Bradford’s guitar from the video: My new 2018 Small Scale Douglass Scott Guitar
Armrests: Love them. The idea seemed undesirable to me at first because the armrest further extends the guitar outward away from the shoulder(only millimetres though) which is an ergonomic problem for some people (short people like me?) so at first I didn’t want one. However, after having armrests on my last two guitars I found it more comfortable on my arm. The smoother edge is also better for moving the forearm up or down the instrument without as much friction when making right hand adjustments. The idea of the arm muting the soundboard does make sense, although I do wonder if it’s significant enough to be noticed.
Here’s a few words about armrests I found across the web :
“Some guitar makers, like Greg Smallman propose an armrest integrated to the guitar. An armrest provides three primary benefits: it lessens damping of the top caused by the right forearm; it is potentially more comfortable for the player; and it absorbs the wear to the finish that would otherwise happen on the top, the binding, and the side. These benefits are of particular importance for ultra-thin-topped instruments, such as Smallman’s, but will subtly improve any guitar, including double-tops. The Rasgueo-Rest armrest additionally helps large and tall players avoid hunching-over the Guitar, since the Guitar’s surface area is in effect, “expanded” using the arm-rest, giving the arm-height support needed for good playing posture.” – via wikipedia
“An elevated style armrest has three advantages. First, it helps keep the right arm from muting soundboard vibrations. Second, it protects the French polish from slowly getting worn away by the right arm. And thirdly, it is a smooth, comfortable place to rest the arm.Some of my clients have asked about the “Bevel Style” armrest, you often see on steel-string guitars. There are a couple of reasons why I do not use it on my guitars. It solves the problem of comfort, but it does not address the other two issues – preventing soundboard damping by the right arm, or protecting the finish. For these reasons, I use the elevated style armest. I’ve been making them out of African blackwood, cocobolo, walnut, ebony, maple, and other woods, depending on the look I’m after, and the binding I use. So you can see from the pictures how the armrest allows the arm to sit above the soundboard, without dampening the soundboard. ” Quote and Photo via dominelliguitars.com
“They’re mainly for comfort, but some makers claim that there is some advantage to keeping the player’s arm off the soundboard. I don’t really think it makes much difference in this respect – I find on my guitars I have to very deliberately press my arm into the top to hear any change – playing normally there’s no difference.” – Luthier, James Lister via delcamp
“I have mixed feelings about them, I’ve run into some resistance when it comes to older more traditional guitarists, the younger players seem to like them more than traditional guys. As far as the volume goes, I’ve read by some that they boost the volume by 20%. I don’t know how that figure was arrived at, I will say however, it does increase the volume, but mostly in the bass, because your arm without the arm rest, tends to dampen the bass side of the guitar, this may or not be desirable for some. If your guitar has tight basses an arm rest might help, if there too open it might not.” – Luthier, Michael Thames via classicalguitarforum.com
What has your experience with armrests been? Leave a comment below.