Guitar Accessories for Ergonomics

In Make Your Guitar More Ergonomic, I discussed some general ways to address issues of weight, balance and playing effort in an existing guitar. The following list of guitar accessories further illustrate how a guitarist can improve the ergonomics of a guitar with a minimum of effort.

Below is the Planet Waves Dare Guitar Strap. It distributes weight across both shoulders reducing strain on the back, shoulders and neck.

Dare Guitar Strap Front

The Slider Strap, seen below, provides similar benefits. Designed like a harness, it should provide even better weight distribution by distributing weight across the back and shoulders.

Slider Guitar Strap

Supports also exist to aid the guitarist while playing in a sitting position. These devices benefit the guitarist in several ways. First, they place the guitar neck at a more ergonomically efficient angle. This allows the guitarist to relax more fully as there is less effort involved in keeping the guitar in proper position. Second, they eliminate the need for a footstool. The use of a footstool acts to twist the spine which can lead to lower back pain. Instead, the guitarist sits easily with both feet firmly on the floor. Third, these supports allow the user to sit with a healthier upright posture, which aids breathing and reduces stress.

The most basic of these is the Dynarette cushion seen below. It is available in two sizes. It is a simple yet elegant solution. However, other support devices allow for greater adjustability.

Dynarette Neck Up Ergonomic Cushion

One such device is the NeckUp Guitar Support seen below. It is available in two different sizes – a narrower version for electric guitars and a wider version to accommodate acoustic guitars. The NeckUp’s angle is adjustable and it attaches to the guitar with suction cups.

Neckup Guitar Support

Another support is the Ergoplay. It also attaches with suction cups but it’s even more adjustable. Not only does it allow for changes in neck angle, it also allows the guitarist to angle the guitar toward or away from the body.

Ergoplay Guitar Neck Up Support
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13 Responses to “Guitar Accessories for Ergonomics”

  1. Eeek – guitars hurt. I’ve been thinking about RSI for musicians a lot recently, and it’s really surprising that I’ve never had any hand pain at all from years of playing the piano (no matter how much I bash the thing, and boy, do I bash), but just five minutes playing the guitar can completely screw up the back of my left hand for days – maybe I don’t practise guitar enough, but it sure is painful. I wonder how the Claptons and Knopflers get round it – really intense warm-ups?

    1. One of the problems with RSI is that different people have different thresholds for developing it. Some may never develop it while others may be susceptible for it. Some may have a physical disposition. Others may be constantly exposed to repetitive activity. In my case, I’m an IT professional. I spend the bulk of my day at a computer.

      There are certainly warm-ups one can do but there are other factors as well. Technique is a huge part of it. An instrument that fits the individual is another. I’ve also read several articles indicating that strength is an issue as well – building strength may make the person less likely to succumb to RSI. Its a complicated health issue with no one easy answer. I plan on following up shortly with a post detailing some of the various methods I used and continue to use to bring my own RSI under a semblance of control.

  2. great suggestions for the guitars we already own!

  3. I can’t seem to source any of those ErgoPlay things. I was thinking that one could be easily retrofit with other hardware than the suction cups and modified to be a replacement for the typical “Steinberger fold-out leg” on a smaller Steinie-type build.

    1. GregP – I was thinking along the same lines! The foldout leg support on the Steinbergers and their clones (I own a Hohner) actually works remarkably well especially if you hold the guitar in classical position. It would really be fantastic if it could tilt toward or away from the body as well. One source I came across for the Ergoplay is XGuitars – this link will take you straight to their section on supports and stands.

  4. Blogs like this make the 7 years it took to get the DARE(TM) strap to a world-wide level worth it. Thank you Robert Irizarry for your work, it was my own personal repetitive stress injuries that forced the DARE(TM) strap in to the musical world.

    Troy Dare
    Inventor of the DARE(TM) strap

    1. Troy – Thank you for stopping in. It is a pleasure to hear from someone who has tried to make a difference. RSI is a serious issue. Unfortunately, we’re still at a point where most of us only become aware of RSI once we’re suffering from it.

  5. […] Through Building The Ergonomic Guitar, I explore ergonomic guitar designs, document my guitar making efforts and cover ways that existing guitar models can be made more ergonomic. […]

  6. hey

    i get RSI aswell abit in the back of my hand, i find warming up help, shake your hand about a bit, a bit of streching is good, it only take 40 seconds – 1 minute

    also and it may sound strange, but i if u play with a watch, take it off, it help currulation and stuff, its sorta helps but no long term cure…i hear that icing it help too, i’m going to try that soon anyways

    hope it helps, post me for comment please, i would like to see if its only me

    thanks

    1. Welcome to the site, Peter!

      Those are all good tips and icing does help. There’s an inflammation factor involved in RSI and reducing this inflammation helps to reduce pain and long term effects.

      I think you’ll find the following article helpful –
      Eight ( 8 ) Ways to Combat Repetitive Strain Injury ( RSI ).

  7. Hey guys, great info. Out of the two straps, The Slider and The Dare, does anyone have any personal preferences? Which one do you think would be best for a player with RSI? Thanks a lot.
    Mike Ryan

    1. My take on them is that they would both do well. However, the Dare Guitar Strap appears significantly easier to get in and out of. The Slider is basically a harness.

      Also, the Dare Guitar Strap was being carried at some of the mega guitar stores so you’d have an opportunity to try it.

  8. […] Guitar Accessories for Ergonomics […]