How high should a foot rest be?

Ergonomics and Posture for Classical Guitarists, Aches and Pains, Injuries, etc...
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SmurfDaddy
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How high should a foot rest be?

Post by SmurfDaddy » Thu Dec 08, 2016 7:22 pm

Hi forum dwellers,

I have been practicing without a foot rest for some time, but last week I bough myself one.

Is there a ergonomic rule for how high the foot rest should be?

Cheers,
António

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Stephen Kenyon
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Re: How high should a foot rest be?

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Thu Dec 08, 2016 7:40 pm

No rules but my 'rule of thumb' is to elevate the neck so the 4th string tuner is about eyebrow height.
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Steve Kutzer
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Re: How high should a foot rest be?

Post by Steve Kutzer » Thu Dec 08, 2016 9:40 pm

I have one that has 3 levels. I use the lowest level. I find the higher the footstool, the overall strain on my body is worse. It's a funny thing - you wouldn't think this posture would be such a strain. And you certainly don't notice it right away. But hours at a time day after day adds up. I tried supports, but never quite liked them as much.
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Big bird
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Re: How high should a foot rest be?

Post by Big bird » Thu Dec 08, 2016 9:56 pm

Steve Kutzer wrote:I have one that has 3 levels. I use the lowest level. I find the higher the footstool, the overall strain on my body is worse. It's a funny thing - you wouldn't think this posture would be such a strain. And you certainly don't notice it right away. But hours at a time day after day adds up. I tried supports, but never quite liked them as much.
I'm coming to the same conclusions about supports. My experience, I tried the highest setting because many of the pro's seem to do that. I wasn't comfortable, so I tried the other 3 positions until I found the one that was most comfortable. To me, being in a comfortable playing position dictates how high you need to put your foot stool. Good luck!
Last edited by Big bird on Thu Dec 08, 2016 9:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How high should a foot rest be?

Post by doug » Thu Dec 08, 2016 10:53 pm

One thing that helps reduce fatigue for me is to occasionally reverse the foot stool, so that it's sloping away from me.
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Re: How high should a foot rest be?

Post by spanishguitarmusic » Fri Dec 09, 2016 12:13 am

I have actually thought about this myself. I find myself always adjusting the height of the footstool, thinking that a different level would be much better. Currently, I have it set at the lowest level. Depends also on the chair that you're sitting on too.

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Re: How high should a foot rest be?

Post by pmiklitz » Fri Dec 09, 2016 9:11 am

I don't remember where I read it, but the recommendation was to use the setting that most closely matches the length of your hand measured from the tip of the middle finger to the wrist.

Personally, I don't use a footstool anymore, as I prefer to have both feet on the ground, which is less strainful for the lower back.

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Re: How high should a foot rest be?

Post by zupfgeiger » Fri Dec 09, 2016 9:28 am

I use a footstool in lowest position and a (small) Dynarette cushion. As a result the headstock is slightly higher than shoulder level, what I learned how it should be. My teacher often criticizes me for the too high position of my guitar. But I feel very comfortable with it and won't change it.
Last edited by zupfgeiger on Fri Dec 09, 2016 10:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How high should a foot rest be?

Post by pmiklitz » Fri Dec 09, 2016 10:18 am

zupfgeiger wrote:I use a footstool in lowest position and a (small) Dynarette cushion. As a result the headstock is slightly higher than shoulder level, what I learned how it should be. My teacher often critices me for the too high position of my guitar. But I feel very comfortable with it and won't change it.
I also found that the Dynarette alone is not ideal for my body height (1.85 m), so I tried the hybrid solution you mention above as well. Another important factor is the height of the chair. If it's low enough, so the thigh your guitar rests on is inclined slightly upwards, the footstool might not be necessary.

Peter
Last edited by pmiklitz on Fri Dec 09, 2016 12:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How high should a foot rest be?

Post by zupfgeiger » Fri Dec 09, 2016 10:46 am

pmiklitz wrote:Another important factor is the height of the chair. If it's low enough, so the thigh your guitar rests on is inclined slightly upwards, the footstool might not be necessary.

Peter
Absolutely right. My heigt is 1,77 m and I use a piano bench which is slightly (in the lowest possible position) too high to play just with the Dynarette.
Last edited by zupfgeiger on Fri Dec 09, 2016 10:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How high should a foot rest be?

Post by zupfgeiger » Fri Dec 09, 2016 10:46 am

double post, sorry.
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Re: How high should a foot rest be?

Post by Jack Douglas » Fri Dec 09, 2016 2:18 pm

zupfgeiger wrote:
pmiklitz wrote:Another important factor is the height of the chair. If it's low enough, so the thigh your guitar rests on is inclined slightly upwards, the footstool might not be necessary.

Peter
Absolutely right. My heigt is 1,77 m and I use a piano bench which is slightly (in the lowest possible position) too high to play just with the Dynarette.
I bought low seat height chairs for my practice room and use a dynarette cushion. I needed some extra height but the footstool wouldn't go low enough. I got a neighbor to make a mock stool at an exact height and took that to a woodworker who made a single height footstool that I use only in my music room. The combination of cushion and stool is perfect!
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SmurfDaddy
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Re: How high should a foot rest be?

Post by SmurfDaddy » Fri Dec 09, 2016 10:40 pm

Jack Douglas wrote:
zupfgeiger wrote:
pmiklitz wrote:Another important factor is the height of the chair. If it's low enough, so the thigh your guitar rests on is inclined slightly upwards, the footstool might not be necessary.

Peter
Absolutely right. My heigt is 1,77 m and I use a piano bench which is slightly (in the lowest possible position) too high to play just with the Dynarette.
I bought low seat height chairs for my practice room and use a dynarette cushion. I needed some extra height but the footstool wouldn't go low enough. I got a neighbor to make a mock stool at an exact height and took that to a woodworker who made a single height footstool that I use only in my music room. The combination of cushion and stool is perfect!
I actually need a "hard" seat. My living room chairs are about perfect in that regard...

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Re: How high should a foot rest be?

Post by Yisrael van Handel » Sat Dec 10, 2016 5:15 pm

I am now learning Stanley Yates' classical guitar technique Fundamentals (fantastic method). He promotes a relatively high footstool (higher than I learned 50 years ago--Aaron Shearer technique). Yates' guidance is to have the headstock at eye level, and the left hand at shoulder level. I haven''t gotten any further than the very beginning of the book (in other words, I have not gotten to the detailed discussion of left-hand position), but already it looks me that the higher footstool leads to less tension and slightly more reach in the left hand.
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Re: How high should a foot rest be?

Post by souldier » Sat Dec 10, 2016 11:12 pm

There is no real rule as different things work for different people. Just watch the videos of different world class players and you'll see that they all have slightly different neck angle/height. Experiment with different positions and see which one feels the most natural and allows you to play your best.

Also consider chair height as an important factor. I'd also look into using a guitar support. I stopped using foot stools years ago because I start getting pain in my left leg/back. I've found guitar supports to be far more comfortable and healthy for long term use.
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