Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Performing sitting down

Recently, I decided that many of the playing jobs I am getting allowed for sitting rather than standing during performance (restaurants, coffeehouses and such), and I am all for being relaxed as I play. So I went looking for a good, folding, portable stool that was high enough to have me nearly at standing height as I play. Here are some of the stools I found:

These stools all seemed interesting and a few of them actually acted as a guitar stand to boot. What I was looking for was a high bar stool (seat at approximately 30" off the floor), that was relatively lightweight to carry, would fold up and would be inexpensive (I needed to purchase 4 of them).

Most of the above were under $100 each, however only the first one reached 30" or higher for the seat. Also, it was questionable as to how flat some of the above would fold. The all wood model was well out of my price range!

So after some more research, I found this:

These are made by IKEA. The seat is at 29.125" (high enough). It weighs just under 13 lbs. The seat and back are painted, bent plywood while the frame is steel.

I weigh 200 lbs and am 6 feet tall. It seems pretty sturdy to me. Shifting my weight around while sitting does not cause much movement of the chair. The seat locks down when fully open. Best of all, they are about $40 each and from the construction, they look to be easily repairable if anything were to break (loss of a screw or loosening of the back/seat…etc).

The foot rest is lower than is usable if you like to have your foot up high enough to keep your leg/thigh at parallel to the floor (to rest the guitar on). But the foot rest does work nicely to help keep you on the seat comfortably with your guitar/instrument hung from your shoulder with a strap.

I probably lose a few inches in height when compared to my standing height of 6 feet (I am probably closer to 5" 9" on the stool), but for the shorter members of our group, the stool makes them slightly taller. Certainly, when playing for a room of folks sitting at the standard chair height of about 16", we are easy to see and hear while sitting on these stools.

Does anyone else sit while playing and what do you use?

Interesting subject, to me anyway. I have not played standing up for over nine years or maybe longer. I like to think I’m done standing and performing. I have six guitars and not one guitar strap. I have been playing the acoustic duo thing for this time of sitting. For the last two years I have been playing with a guy who was playing both full band and acoustic solo. Due to health limitations he can not stand and play any more. Incidentally, although we knew each other for 30 years we never knew we were the same age with our birthdays less than a week apart. (we are both getting old :wink: ) Where I am going here?? Just saying we sit and we/I will be sitting for some time.

At most of the Pub/Bar jobs we play we can use the house stools. (they provide us with two high bar stools). For the venues that don’t have 'em, I bought two of the 24" round stools you see in AMS or Zzounds. They suck to put it bluntly. They are too low and back breaking uncomfortable for me after 3 to 4 hours of playing. I have looked at some of the stools you have shown in the pics and even sat on one in a store some time back but have never used one long enough to give a good opinion. You are right. Height is real important. Folding stools are real nice if you don’t have a ton of extra room for hauling your “stuff” but I think the folding stools sacrifice some level of comfort when compared to a nice bar stool with a little back support.

Stay tuned next week when we discuss bending notes while swiveling on your bar stool!!! :laughing: :laughing:

I guess I have to say this… their has to be some good stool sample jokes in this subject. sorry :smiley:

Yep, the folding stools I purchased are definitely not the most comfortable. You are sitting on bent plywood and frankly, it is a hard surface. However, for 3 or so sets, I can certainly put up with a hard surface and knowing my wife, she will probably find a way to attach a soft pad to the seat. And at my age, there is nothing like a comfortable, soft stool. (rim shot) :laughing:

I can still stand okay for a reasonable amount of time, but I much prefer playing sitting down because of the stability of the instrument and also I can relax my body while I play (I play much better relaxed).

I don’t have a decent stool joke, but I do have a funny one about aging.

An elderly man was reminiscing about a hotel that he and his wife had visited during his long marriage. It was a hotel near the shore that they particularly liked.
“On our 10th anniversary, we went to the Seaview hotel because it was such a romantic location.”
“On our 25th anniversary, we went to the Seaview because their seafood restaurant served delicious food.”
“On our 50th anniversary, we went to the Seaview because it was wheel chair accessible…”
“…and on our 60th anniversary, we went to the Seaview because we had never been there before.”

How much was the wood one? I like the looks of it.

Sorry, no stool joke comes to mind.

— Begin quote from "mreisz"

How much was the wood one? I like the looks of it.

