Woodside Guitar Support Review: Better Than The Murata?

The folks who recently introduced Woodside guitar supports sent one over to us and our reviewer Mark Cohen had this to say: The Woodside support was provided to us free of charge. I could review it only if I wanted to and if I didn’t like it I could say so. I’ve been constantly looking at guitar supports for a long time and I’ve tried everything. This one is very promising. In fact, fantastic.

In a crowded world of guitar supports, here comes one more: Woodside Guitar Support in two variations. Once you decide you don’t want to put up your left foot on the guitar case or a cardboard box, you have to choose a guitar support you like. (We in fact wrote a detailed Review of 7 Classical Guitar Supports not long ago.)

Eric Gruenberg of woodsideguitars.com invented the Woodside. And according to us, this is a clamp-based design that is a marked improvement over any current, comparable model out there.

There are basically 4 categories of guitar supports:

  • Suction cup based (Gitano, Tappert, GuitarLift, Neck-up)
  • Cushions (Guitar Cushion, Dynarette)
  • Magnet based (Sageworks)
  • Clamp based (Murata)

Suction cup based supports are numerous and popular. A major disadvantage with suction cups is that they need a guitar with a non-porous surface. Also, many folks find the suction cups not very reliable. Sooner or later, they refuse to stick and lose their grip and come off. Not a nice thing to happen during a performance, for sure.

Some prefer the simplicity afforded by curved cushions that sit on your left knee and the guitar rests on it at an increased height. The main advantage is cost besides its non-fussy nature – under $50.

Magnet based supports like the Sageworks are hugely popular of late for the vice-like steadiness they provide to the player – and without using any suction cups. While the setup of the magnets for the first time can be quite fiddly, it is a one-time operation and once fixed, you can forget all about it. Fine-tuning the placement afterward is not a practical option, though.

Clamp based design has been there for many years, popularised by the Murata guitar support. Mark Cohen, our reviewer, says:

I used the clamp based design for many years. When I got myself a more advanced guitar with an elevated fingerboard, the Murata support stopped being useful. An elevated fingerboard is one where the guitar top slopes down beneath the fingerboard making the fingerboard appear elevated. For such guitars, the Murata does not fit at all – its clamps need a guitar body with uniform thickness, not a tapering one. Also, even with a regular guitar, I used to find the clamps not quite bending and moving the way i wanted them to. So I used to find the Murata less than perfect for a normal guitar and for an elevated fingerboard guitar, out of the question.

Woodside vs Murata video: Our reviewer Mark Cohen compares

Woodside guitar support highlights

The Woodside support does the things someone like Mark had been hoping for from the Murata. For instance, although the Murata is made from nice, sturdy materials, you cannot fit it into your guitar case. It is a bulky design. The Woodside support fits easily in your case because it can be collapsed down to three smaller pieces. They are easy to disassemble and put together.

A ball joint fits into the base piece like the upper leg joint fits into the hip. You just screw it on. You then insert the rod holding the curved rest into the base. The height is adjustable depending on how much you insert the rod and tighten according to the player’s preference. Says Mark: This may or may not be enough for an individual player. I’m a short guy so this is OK, but if you’re tall or if you prefer the guitar fingerboard to slant at a sharp angle, this play of height may not be adequate for you. Maybe the Woodside people should consider a taller version.

The good news is the Woodside folks have paid heed to this criticism and are offering a separate High Lift Kit (HLK-1) as an add-on to whoever needs it.

Once the height of the support is adjusted to suit you, you fix the clamps to the bottom of the guitar on the upper bout. Here’s Mark again: The Woodside support clamps have been well designed to follow the contours of the guitar perfectly. A clamp is a great way to ‘hold’ a guitar. Remember that this is the part of the guitar that was clamped during the gluing process of the manufacture too.

The clamps have rubber legs so you don’t have to worry about scratching the surface. If you want to be really careful, you can put cling-on vinyl over the guitar and then tighten the clamps over the vinyl. It’s now ready to be placed on the thigh and good to go.

Designed for all-round freedom of movement

Over to Mark: The design is such that I get enormous freedom of movement of rocking the guitar into position practically any which way that suits me – toward the front and back, side to side and countless positions in between. If you want the fingerboard at an angle away from you or pulled toward you, you can do that. It’s the ball joint that enables you to do all the twists and turns as you see fit. It works really smoothly, top quality stuff.

This, in fact, is the major strength of the Woodside support and the main reason we are raving about it. You are not locked into just one position, you can be flexible. The velvet at the bottom of the support that comes in contact with the thigh yields a firm, non-slippery grip.

So there it is, our review of an excellent, new product. We must say we are impressed with the new kid on the block: Woodside guitar support.

A short note on clamps vs magnets

Why do some people prefer magnets over clamps? For the sheer stability that the support provides. Magnets ensure a snug, vice-like fit that keep the guitar in place.

Why do some people prefer clamps over magnets as a basic design? With magnets, you have to get in behind the strings and find the right place to place them. There are various tricks to find the right location and angle but once you do, they are fixed forever, sort of. It’s really hard to fine-tune or adjust the magnets this way or that way once they are in place. You just can’t move them around easily at all.

Secondly, the magnets are very strong so that when you bring the support close to the guitar to affix it, it gets forcefully sucked and slams onto the guitar body. You may not care for such a dramatic impact, especially if you have an expensive guitar. Besides, Mark adds his own quirky reason: This is very personal and not likely to matter to anyone else really. I wear an old fashioned mechanical watch and such powerful magnets can basically ruin it!

Obviously, the choice of a basic design is purely a subjective call. But if your preference is for clamps, we can heartily recommend the Woodside guitar support over anything else.

Where to get your hands on a Woodside support

The Woodside guitar support comes in two variants: 

GS1-SCR: The regular version (with a screw, the one reviewed here) at $90

GS1-REV: The costlier version with a flip lever instead of a screw at $110

Additionally, there is the accessory HLK-1 (High Lift Kit). It’s for those tall folks who may need a greater lift for their preferred positioning.

You can purchase the Woodside guitar support at regular retailers like Strings By Mail and Xguitars but your best bet is to visit the manufacturer’s site – woodsideguitars.com – which carries the latest, updated list of retailers. You can also check out the spec sheets and photos there.

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Happy plucking!

Narayan Kumar

Narayan Kumar is a passionate classical guitarist and an online research buff. He is also one half of the online classical guitar duo DuJu who put out guitar duets regularly on their YouTube channel. Read more about Narayan.

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