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Neck angle.

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Sharkey, Jan 14, 2014.


  1. Sharkey

    Sharkey

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2007
    Hello there.
    Does anybody find that raising the angle of the neck to about 45 degrees, helps increase technical ability with both the right and left hands?
    My playing sounds better when I play with a steep neck angle, however it causes me severe pain in my left shoulder, arm and back.:crying:
    I was wondering if anyone else experiences this problem and if they know of any solutions that could help achieve this style of technique?
    Below are a few videos of some great players who seem to play this way. I hope they don't mind me using their videos in this post.


    Thanks
     
  2. basskal77

    basskal77

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2014
    just personal habit..
     
  3. Nashrakh

    Nashrakh

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2008
    Location:
    Hamburg, Germany
    Well, maybe you contort your body during playing in a way that is yet unnoticed by you. I know quite a few players who unconsciously raise their right shoulder, which leads to fatigue. I for one have such a bad habit in my left thumb when playing sax and I'm working on fixing it... playing lighter and with less tension helps.
     
  4. enricogaletta

    enricogaletta

    Joined:
    May 21, 2011
    Well some players just do like that, others play the bass completely perpendicular to the body, it's just a personal approach, it's just like some people like to play on the neck pickup, others to the bridge, etc.
    Off course on the high positions of the second fingerboard octave, you need to change the angle of your bass to be more comfortable when you playing, some people doing it more, other less..
    Cheers.

    www.enricogaletta.com
    on youtube
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    study with me
     
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  6. cnltb

    cnltb

    Joined:
    May 28, 2005
    I do tilt the neck upwards a bit as I find it considerably more comfortable playing that way.
     
  7. Russell L

    Russell L

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2011
    Location:
    Cayce, SC
    I tilt upward as needed. Sometimes it helps when in the lower positions. It also depends on the lick.
     
  8. ghostfather

    ghostfather

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2013
    Steep neck angle makes me think of early Bill Wyman:
    [​IMG]
     
  9. Nashrakh

    Nashrakh

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2008
    Location:
    Hamburg, Germany
    Interesting photo, I've been looking for a way to get the angle steeper. This looks promising and easy to do!
     
  10. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2006
    Location:
    Williamsburg, VA
    Ergonomically, playing with the neck angled upwards is beneficial because it allows you to keep both of your wrists relatively straight -- eliminating strain and tension in the fingers of both hands, which should generally improve dexterity and reduce fatigue. It also makes it easier to pluck with your right-hand fingers perpendicular to the strings.

    I can't think of any reason why this position in itself should cause any more pain in your shoulders, back, or arm than holding the bass horizontally -- unless, as Nashrakh suggested, you are "contorting your body" in some other way without realizing it. For example, maybe you are craning your neck in order to see your fretboard better?
     
  11. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2008
    Location:
    London-NewYork-Paris-Munich-Braintree
    Disclosures:
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    The Time Zone Principal.
    We all accept that playing in the 12th fret area is easier than playing at the 1st fret because its playing zone is closer to our central trunk so easier to support the movement required to do so.
    If we could hold the bass horizontal and draw lines through the fret wire up through the air to represent fret positions then it would look like one of those time-zone world maps that show all the countries and what time it will be +/- from your country.

    So a bass guitar played horizontal will have notes in all 22 zones (standard 22 fret instrument) but a double Bass has all its notes in one zone.

    Let's call the low F one F# two, G three etc all the way up the neck.
    If when horizontal the low F is at one then gradually tilting the angle up will move it through time zones a closer to our central trunk.

    The more we tilt and angle it the close it comes to us so the less we reach out, so the better supported the motion. At some point the low F will be in the same zone as the 12th fret and as a result easier to play.

    You do not have to stay in any times zone, you can move your basses neck into a time zone to suit your playing needs. So see and use different time zones for different parts within a song as you play, or one time zone for any one song. So bring the fretboard to you rather than you trying to meet it.

    Player pick habits of 'raising their shoulders" when playing.
    It is an sub-conscious reaction to having something hang off us near our necks that we tense up, so raise the shoulders.
    One of the best ways to counter this and feel what shoulders down feels like (relaxed shoulders), do shoulder shrugs.

    Lift your shoulders as high as you can, as in shrugging them, then drop them, then pull them down as far as you can. Repeat this a few times, then do it fast about ten times, really lift them, and really pull them down. Relax and stretch both arms out in a big circle so the shoulder joint rotates (a windmill action) and relax.
    You should feel your shoulder looser and relaxed, now just pull the down, relax and let them rise on there own, this will them being relaxed.
    Do this in front of a mirror to see what it looks like when they are in tension and when relaxed and learn to feel what relaxed feels like.
    I will drop my shoulders before i play as a matter of habit as i know many things cause us to raise our shoulders...feeling cold is a big culprit, as is anxiety.

