If you are an acoustic player, performing with a guitar
or banjo, you may be aware of how uncomfortable and
problematic it can be when the height of your stool or chair
is different from what you are used to. If you are not
using a strap - and you shouldn’t need to if you are sitting
- you may have found that your instrument slides off your
knee. This happens when the thing you are sitting on lifts
you up high enough that your thigh is no longer horizontal.
When this problem occurs on stage it can throw you off your
game, or at least be an irritant.
This situation can be exacerbated by
wearing new stage pants that are of a smooth fibre allowing
your instrument to slide away from you now that your knee is
lower than your hip. A quick fix, if you notice the problem
in time, is to just put your key ring in your pocket and it
will provide a lump that hopefully will stop that sliding
Another issue that may adversely affect the sitting
musician is if you arrive at a gig to find that the
only chairs they have are chairs with arms, giving you no
room to hold your instrument in the position you are
accustomed to. Perhaps you always play sitting on a high
stool with a foot support and you arrive at a gig only to
find that they have nothing at all like that. At one time I
used to ask for the proper stool in my rider. Supplying a
full description with dimensions and photographs only to
arrive and be told,
“Oh, we thought that this would do just as well.”
is to bring everything that you
intend to use on stage with you. Leave nothing out with the
assumption that “they will have one”. This way there are no
surprises that can throw you off. You won’t have that
feeling gnawing away at you, making you think that things
just don’t feel right on stage.
So yes, bring something to sit on. Use it every time
you play, even if you are just “sitting in”. Use it during
rehearsals especially so that your on-stage feel is just
what you anticipated.
Let’s look at the options: Carrying a chair or stool
will really become cumbersome. What you really want is
something that will fold up and carry as easy as possible.
That problem was solved years ago in the percussive world of
I use a drum stool myself. You can adjust the
height, select the amount of padding you will be comfortable
with and even go for one with a back support if you like.
The back support makes them a bit bulkier in transport but
once you are sitting in it the choice will feel worthwhile.
If you are using effects pedals always bring a throw rug
with you in case the stage is not carpeted, otherwise you
may find your pedals sliding away from you. Just put one or
more of the stool legs on the carpet to anchor it and you
are all set.