— End quote

It is only $893. The $3 is for the cost of the finish used. :blush:

Since I needed 4 of them, he might have dropped the cost of the finish from the price… :laughing:

I played today with the new IKEA stools, they worked out quite well. I found that they are pretty comfortable to sit on and they are very comfortable to partially sit on (with butt on the stool and one foot on the floor). Either way, I feel pretty relaxed while playing. And again, a relaxing stool is a good stool indeed…

Wow! 893.00 I find that to be shockingly high. I would have guessed about 885.00 or 887.00 never 893.00 :laughing:

I really want to order two of the Ikea stools and probably will. One question about the sturdiness though. I am just a little taller than you and weigh in at 230 lbs. Not really worried about me but my partner is at least 100 lbs heavier than myself.
Do you think 350 lbs is pushing it? I know you can’t be definitive with your answer. If you don’t say “no way will they ever hold that kind of weight” I’m gonna grab two of them. Let me know what you think. For less than 100 for two they are pretty nice and I really like the way they fold up.

Thanks Doc!

350 huh…

I am 200 and it feels sturdy enough… …enough.

I think if you are talking near twice that weight, I would look for something extremely sturdy and not worry so much about the “fold up” part. The smart money would be to go to an IKEA and try one out, that’s what I did. The closest to you would be the one in Pittsburgh (which is quite a hike), nearly an hour and a half each way.

What concerns me is that the IKEA stools have legs that attach to each other toward the middle (with a riveted pin) and are at an angle to the floor while holding the weight to the person sitting (not the strongest construction). If I was looking for more strength in a folding chair, I might look for a chair that has legs that stand perpendicular to the floor (straight up and down) for the most strength for handling weight. Something like these come to mind…

or like this:

I say this because a few years back I was pushing 240 and while at my sister’s house for a Christmas party, I sat on a chair that I probably should not have (what did I know, it was a chair). A few minutes later I was on the floor with large pieces of the previous chair under me. I was embarrassed and felt bad about breaking the chair. The chair could have broken under a lighter man, but the point is that every chair has a limit and I cannot be sure as to the limit of the IKEA chair. 200 seems fine and 250 will probably work as well. 350? It would probably be okay for a while or not… I would not take bets on that.

Sorry I could not be of more help…

Thanks Doc, that was a lot more than I needed. I am extremely experienced with construction. I know what perpendicular is.
The riveted pin should be strong enough, in shear, to work just fine. If not, at the first sign of failure I’ll change it out with an 18/8 SS bolt. I am going to order two of them and give it a run. I’ll report back if we go on our backsides during a gig. :slight_smile:

I sense the fact you are reluctant to give the thumbs up on 350 lbs and I respect and appreciate that. I am hesitant myself but like I’ve said for less than 100.00 I am going to give em a try. I have zero interest in anything that can’t fold up so there lies my limitations.

I sincerely thank you for all your time responding and providing pictures and references for me. You are wonderful!


That wood one is nice, but $893 is far more than I would want to pay. After I purchase a chair, I still want to be able to afford a guitar to hang on it.

One thing about chair strength and I suspect everyone knows it, but nonetheless… when you sit “normally” in a chair it is very much stronger than if you rock onto the back legs. Many moons ago I made some shaker chairs from kits. The parts are all tenoned and glued. The legs are about 1.5" cherry. They are very strong. A big friend (guessing 250) came over for dinner and was rocking back on the back legs and bouncing. One of the legs splintered along the grain. It didn’t come totally apart and dump him on the floor, but it was close. Thinking about this story, I went back to look at the kits… I think for home use (non-folding) the following looks pretty sweet. I have a similar design chair and it is very comfy. The multiple height stretchers would make leg propping at a good height easy. … hairs/F131

Thanks John for the complement. However, I tend to be overly wordy in my responses… sorry about that.

I like the wooden chair Mike, the multiple height stretchers would make for more comfortable sitting and playing. In fact, that is one of the things I was looking for in a folding stool (but did not find).

I’m not sure this is a common thing about guitar players or older men or the combination, but it seems like many of the older guitar players I speak to are also involved in building things, woodworking or something similar. Curiosity and the ability to focus on a project till it is complete may be the answer here (or not)… these are the things that drive me.

Joke cometh:: just be sure you are sitting on you stool and not in it .