5 Chairs Guaranteed To Help You Improve On The Guitar
After watching Jimi Hendrix setting fire to his axe in Monterey and Phoebe Bridgers smashing her six-string during a recent SNL live show, you’d be forgiven for thinking that a guitar is most in peril when you hit the stage. However, the reality is a lot less exciting. For most guitarists (me included), those first heartbreaking scratches and dings come from playing on an unsuitable chair.
That’s right, folks. It’s not rocking out on stage or spinning your guitar over your shoulder à la Yngwie Malmsteen that messes up that pristine nitro or poly finish (as long as you’ve got a decent set of strap locks, that is), it’s sitting on your bum. I know, I know...who’d of thunk? Yet, it’s the truth; the arms of a chair are deadly to guitars!
Not to worry, though, shredder; having dealt with this issue long ago in my own playing career, I’m equipped to help you navigate it with style and ease. Consider this your comprehensive guide to guitar chairs!
Best Chair For Playing Guitar — Reviews
I know you’re just itching to pick up that axe and get practicing, so let’s dive straight into some reviews!
It may have been designed for drummers, but this Gibralter 9608MB performance chair is about as good as it gets for playing guitar.
You can fine-tune the height between 20 and 28 inches to suit your stature, and alter it accordingly as you grow, saving money on future chairs that can instead go towards your dream guitar!
The seat is packed full of high-density memory foam, keeping your behind feeling fine, so you can practice for longer, and the adjustable backrest offers tons of lumbar support, helping you maintain posture and focus on what’s important: your form.
A double-braced tripod keeps the body stable, while the large rubberized feet sure things up on the ground, providing a strong foundation for you to grow as a player.
- Adjustable Height - It won’t need replacing as you grow.
- Memory Foam Padding - Practice for longer in comfort.
- Double-Braced - It’s not going to collapse on you.
- Rubber Feet - Anchors you in place, so there are no motion-based distractions.
- Adjustable Back Rest - Very supportive during long practice sessions.
- Price - It’s not cheap (but it’s worth it in the long run).
Best Budget Pick
If you’re after cozy buns on a budget, you really can’t go wrong with the W85011 from Performance Tool. It’s essentially a stool design, with a little rear lip for some much-appreciated lumbar support.
The generously padded seat doesn’t go amiss either, helping to keep you comfortable as you focus on your fancy fingerwork, and, ultimately, become a better player.
As it’s designed for challenging, workshop environments, the five-point frame is more than sturdy enough to handle the daily shred session, and although the lever is a little flimsy, it’s height-adjustable, so you can set your legs parallel with the floor, and maintain posture.
The swivel function throws a spanner in the works for me, as I like to be still when I practice, but it does give me easier access to the far reaches of my pedalboard — a definite bonus!
- Adjustable Height - Great for a wide range of heights.
- Thick Padding - Keeps you comfy, so you can practice for longer.
- Lumbar Support - It’s not big, but it really helps to maintain posture.
- Five-Point Frame - No wobbling.
- Swivel - The swivel can be irritating during practice.
- Height Adjustment Lever - Feels quite flimsy.
The K&M Stands Performance Stool may not look like much, especially considering the hefty price tag, but the quality of the design is indisputable.
Padded to the nines, the ergonomic seat is capable of relieving pressure on the spine, even without a backrest, and it’s insanely comfortable, so you can play for hours without developing pins and needles in your nether regions.
Not only is the stool height adjustable between 23.6” to 35.4”, the seat itself features tilt adjustability, ensuring you’ll always be able to find the sweet spot, no matter your stature.
Folding down to a very portable unit, it’s great for players that have to travel to band practice, and the long rubber feet provide an incredibly stable base for you to rock out on when you get a riff down with your pals, and you’re ready to add some emotion to your playing.
- Height Adjustable - Your guitar won’t slip off your lap.
- Folds Flat - Makes life easier for traveling session musicians.
- Rubber Feet - Very stable for a lightweight unit.
- Ergonomic Seat - Eliminates back pain, so you can play for longer.
- Price - It’s a lot for what it is.