    The other stretch is to tilt your head to the side...hold it, then repeat on the other side. Do this a few times, do not force it, just let the weight of your own head do the stretch.
    Then just roll your head around in a circle and again let the weight of the head dictate the stretch, do not force it.

    Both those stretches work well together and help the neck and shoulder.
     
  12. Sharkey

    Sharkey

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2007
    Thanks Lobster11, there's definitely a lot of tension when I play and I do have a bad habit of twisting my neck to look at the fingerboard. Maybe I need to focus on relaxing when I play and things might improve. I'll work on it. Appreciate your advice. Thanks.
     
  13. Sharkey

    Sharkey

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2007
    Cheers Fergie. I like the sound of those shoulder shrugging exercises, I'll start doing them today. The 'Time zone principal' is very interesting too. Thanks.
     
  14. Sharkey

    Sharkey

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2007
    Thanks everyone for your advice and kind words. Great to hear what other people think on this mater.
     
  15. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2008
    Location:
    London-NewYork-Paris-Munich-Braintree
    Disclosures:
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    There was a paragraph missed out so i edited it and inserted it back in. The missing part was;

    You do not have to stay in any times zone, you can move your basses neck into a time zone to suit your playing needs. So see and use different time zones for different parts within a song as you play, or one time zone for any one song. So bring the fretboard to you rather than you trying to meet it.

    Sorry for the omission it was a cut and paste error i did not notice. :)
     
  16. soulman969

    soulman969

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2011
    Location:
    Colorado
    Patient; "Doctor it hurts when I do this."

    Doctor; "Then don't do that".

    Sorry, not really trying to make fun Sharkey but rather just pointing out the obvious. I'm a vocalist so I can't look at the neck period. If I'm not glancing at a lyric cheat sheet then I'm watching for crowd reaction so it's strictly like Braille for me.

    Try to focus on not looking because it does kind of put your upper body in an unusual position. Or at least don't keep staring at the fret board. As long as you have a grip on it it won't run away. ;) I know, it's a hard habit to break.

    I play with a tilt in my neck angle but never stopped to figure out to exactly what degree. Certain basses just seem to fall to the right spot where they kind up support themselves that way. Others that experience neck dive are a real pain in the patoot. I stay away from them. If you find you have to hold the bass up or push it down then I'd either adjust the strap, use a different type of strap, or on some basses relocate the strap buttons.

    Hope your neck gets to feeling better. :D
     
  17. ZenG

    ZenG

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2013
    I've tried the "Wyman " style many times.......

    It is least stressful on the wrist and fingers because it is a more natural movement for the arm/wrist.

    The trade-off is , is that it's harder to see the frets and what notes you're playing if you have to look.

    I let the strap take all the stress.......although I find I have to "hike" the guitar neck a couple of times in a song to get it to stay in place.

    If you lower the body of the guitar a tad then you don't have to raise your arm too much to get that position.


    But....the trade off (at least for me) is that the lower the body goes the harder it is to use a pick because it puts my pick hand farther out of position..

    Spent a lot of time getting the strap length "just right".....:)
     
  18. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2006
    Location:
    Williamsburg, VA
    As a longtime fingerstyle player just starting to learn to use a pick, I'm trying to figure this out myself. An angled neck (though not as vertical as in that Wyman photo) seems ideal for fingerstyle, so the right wrist is straight and plucking fingers are perpendicular to the strings. For pickstyle, though, the up-and-down "strumming" motion with a pick seems more natural and comfortable with the bass horizontal -- and higher.
     
  19. AMp'D.2play

    AMp'D.2play Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2010
    Location:
    NJ
    Robert DeLeo (STP) also plays with his bass angled fairly upright. He may vary the angle somewhat, but it's still almost always steeper than "textbook".

    [​IMG][​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  20. Ukiah Bass

    Ukiah Bass Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 10, 2006
    Location:
    Mendocino County, California
    Wyman said he played the bass in a vertical position to shield his eyes from stage lights so he could see the birds in the front row and shout down his hotel room number. That style was strictly for non-musical scoring.
     
  21. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2006
    Location:
    Williamsburg, VA
    I understand the motivation here, but I don't quite understand the physics: How exactly does adjusting the neck angle shield your eyes from the lights?
     

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