Caution: if your guitar has a nitrocellulose finish instead of polyurethane,
suction cups may leave marks. Likely they could be buffed out, but be aware.
A guitar support makes holding and balancing the guitar while seated easy. Supports take all of the weight off of the fretting hand and don't cause shoulder and neck problems one can experience when wearing a strap while seated. This support easily attaches to acoustic or classical guitar, bouzouki, mandolin, mandola, or in this case, banjola. The guitar does not have to have strap buttons. The support does not scratch finishes and will accommodate horizontal neck positions to high neck positions (classical guitar, banjola for example).
The cost of a store-bought guitar support ranges from $35-50 plus shipping. Some are made of wood and suction cups, or plastic and metal with suction cups, others are made of leather with straps and suction cups. I created with homemade support with dollar store / thrift store items.
Step 1: Materials & Tools for DIY Guitar Support
I purchased all materials for this DIY guitar support (except leather belt at a dollar store). Got the belt at a thrift shop.
A utility knife
One 2 - 2 1/2 " wide leather belt. 20-24 inches long
The leather should be a little stiff. The one shown here is braided. I did not use this one as you will see. Regular plain old, belt leather is best.
One piece of 1/8 " plastic sheet.
Enough to cut at least one 2" x 6" piece. I used a cheap "Betty Crocker" cutting board purchased for a dollar at a dollar store. Any plastic that is rigid yet can be cut with a box cutter will work.
Stick on velcro strips.
Strips come in packages of male/female pairs usually about 3/4" X 14" - 20"
2" diameter suctions cups.
These are often sold as holders with hooks. Just remove the hooks.
One 2" x 9" padded shoulder strap.
One side should be pebbled rubber or rubber. Strap must have some kind of "feed though" pocket for the belt.
$5 if you find an old pack or case in a thrift store. I borrowed one from my laptop case.
Total DIY Guitar Support Cost $10-$20.
It's quite possible to make your own guitar support for about $10 if you have a belt you can use or can get one from a friend, and if you forego the anti-slip pad or use one that you have on an old pack.
The cost of a similar store-bought supports ranges from $35 - 45 plus shipping. What's nice is that you choose the design and can customize to suit your needs using recycled material for 1/3 or less the cost.
Step 2: Cut Plastic for Guitar Support Leg
Step 3: Cut Leather Belt to Size
My banjola is 2" deep so my belt is 2" wide. The wider the belt, the bigger the suction cups.
Ignore the shoulder pad in this photo for now. Widen the existing belt holes so that when you push the narrow bulb end of the suction cup through it goes through but with effort. On one end, you'll want 4 or 5 slots spaced about an inch apart. On the other end, you need one slot.
Step 4: Attach Velcro to Plastic and Inside of Belt
Step 5: Attach 1st Suction Cup and Plactic Support
Note: in the photo the plastic is above the cup. Move it underneath the cup.
Step 6: Add 2 Suction Cups to Other End of Belt
You could cut off the excess belt, but I kept it just in case. It doesn't really make any difference.
Step 7: Finished Leather Guitar Support Without Rubberized Padding
By the way, it may look a little home-spun but when in position on instrument it looks good. I guess you could use black plastic if you want to that uniform tone-on-tone look.
Step 8: Optional Anti-Slip Pad
The strap I used was about 9" inches long with a 2" slot that the belt goes through. The slot, of course, must be wide enough to feed the belt through. For obvious reasons, you add the last two suction cups after sliding on the pad. Make sure the rubber is opposite the suction cup side (though you'd figure that out).
The rubberizing really makes a big difference, keeping the instrument very stable.
Step 9: Attaching the Guitar Support
Positioning the Guitar Support on the Instrument
Positioning will depend on the instrument. For placement on guitar, see:
http://www.neckup.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc and http://www.deoromusic.com/deoromusic/guitar_support_placement.html
The single suction cup goes toward the top of the body; the end with two suction cups goes toward the bottom.
For banjola, mandola, mandolin, and bousouki, you'll have to play with positioning a little. The geometry is a little different than with guitar because the instrument has one bout. With my banjola, the positioning you see here creates a high angled neck. If you want a lower neck position on a one bout instrument, move the top end of the support up.
I leave the bottom end attached when I put the instrument in its case so I don't have to reposition the support to find the sweet spot. On my banjola, I just remember that the edge of the suction cup is in line with the outer rosette ring. You could also take photos for reference once you've found a couple of good playing positions. The guitar support can sit on your left leg, across your lap, or on your right leg depending on how you like the guitar angled.