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Advice wanted on stabilizing guitar while playing (fingerstyle, not classical)

I find that I play fingerstyle guitar the best when I am sitting on my
bed or on a couch. I've realized that having the bout of the guitar (I
play the Leo Kottke signature model Taylor guitars- both the 6 and
12-string models) resting on the mattress or cushion anchors it in
effect, preventing it from moving around as I play. When I am sitting in
a regular chair, and the bout of the guitar is not resting on anything,
the intstrument tends to move around a bit, especially during chord
changes that span different positions (i.e., first position/fret to
seventh position/fret). This makes playing more difficult that it need
be, since I am struggling to regain balance and equilbrium of the
instrument while moving around the fretboard. Basically, I want the
instrument to stay anchored while I play.

I used to play classical guitar, in both the conventional classical position (left leg raised) and with an A-frame ( and found that, even if I would move my left/fretting hand or
right/picking hand, the guitar would stay still enough that I wasn't
having to regain equilibrium.

One idea I've considered is affixing a sticky velcro strap on the underside/inner bout of the guitar, so that it will
literally stick to the fabric of my pants. What makes that seem a bit
awkward though is the fact that, to get it to work, I might need to put
the other velcro (or whatever it's called) strap, the one that locks in,
on my pants. Having a velcro strap on the front of my pants on one leg
at thigh level would just be weird though...I don't want to attain that
level of fussiness.

So...ideas? How do fingerstyle players who play in the seated position "lock in"  or secure the guitar so that it
doesn't shift around while playing?

I have read about but not tried the NeckUp Guitar Support device (

and the Gitano Guitar Support (this looks more designed for classical players:

PS- This problem happens to me even when I have my right foot elevated, and it is partially dependent on the type of pants I am wearing. Really smooth pants cause the guitar to be more likely to move around in between fretting notes. So, it's not an issue of elevation, but of stability.


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Try rubber pants.


It's not an unusual problem. I have a tendency to cross my legs, which puts the guitar in the right position but also results in my leg falling asleep after a while...
It's no wonder that classical guitarists use those little stools to put a foot on; they tend to be much more concerned with "embrochure" (body position) than do most guitarists.

A fairly usable idea is just to use a strap. It may seem funny to wear a strap while seated but it actually works quite well.
I use a guitar strap even when sitting keeps the guitar from moving
It sounds like you might benefit from using an armrest on your guitar so your picking hand arm can control a little more of the movement by reducing it and holding the guitar a little vloser to your body.
And maybe some more practice in a standing postion to help you control the excess movement, there is really no magical solution other then just more work while sitting/standing or whatever postion you are in.
But between your two hands and arms you'll need to find that right spot that helps you stabalize yourself and the guitar and that just means more work for you to do at this point.Ship
You might look at different guitars to like a Manzer ( wedged body ) or something along those lines?or a smaller bodied instrument.and you might have gotten lazy with sitting on the bed or a cushion to help you stabalize.
I do use a guitar strap half the time while sitting.

You need to focus on anchoring the guitar in position so your fretboard hand thumb is applying pressure to the back of the neck and your fretboard fingers are creating the opposing pressure to the thumb. I tend to place the guitar on my left leg and use a foot stool or sit my left foot on top of the side of my right foot. With a folding chair I will rest my left foot on the left front of the chair leg which is usually at an angle.

I should also mention finding the right chair contributes quite a bit being able to position and anchor a guitar. I've gone through quite a few seating options looking for something that works well. The folding chair seems to work well. I picked one up that has a padded seat and back rest from BJ's.

Also, I find sitting close to the front of the chair helps a bit as well. This gives you an open space around you and it helps to sit up straight as well. It can seem awkward at first but you begin to feel an improvement in control. One thing I have noticed is there are muscles you will use in any new position that have not been used in this way. So you tend to have some aches after extended periods of practice. Over time this starts to go away as the muscles gets used to this and build tone.


Two things I have tried and still use one of the two. One is to get that perforated rubberized shelf liner,(comes in a roll) An instructor i met uses that. The other thing i did was peel the soft fabric off a mouse pad and just use the rubber backing to rest my guitar on. Both of these keep it from moving around.  Dan

Good idea, although I'd be concerned with it reacting with the finish of the guitar.  I guess checking with the manufacturer would help curb that.

i have that same problem, its pretty annoying. i play fingerstyle as well and i have to be sitting down, my guitar used to move around quite a bit but over the years i created a (bad)habit of holding the body in place with the pinky and ring finger of my right hand. ive been criticized for this to no end, but its comfortable and it works for me. heres an example one guy i know used to carry around one of those caps you put on your head while swimming, it was rubber and he cut it in half and kept it in his case. 

Great suggestions, folks, especially the rubberized shelf liner and rubber swim cap. Anchoring with the pinky and ring finger is definitely out- I use my ring finger to play and anchoring the right hand is unnecessarily limiting (the optimal state of the hands is kind of that of "dynamic relaxation" which anchoring it would mess with, plus it's helpful to be kind of floating above the strings so I can move my hand upwards or downwards, to bring it closer to bass or treble strings). I've tried a strap but didn't really enjoy it, so maybe the shelf liner or rubber cap will help. Thanks!


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