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  • Writer's pictureGined Lopez Ganem

Mastering Posture: Footstool vs. Guitar Support, Guitar gear chats with Instructor Alberto Puerto

Updated: Feb 16

Recently, our talented student Light Pierre sat down with Alberto for a studio chat.  She wanted to get his take on this gear for guitarists and get a sense of where he is coming from during their lessons.  Here’s a little summary of their conversation:


guitarist holding guitar that has a guitar support attached
Alberto in the studio with guitar support

 

Hi Alberto, so which do you prefer when playing, the footstool, or the guitar support?


Hi Light, this is a good question, Let’s look at some pros and cons, starting with the footstool…


Pros and Cons of the Guitar Footstool


Pros of the footstool


Stability. For me, it feels like a more stable posture, thanks to many years of practice.

The lower body forms a stable base for the guitar, and then I can play with very limited motion in the neck and board of the guitar, since that stability is provided by the body.


Musical Versatility. In this posture, I can create passages and jumps more easily, and I am less likely to make mistakes.  


Longevity. This is a classical technique and posture that can be learned with time and good habits, and I think sometimes new players are surprised by it when I first introduce the instrument to them, but it is a must to try it when players are approaching the instrument for the first time.

 


picture of footstool on the floor in the studio
A recommended footstool in the studio

Cons of the footstool


Challenging for the back. In this posture, the back is not in a relaxed position.  Just like in sports, there has been a lot of discussion about the difficulty of sustaining an asymmetrical seated position, and so, over the long run, it takes time to adapt to this position.


Body dynamics. The body is not in a neutral position because one foot is lifted, that is, one hip is more flexed than the other. Most guitarists should do postural exercises outside of practice to counter this issue with the hips and legs.


Shoulder girdle asymmetry. The shoulders and elbows are also more asymmetrical compared to the guitar support. Once again, this should be countered with postural exercises before or after practice.


Pros and Cons of the Guitar Support


Pros of the Guitar Support


Spinal position is more neutral. With the guitar support, the back is more relaxed given that both legs are on the floor. The seated position is easier to sustain for most players.


Lower body symmetry. Since both legs are on the floor, the lower body feels more relaxed for the player.


Upper body symmetry. The guitar support puts both arms in a similar position, with the shoulders and elbows more equal in their respective positions. This makes for a position that supports long term movement, or endurance if you want to use a sporting term.



A guitar support seen superiorly to classical guitar instrument
Top view guitar support

Cons of the Guitar Support


Less benefit to the player. For me, it does not feel more stable than the footstool for complex pieces.


Less control of the instrument. The neck of the guitar seems to move a little bit more during playing compared to when I use the footstool.

 

My overall Guitar Gear takes & TIPS


Context matters. Both the footstool and the support are good, it just depends on the context.  When I need to practice for long bouts of maybe 3-4 hours, I often use the guitar support.

In a public concert performance, I prefer the footstool because I feel more stability in the instrument and prefer to use my posture to support the guitar.


For guitar students: Overall, I believe students should learn to use the footstool as a fundamental method, and then they can implement the guitar support once they have acquired greater skill in the left hand such as proper slur techniques and basic bar techniques, and once they have a relaxed left hand.


Gear tips: For those interested, here's the link to the video , a link to a recommended footstool and to a vetted guitar support. (We do not receive commission on these links.) See you at the next studio chat!


classical guitar student and instructor smile in the studio
Alberto Puerto and author Light Pierre in the studio


 

 

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