Best Guitar Chair/Stand
Fender makes some of the best guitars in the world, so it stands to reason that their chairs would be prime for some excellent playing, too.
As if you needed another reason to shirk responsibilities and play guitar all day, the 351’s seat is stuffed with plenty of cush for your tush, and the pick-shaped backrest provides tons of support without encroaching on your playing space.
What’s more, the backrest is detachable, making it easy to transport to a gig or band practice along with the collapsible stool section.
It’s not adjustable; however, the footrest bars do provide a pretty versatile platform for six-string strummers of varying heights.
The gray tweed upholstery with faux leather accents gives this chair a killer look, but the pièce de résistance is the fold-out guitar stand that will save you money on a discrete stand as well as some wiggle room in your practice space.
- Style - Best looking chair on the list.
- Backrest - Offers tons of support while playing.
- Foot Rests - They set your legs at the right angle.
- Collapsible - Easy to get from A to B.
- Integrate Stand - No need to buy a separate stand.
- Zero height Adjustability - Not suitable for all heights.
Best Stool for Guitar Playing
If you’re more of a blues player, you’ll no doubt be drawn to the barstool style of seating for both practicing and playing gigs, so allow me to introduce you to this awesome offering from Taylor.
It’s 24 inches, which is quite tall, but thankfully, there’s a lovely ring footrest for us more diminutive players to take advantage of.
The swivel function can be a little distracting, but it saves time if, say, you’re reading a tab on your laptop to the right, your pedals are in front of you, and your amp’s to your left. It’s as solid as they come, too.
Although I do prefer a backrest on my practice furniture, the seat is loaded with foam, so as long as your natural posture is good, it’s a very inviting prospect, and, of course, the benefit of having only a stool is that there’s nothing to ding your pride and joy on — hurray!
- No Obstacles - Your guitar will be safe.
- Generously Padded Seat - No aches and pains down under.
- Foot Ring - Allows shorter players to get comfortable.
- No Back Rest - Not too supportive.
Best Chair For Playing Guitar Buying Guide
A guitar chair needs to facilitate our best playing, but what chair is capable of such a thing? Well, there are actually a few key features that are guaranteed to help you play better for longer, ensuring you become the guitar god you’re destined to be!
Chairs need to have very specific anatomy if they’re to even qualify for our guitar throne long list.
Arms are your new worst enemy. Sure, they may have been good to you in the past, giving you and your soda a cozy spot to rest in the cinema, but now you’re a guitarist, those days of civility are well and truly over!
If you choose a chair with arms, you’ll constantly knock the body of your guitar into them, scratching the finish, and possibly even denting the wood.
In the past, I tried to play around the arms rather than buying a new chair, and although I managed to save my guitar from death by a thousand dings, it forced me into an insanely awkward playing position. Practicing hurt my back, strained my neck, and made my legs ache.
Needless to say, my mind wasn’t exactly focused, and for that, my playing suffered.
Backrest VS Backless
Much like arms, backrests can be an issue. If they’re quite large, they’re easy to knock into, but don’t give up on them just yet. A reasonably sized, well-shaped backrest can be an amazing addition to a guitar chair.
Something I wish I’d learned much earlier on in my guitar-playing career is the importance of posture. Playing with a straight spine is essential if you want to practice for hours without developing the aches and pains of a much older individual.
The only problem is that, eventually, even with good posture, you’ll start to feel the burn. A backrest supports you when you reach breaking point, allowing you to practice for longer periods of time. It could be the difference to you nailing that Marty Friedman solo in 5 practice sessions rather than 25.
A foot bar isn’t really essential to guitar chair design, as the healthiest posture is to have both feet planted firmly on the floor, but I find it’s nice to hitch your feet a little higher from time to time. A foot bar is particularly handy if the chair lacks height adjustability, but more on that in just a sec.
Cushioning And Comfort
When the guitar bug hits, it hits you like a train. Suddenly, all you want to do is sit down and practice Rusty Cooley-style sweep picking and Zakk Wylde-esque pinch harmonics ‘till the cows come home, but you won’t be able to do so if your chair isn’t comfortable.
