Andreas Abel is a guitar teacher from Braunschweig who has already complained for some time about pressure marks on his forearm resulting from the rough edge between the guitar top and the rib. A well-known problem for many guitarists, which is also suspected of causing neurological problems and impaired motor function. There are already possible solutions: the violin-maker George Lowdon from Northern Ireland, for example builds high-quality guitars with a rounded part, which he calls bevel. Also, instruments from the high-class workshop of the Australian Greg Smallman have a solid armrest.

Discreet look

However, the device with which the armrest is attached to the rib with a screwing device is new. It is extremely easily attached and removed. Models of other manufacturers use suction cups, which often leave stains on the varnish. On the Abel armrest, however, there are plastic pads on the resting points, which are meant to prevent this. During the test stage, there was no change of colour or change on the varnish noticeable on my guitar. At the same time sweat stains on the top of the guitar are avoided in summer and playing with a stocking or cut off sleeve (which also does not look very advantageous) is no longer required. At first sight this accessory reminds us a little bit of the chin rest of the violin, which is part of the  standard equipment of the violinist.

It consists of high quality plastic reinforced by glass-fibre, is very light (92 grammes) and has an unobtrusive surface, which prevents the forearm from getting stuck. The armrest is suitable for ribs ranging from eight to twelve centimetres; on request other sizes are available. In the first place the armrest is presumably more suitable for fingerstyle and classical players as their forearm mostly rests on the guitar rather than the intensively moving players who use a plectrum or play chords. A change in the sound could not be noticed as it is attached in a part which is not essential for the vibration of the instrument.

This remains

If the Abel armrest didn’t exist, it should be invented. I suppose that in a few years it will be part of the standard equipment of the classical player and the fingerstyle player. After a certain settling-in period one would no longer  like to do without because of the comfortable play-feeling that it provides.

source: guitar acoustic Heft 1/2013