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Finding a good sitting position

Discussion in 'Orchestral Technique [DB]' started by tornadobass, Mar 18, 2005.


  1. tornadobass

    tornadobass Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Iowa City, Iowa
    Endorsing Artist: Black Diamond & SuperSensitive strings
    I've almost always played in a standing position, but will need to play seated for a pit orchestra.

    Is there a web site somewhere that shows appropriate seated position?

    I've settled on a position that approximates standing position, only the bass leans back more like a cello...not behind the bass, but resting it on the left thigh.

    Suggestions?
     
  2. I think it is largely a matter of what works for you.

    Personally I prefer to sit a little more behind the bass resting the left corner of the bass on my left knee rather than laying the bass across my thigh. I believe that keeping bass/body contact to a minimum greatly improves the resonance of the bass. Moving more behind the bass also makes it easier for me to lay the bow on the E string.
     
  3. tornadobass

    tornadobass Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Iowa City, Iowa
    Endorsing Artist: Black Diamond & SuperSensitive strings
    I'll try that...I noticed that playing the E string (French bow) that I nearly hit my right leg past the middle.
     
  4. I reccomend lowering the endpin quite a bit, and maybe try getting the bass more upright. I like to play behind the bass, with my left knee about in the middle of the back, or to the left a bit. I also like to sort of lean into the bass a bit, rather than slouching and laying the bass across my lap like some guys do. The best thing to do is find a teacher who can work on the technique with you; just a few lessons would probably do if you don't want to switch teachers...
     
  5. tornadobass

    tornadobass Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Iowa City, Iowa
    Endorsing Artist: Black Diamond & SuperSensitive strings
    Since my initial post, I've experimented a bit. I've lowered the endpin one notch and moved the bass over toward my left knee. I've also started using the bass in a more upright position, with the right foot on the floor and the left on a stool rung.

    Finally, I've remembered my lessons that taught using shorter bows on the low strings and longer on the high strings. Now it's back to working on intonation in this position :crying:

    Thanks again for the help!
     
  6. tornadobass

    tornadobass Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Iowa City, Iowa
    Endorsing Artist: Black Diamond & SuperSensitive strings
    The seated technique seems to be working itself out okay.

    Now I'm noticing that after a couple of hours in the pit (show is 2.5 hours) that my back is sore.

    I've tried sitting up straighter on the stool, standing between songs occasionally, and putting my feet in different positions. But by the end of the show, my back muscles are sore.

    Suggestions?
     
  7. larry

    larry Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2004
    Florida
    This is important. If you let the bass lean into you too much, you'll really choke off the sound with your leg digging into the back. Keep it as upright as you can for best sound.
     
  8. larry

    larry Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2004
    Florida
    How tall is your stool? Try to use one where your feet are flat on the floor, more like a chair than a bar stool. I found a shorter stool at Target with a padded seat for about $20 that I carry with me.
     
  9. larry

    larry Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2004
    Florida
    Well thanks for that. Now run along and let the grown-ups talk.
     
  10. tornadobass

    tornadobass Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Iowa City, Iowa
    Endorsing Artist: Black Diamond & SuperSensitive strings
    In this case, sitting is for most bassists playing for pit orchestras.

    All the suggestions about stool height, foot placement, instrument angle, etc. ran through my mind during the show tonight (The Secret Garden). My back is a little less sore than last night and I got around the 2 minute tremolo section with my wrist feeling better than last night (advice: "when in doubt, trill!")

    Anyhow, I put both feet up on the stool rungs between songs and worked on sitting up straight. Stood up occasionally, too. That probably helped. Six more shows to go!
     
  11. Justin K-ski

    Justin K-ski

    May 13, 2005
    Mr. Levinson has a theor on this that, since one leg is extended and one leg on a stool rung, according to most players, the back is thorwn out of alignment casusing pain.

    He has his students get stools where the rungs are at the same height. Each foot should be placed on a rung and the bass held between both bended legs like a cello. I've also found that raising the basses height is beneficial.

    Harold Robinson suggested that the pin should be placed slightly to the right, so that the right hand it closer to it's playing area and likewise for the left hand.
     
  12. tornadobass

    tornadobass Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Iowa City, Iowa
    Endorsing Artist: Black Diamond & SuperSensitive strings
    Thanks for the tips...I'm hoping to take on another show in the pit either this summer or fall.
     
  13. That was something I was never able to do. I'm too tall to have both legs in the air like that (blocks the bow). I go with the Hal Robinson approach and keep my right foot on the floor, using it as a lever of sorts, while putting my left foot up to support the bass.