Do You Sit Or Stand While Playing?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by LongHairFreak, Sep 19, 2012.


  1. LongHairFreak

    LongHairFreak Supporting The Gold Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2006
    Location:
    Twin Cities - MN
    After almost25 years of not being in a band (living my other life), I am questioning a part of my stage presence now that I am jammin’ with others again. I used to always stand on stage; after all, it was rock n roll. However, after so long jamming by myself, though I practice both sitting and standing, most of my proficiency has been developed while sitting down.

    As I’m sure many here on TB will tell me, it is ultimately up to my own decision whether to sit or stand. But I want to ask, what’s the general consensus on sitting, or perchihng, on a stool while playing live?

    Whether I should or not, some things I tend to consider, are…
    · I noticeably play better while sitting/perching.
    · I am blind. Even while standing, I purposefully restrict my movements, so I’ll never have an ‘active’ stage presence.
    · We are a three-piece that do heavy rockin’ blues. That makes me think perhaps there should be a very active stage presence.
    · Generally, on stage I dress up a bit—Think business attire with vest, rolled sleaves (no jacket), a wide brim fedora and yes, shades. It’s a bit of a contrast with gray hair almost to my waist, but that’s ok by me.
    · Though I sit, I’m not just sitting there; I move and groove…a little anyway.

    Thanks for your opinion(s) TB.
  2. BruceForrest

    BruceForrest

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2012
    Location:
    Bellingham, Washington, USA
    Hey TB,
    I let the music decide whether I'm on my feet dancing, sitting on a tall stool tapping my foot, or just kicking back. But either way, I always rely on the strap to do most of the work of holding the bass. Otherwise, you need two different general techniques: one for when the bass is hanging from the strap, and one when it's resting on your knee

    I believe you obliquely referred to that little problem in your post.

    Bruce
  3. two fingers

    two fingers Loud Mouth Know It All Blowhard Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2005
    Here's a tip I got years ago. Set your STRAP to the length it takes to hang the bass exactly where you play when you PRACTICE. If you practice sitting down, then set your strap at the length it has to be to just get tight when you are sitting. That way, your bass won't feel any different to your hands no matter which way you are playing. This caused my bass to go up a bit. But anyone who thinks you are less of a bass player because your bass doesn't hang to your knees can...... well...... go away. (We''l keep this clean.)

    With that in mind, keep a stool on stage and sit for the laid back stuff, and stand up when the groove grabs you by the shoulders and PICKS you up.

    And please post some live pics. I gotta see a guy with 3ft long hair and a business suit doing his thang.
  4. puddin tame

    puddin tame

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2010
    I usually practice lying down (bed, couch, floor, or a recliner will do in a pinch) because i'm lazy as hell. Sitting up if i'm doing something more technical.

    I string my bass not all too low so I don't really have trouble with the sitting vs standing thing. I do find it difficult to play certain chords standing, but complicated bass chords and gig don't usually go hand in hand so no issues here.
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  6. 1SHOT1HIT

    1SHOT1HIT

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2012
    Both, just depends, I've noticed if I have to really focus on what I'm playing I tend to stand.

    Also, If I'm really feeling what I'm playing I tend to stand and even pace back and fourth sorta.
  7. SpecialBlender

    SpecialBlender

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2010
    Location:
    Kelowna, BC
    Due to a bad hip that is going to finally be replaced soon I've been playing sitting down for the last year and absolutely hate it.

    I've never been a "showman" but I do miss being able to move around the stage and banter with the other guys in the band.

    That being said the type of gigs I mostly play it doesn't make any difference to the people I'm playing for whether I'm sitting or standing.
  8. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 6, 2000
    Location:
    Groom Lake, NV
    Disclosures:
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I sit in my acoustic trio (a "fools on stools" gig) and stand in my classic rock band. I practice sitting down. That's the easy part - getting back up is harder.
  9. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2005
    Location:
    Apopka, FL
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    With you being blind, I would certainly allow for your needs on a gig, and tell you to do whatever you need to do the gig safely. However, if you want to look cool, I might get a tall stool rather than a chair that's closer to the ground.
  10. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2008
    Location:
    London,NewYork,Paris,Braintree
    I find times where it is one or the other. It is not a problem, and I certainly find that for me the height of the instrument is not a factor. My bass is lower when hung off a strap than when I"m sitting. I personally find the idea of the two being the same height the least of any problems when sitting. The posture of sitting needs the both feet flat on the floor to align the small of the back correct, and remove stress from that area.
    Many players with cross or lift one leg when sitting, this is not what to do and why I hang my bass whether I sit or stand.
  11. LongHairFreak

    LongHairFreak Supporting The Gold Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2006
    Location:
    Twin Cities - MN
    “And please post some live pics. I gotta see a guy with 3ft long hair and a business suit doing his thang.”
    3ft??? That’s stretching my back a bit too far. Let’s leave it at a few inches over 2ft.


    “…but complicated bass chords and gig don't usually go hand in hand so no issues here.”
    Here neither. My playing style’s not particularly complicated.


    “…look cool, I might get a tall stool rather than a chair that's closer to the ground.”
    Absolutely. A tall bar stool that I either sit/perch/lean against. I’m thinking a standard chair might be too…not there. And of course, I've got to look cool, eh?
  12. dalkowski

    dalkowski

    Joined:
    May 20, 2009
    Location:
    Massachusetts USofA
    Jazz/blues trio. Sit through 95% of rehearsals. Stand live (except for dinner/cocktail music gigs).

    My drummer has told me he prefers when I stand. Says I'm looser, groovier, more locked in. I agree.
  13. LongHairFreak

    LongHairFreak Supporting The Gold Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2006
    Location:
    Twin Cities - MN
    Thanks for your input guys. Perhaps I should just leave things as they are. Sitting some on a tall bar stool and standing some w/a throw rug (or similar) at my feet to keep me from wandering off too far from my seat. Perhaps standing a bit more than sitting; after all, 54yo isn't so old that I should sit more than stand, eh?

    Man, have I gotten lazy!! :)
  14. topo morto

    topo morto

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2010
    Location:
    Lloegyr
    Jah wobble would sit in a dentist's chair, for ease of playing.

  15. Menno

    Menno Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2011
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    I always stand while playing so my bass is in the same position during practise and on stage. And I like to dance while playing :bassist:
  16. ics1974

    ics1974

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2012
    Always standing for me. My shoulder get sore if I play sitting.
  17. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2003
    Location:
    Newport News, VA via NYC
    Disclosures:
    Kohlman Bassworks
    Depends on my gig. Most of the jazz stuff is sitting down but if I'm really feeling it, I'll stand up. R&B/Funk, I'm standing.
  18. JoZac21

    JoZac21

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2009
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    I think it all depends on context.

    IMO, I have no problem seeing jazz musicians sit... but if I see someone, other than the drummer, sitting in a rock/pop context, I just think it looks wrong. It looks lazy, unsightly, and, IMO, borderline unprofessional.

    With that said, strangely, my two favorite bass players (Paul Jackson and Nate Watts) both sit while playing... go figure.
  19. Randyt

    Randyt Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2010
    Location:
    Barrie, Canada
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    Endorsing Artist: Adult Pampers
    I use a modified bar stool that makes it look like im standing...but actually sitting!!
  20. tinman 1967

    tinman 1967 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2010
    Heres my Sunday afternoon lazy position....... Kind of like being on the couch;)

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  21. Biggbass

    Biggbass Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2011
    Location:
    Planet Earth

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