A numb bum simply won’t lead to your best work, trust me. Something with lots of supportive yet squishy cushioning is going to be much easier on the tush, and a happy tush leads to longer practice sessions and better focus.
Height is everything when it comes to a guitar playing chair. If a chair is too tall, your thighs will rest on a downward slant, creating a veritable slip ‘n’ slide for your guitar. You’ll have to interrupt your playing every 10 seconds to hitch it back up in your lap.
If a guitar chair is too small, it creates an unnecessary inward slope, forcing the bottom of your guitar towards your body, while the top leans forward. Naturally, you hunch over to regain decent visuals on the strings and frets, inevitably leading to back and neck strain.
If you’ve picked up the guitar at a young age, you’ll need a chair that’s going to grow with you and your abilities, which is why I highly recommend investing in a height-adjustable chair.
Not only will you be always able to dial in the perfect height for you, but your musical guests that come to jam can enjoy a comfortable perch as well.
A flimsy chair simply isn’t an option when playing guitar; there’s just too much at stake. If it collapses, you and your guitar will both pick up some injuries, and if it develops an irritating wobble, you won’t be able to focus on your playing.
As well as a stable build, a guitar chair needs to have stable footing, otherwise, you’ll be slipping all over the place, which, again, is not conducive to your best work.
Some guitar chairs arrive with nifty extra features, such as integrated guitar stands, which would be incredibly helpful for low-key acoustic shows, as you wouldn’t have to pack a separate stand.
Best Chair For Playing Guitar - FAQ's
How Do I Know What Height Chair To Get For Playing Guitar?
Finding the right height chair for playing guitar is all about the angle of your thighs. They should be perfectly flat, providing a stable base for the body of your guitar to rest on.
What Should You Sit On When Playing The Guitar?
A proper guitar practice chair is the only thing you should be sitting on when playing guitar. Of course, you’re not going to be able to take it with you everywhere, but use it wherever possible. It will encourage good posture and facilitate better playing.
Does Playing Guitar Ever Stop Hurting?
Playing guitar hurts the tips of your fingers a great deal at first, but over time, you’ll develop calluses, and, thankfully, the pain goes away.
That said, when you feel your fingertips really start to hurt, don’t push yourself too much further. Playing on can damage the nerves and blood vessels in your fingers.
Your wrist will also get stronger as you develop as a player, so although those barre chords feel like hell now, the pain isn’t forever.
In regard to other aches and pains radiating from the neck or back, unless you’ve been practicing all day, they shouldn’t really be happening, so you’ll need to assess your posture and invest in a good playing chair.
Should I Practice Guitar Sitting Or Standing?
It can be challenging to maintain good posture while practicing guitar sitting down, but it’s much easier on the wrists and shoulders, which can lead to more fluid playing.
I once read an article with guitar legend, Joe Satriani, in which he claimed that he no longer writes songs sitting down, as he can’t replicate the same techniques while standing, which means he can’t play the songs live.
Playing standing up is great practice for, well...playing stood up. If you want to eventually start playing some shows, you’ll need to ditch the guitar chair for at least a couple of hours a day, as playing on your feet is a starkly different feeling.
Ultimately, it’s important that you practice guitar both standing up and sitting down.
How Long Should You Practice Guitar A Day?
You should practice guitar for at least 15 minutes a day if you want to see a steady improvement, but if you really want to be great, you’ll need to push yourself harder.
Guitar virtuoso, Steve Vai, is famously quoted as saying that he would practice 8 hours a day. Of course, you don’t need to follow Mr. Vai’s grueling schedule, but 1–4 hours a day with lots of little breaks will see you improve much quicker.
Best Chair For Playing Guitar - Summing Up
There you have it, fellow finger pickers; 5 of the best chairs for playing guitar you can buy. If you’ve got the cash, I’d highly recommend the Gibraltar 9608MB or K&M Stands Performance Stool, but don’t worry if not, treat yourself to one of the others and get practicing!
If you’re continuing your search beyond my featured chairs, just remember that arms are off-limits, finding the right height is key, and the more comfortable it is, the longer you’ll be able to play, and the quicker you’ll become a certified guitar guru!