In this article, I’ll discuss what makes the best couch guitar and how to find yours. If you’re a hard-core player, then you most likely keep at least one guitar on or near your couch.
When it’s time to relax, you grab your favorite beverage and head to the couch or your favorite chair to play some tunes. Then, you watch some tube as you sharpen your chops.
It can take years of experimentation to find just the right instrument for the job! If you’re still looking for the couch guitar of your dreams, then read on to learn more.
Since this is my 50th article for this site, I decided to have a little fun. So please help me celebrate by telling me about your couch guitar and why it’s special in the comment section below!
What Is A “Couch Guitar?”
Do you really have to ask? What guitar do you reach for because it just seems to be made for the way you play, no matter how you position yourself? Is it your most expensive, best-sounding, or lightest guitar? Not necessarily.
One thing is for sure. When you find it, everything seems right with the world, and it’s an incredible moment that you’ll probably never forget!
I tend to rotate guitars that I keep on the couch, although I definitely have my favorites.
Characteristics Of A Good Couch Guitar
So, what are some of the things to consider when looking for a couch guitar? For example, it can depend on whether you play electric or acoustic and the type of music you like.
Size, Shape, And Weight
Size and shape can be critical factors in choosing a couch guitar. A guitar body that is too large or too heavy can make it difficult to get comfortable.
Oddly shaped guitars can be problematic to balance or position comfortably, especially if you’re sitting in an unorthodox position.
I tend to favor electric guitars with traditional body shapes, like a Telecaster, Strat, or SG, but small body acoustics can work fine as well.
A Les Paul can get a little heavy after a while. Also, guitars with an odd-shaped body, like a Flying V or an Explorer, may be more challenging to play comfortably.
Short Scale Neck Guitars
Short-scale neck guitars tend to work well on the couch. They are more compact and have a lower string tension, making it easier to press down and bend the strings. This can translate into a more comfortable playing experience.
If you’re looking for a super short-scale neck, then check out the Fender Squier Mini Jazzmaster, which has an incredibly short scale length of 22.75 inches! This guitar just seems to disappear into the couch and become a natural part of you. At less than $200, you really can’t beat the price.
On the acoustic side, I love the small size and big sound of a Taylor GS Mini (a scaled-down Grand Symphony). These guitars have a short scale (23.5″) neck with great action.
What Defines A Parlor guitar?
A “parlor guitar” is a compact instrument with a very narrow waist that was initially popular back in the late 19th century.
Their small size and lightweight construction make them another good option to consider for a couch guitar.
The sound of these guitars can vary depending on the type of wood used to make them, but they tend to be loudest in the midrange frequencies.
Paul Reed Smith, Yamaha, Takamine, and Epiphone all make great parlor guitars.
Compare the waist of the PRS Parlor to that of the Taylor GS Mini shown above, and you can easily see the difference.
For more info about parlor guitars, see Jethro Tull Live At Montreux Blu Ray – 2003: Insanely Good!
Do Travel Guitars Sound Good?
What about travel guitars?
They are specifically designed to be small and ultra-lightweight, but are they a good choice for comfortable couch playing with decent sound and performance?
Travel guitars have certainly come a long way in quality over the years. They sell anywhere from under $200 to thousands of dollars on the high-end.
These guitars are available in both electric and acoustic varieties.
The electric travel guitars are typically the most compact but don’t sound as good as the acoustic ones when played unplugged.
I kept a travel guitar on my couch, off and on, for years. They can be great for playing comfortably on a small sofa or even in a big chair like a recliner.
A couch guitar should be easy to play so that the experience is relaxing and delightful. The neck should have low action and good access to the upper frets if you are a technical player that likes to play guitar solos or challenging chord progressions.
A Gibson SG is a great choice and the guitar I play the most on my couch. It is light with great neck action and upper fret access. In addition, it has a front-mounted guitar jack, so you don’t need a guitar chord with a right-angle plug.
Another guitar I play on my couch a lot is a Parker Fly Deluxe, for most of the same reasons.
The Fly has magnetic and piezo pickups, so you can plug in to play electric or acoustic, or both simultaneously.
It’s like having your cake and eating it too!
Can your guitar easily adjust to various volume requirements? Loudness is especially important if you don’t live alone. If other people are trying to watch TV or talk, then a guitar that is too loud, even acoustically, can be an unwanted distraction.
Acoustic and semi-hollowbody guitars have a relatively fixed volume. They are great for playing alone when you don’t want to plug into an amp because they are loud enough to be heard over background noise like a movie.
An unamplified electric guitar is a nose-friendly option if the couch is in a shared area, like a family room. I can practice scales and arpeggios on the sofa without actually hearing the guitar. Beginning guitar players may find this problematic or counterproductive.
Remember, accuracy and timing are essential, even when you play in a relaxed environment.
A couch guitar should be readily available so you can just reach over and grab it without hassle. Ideally, it should be on a guitar stand close by or live on the couch.
You don’t want to use your priceless vintage ’54 Strat or 1936-’42 Martin D-45, which you have locked up in your guitar vault.
Ideally, your couch guitar should be something that you feel comfortable leaving out unsupervised, especially if you have children or friends over when you are not around to protect it.
For more info, see How To Protect Your Guitar From Theft – Best Tips And Tricks.
Does Your Couch Matter (Best Couch For Guitar)?
Does the size, shape, height, and material that your couch is made out of affect how comfortable it will be to play your guitar?
Should you bring your guitar to the furniture store to give it the ol’ “try before you buy?”
Believe it or not, I actually thought of doing this when I bought my last living room couch but didn’t go through with it. Luckily, everything turned out ok.
Here are some of the things you might consider if you are couch hunting.
- Is there enough room on the couch for a good size guitar without it hitting against the back and pushing the guitar out of alignment with your body?
- Do you sink down too far into the cushion to be comfortable while you play?
- Does the shape of the couch put you body an odd postion? Some antique couches can be a real kill-joy!
- When you play, is the couch too high or low to the ground to sit comfortably with one or two feet on the floor, or do you have to sit with your legs crossed on the couch?
- Does the couch make your back hurt after you play for awhile?
- Is the couch long enough to stretch out on it while you play or accomodate one or two other people?
Final Thoughts On The Best Couch Guitar
So, what exactly is a “couch guitar?” Ask 100 players what their favorite guitar is to play on the couch while they relax, and you could get 100 different answers.
A couch guitar is ultimately defined by whatever works best for you. Some players change their couch guitar frequently, while others use the same one for their entire playing career.
As you think about choosing your couch guitar, it’s essential to consider other factors, like the couch you have and your particular living situation.
Keep trying different guitars until you find what you’re looking for. What you finally end up with on your couch may surprise you.
Tell Me What You Think
I hope you enjoyed this article and found it helpful. Would you please help me gather information on couch guitars by telling me about yours here in the comment area?
- Do you have a couch guitar or are you still looking?
- What brand and model is it?
- Why do you think it’s the best choice for your couch?
- Have you changed couch guitars over the years or are you still using the same one?