I have been playing the guitar for many years and I recently got myself a traditional Greek instrument to play with (image source):

enter image description here

Pictured above is a μπαγλαμάς (baglamas) and though mine is unfortunately nowhere near as pretty, the shape is the same. The problem is that because of the convex sound box, when placing it on my lap to play, it gradually slides away from me. I am guessing I have some habits that come from my guitar and that these don't translate well to the convex instruments.

So, what tricks do people use to keep convex instruments stable?

  • You may want to seek out someone who plays the instrument and study. Alternatively, it would also be not a bad idea to use the power of the internet to see how native players hold the instrument. Feb 18, 2014 at 3:51

1 Answer 1


I know a balalaika and domra orchestra where almost everybody holds their instruments in place using cut pieces of a common type of non-adhesive non-slip rubberized shelf-liner material, like that in this photograph.

enter image description here

You can buy a roll of this for a few dollars in any grocery or hardware store.

I have used this material myself when I was learning how to hold my new bass viola da gamba in the proper position between my thighs and calves. (the viola da gamba's body is similar to the cello but it has no end-pin to rest on the ground.) But after some practice, I can hold the instrument in the proper position without needing the grippy rubber material.

By the way, I would hesitate to leave this material in contact with a musical instrument for a long period, such as while storing the instrument in a case. I worry that, long-term, the rubbery material might decompose and adhere to or damage a wooden instrument's lacquer finish. But all indications are that this material is perfectly safe for use while the instrument is on your lap.


I remember now that some of my acoustic instrument-playing friends use a loose piece of rough-milled suede leather, which might provide some "traction" due to the rough texture. Suede seems to be most popular with violinists or violists who want some extra cushioning between their instrument and the chin or collarbone, but I think other musicians also use it to help position an instruments on the lap as well.

I went looking for examples of this in photos on the Net but couldn't find anything suitable.

  • Heh, this is a good workaround, +1. I suppose once you've used this for a while you get used to it and get the right posture.
    – terdon
    Feb 18, 2014 at 13:50

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