling-On, a product that uses a light, non-permanent adhesion. But that is true of any device that uses suction cups for its design.
Check the price of NeckUp at StringsByMail.
7. Guitar A-Frame
This support has been around a long while, perhaps 20 years or so, and is a variant of the ever-prevalent suction cup based design. It is highly adjustable, though. People who use this do so for the flexibility it gives them. Aaron Shearer recommends it.
With the A-Frame you can separately adjust three different aspects of positioning: left to right, angle, and height. Once you find the perfect position, you can lock everything in place.
Changing positions is a matter of moving the suctions cups or adjusting the length of the velcro strap. You can control the height, angle and lateral positioning of your classical guitar. Also, you don’t have to fiddle with the settings each time you want to affix it. Set the strap length once and it’s simply a matter of attaching the suction cups every time.
Where you attach the A-Frame’s suction cup to the bottom of your guitar determines the neck angle. You can have the neck almost parallel to the ground all the way to a steep angle. By adjusting the strap on the bottom of the support, you can achieve a lift of anywhere between 2 1/4” and 6 1/4”. The strap also allows a full range of adjustments toward or away from the body.
Guitarist David Stevenson does a quick demo of the A-Frame.
For all the versatility it is well known for, the A-Frame folds flat to a size of about 8 1/2” by 1 1/4” by 3 7/8” for easy storage in your case. Removing the A-Frame is easy: simply pull back on the edge of each suction cup and lift it off. It then folds flat and can be stored in your case or even in your pocket.
Certain guitar finishes, like French Polishes, require suction cup protectors like the Kling-on which uses a light, non-permanent adhesion. As is true of all suction cup based supports.
Check the price of A-Frame at StringsByMail.
EDIT: A noteworthy option that came out much after this article was written is the Woodside Guitar Support. It is worthy of your consideration as it solves some key issues that the conventional supports have. See my review on the Woodside support (including a detailed video review by our very own Mark Cohen) before taking a decision.
If you enjoyed this article you can check out our suggestions for a solid, ergonomic chair: Getting your posture right with the right chair.
And for some roomy yet snug guitar cases that mean business, check out our review of 7 great options of flight cases.