hang bass high or low

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by MCBTunes, Jan 4, 2005.

  1. How high are you supposed to hang your bass....

    Perhaps this could be preference but are there any benefits to going low or high?
  2. BlasphemyArise


    Jul 15, 2004
    for most hanging the bass higher makes it easier to play but it all depends on what is comfortable to you
  3. I wouldn't hang it any lower than waist -- that's supposed to be bad for you.

    I'd say whatever is most comfortable for you. It also sort of depends on the situation, I think. For jazz solos and fast fingerstyle I like it as high as it can go. But for funky slapping and stuff I like it a bit lower.
  4. Vox Populi

    Vox Populi Reggae Loving Honkey

    Jan 27, 2004
    Poulsbo, WA
    Always high. I practice sitting down most of the time, so I try to keep it at about the same position when standing. It's just way easier to play, and it gets rid of all the buzzing and stuff associated with bad technique.
  5. BMGecko


    Sep 5, 2002
    Albuquerque, NM
    I'm going with Vox Populi on this one...

    If you practice sitting down, set the strap at that level, so you'll feel used to it. Years ago I bought a Billy Sheehan bass video, and that's one of the things he covered, keeping it the same (consistency).
  6. well its all personal, when i sit down to play i crouch a bit so i would look like a pansy if i hung it that high, so i get a happy medium, just over my belly button, maybe higher. a bit lower than say, Ryan Martinie or so.
  7. LM Bass

    LM Bass

    Jul 19, 2002
    Vancouver, BC
    Okay, I'll answer this once and for all!


    You're SUPPOSED to wear your bass high!

    there, I feel better now!

  8. Razor


    Sep 22, 2002
    Well...if you wanna play easier then high it is, at least in my experiences. Easier to do everything but play pickstyle.
    I play a lot of chords and since it's higher it's easier to fret each chord.

    However... it does look much more "Rock Star" to go low.

    If only my wrists were longer. I'd love to play well with my bass slung low. It just looks awesome. :bag:
  9. snapple


    Nov 25, 2003
    Victoria-Vancouver Canada
    Endorsing Artist: PCL Vintage Amps
    I'm actually the opposite of everyone here. I try to sling my bass high but then i can't comfortably reach the lowest five frets or so. Not to mention I find it to be a real pain on the wrists (yeah i bet my technique is crap- all I know is I try to keep my left wrist straight whenever I can.

    Anyways, the upper horn is a little below my man boob and the bottom of the bass is below my waist.
  10. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    I started going higher and higher with mine, to the benefit of my fretting - but now I'm getting some stress in my plucking hand from bending that wrist too much (either that, or I have to hold my elbow up like I was doing 'the Chicken Dance'), so I'm moving'er back down a bit.

    My wife brought up a good point, though (she used to play bass) - that if you angle the bass up (neck up) then you can sling it lower, and put the nut practically in front of your face - if you tend to play lower on the neck, then that's easiest on your fretting hand. Interesting.

  11. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I thik there is a certain extent to which personal preference comes in - realy it's a question of being able to apply correct technique and feel comfortable - not over-extending or stretching too far.

    But there are definitely big minuses to having your bass slung too low in terms of injuring yourself - when you're young, you may not notice the effects, but they could come back to haunt you later....:meh:

    So - most people are now aware of Carpal tunnel and things like that affecting your wrist - but for me the big one is lower back pain - this can be the most painful thing you will ever experience - trust me I know about this! ;)

    So - when playing, you need to be standing upright - if you are bending forward with a bass round your neck, because it is slung too low - you are putting undue pressure on your spine and you will eventually get debilitating lower back pain !! :(
  12. cowsgomoo

    cowsgomoo gone to Longstanton Spice Museum

    Feb 8, 2003
    I think it depends how you play... for slapping, a lot of people like to have their forearm almost parallel with the strings, so a high bass is pretty much a must...

    I play with a pick, and it's most comfortable around my waist, and the point on the string where I pick is around nads-altitude... a higher bass really wouldn't be as comfortable for my right arm.. and it's not so low my left hand can't function properly

    not only does it feel more comfortable (because my arms are hanging down and require less support), there are practical reasons for playing it low-ish... I broke my right arm above the elbow a few years back, and now cannot bend it beyond about 90 degrees... so high-bass altitude is a physical impossibility for me... and i'm really glad I never developed that particular way of playing

    but I don't think it really matters too much how far from sea level your bass is as long as you can play... long straps are usually sported by bass players who can't play so well, but i've seen Scott Thunes and Robert Trujillo play monster bass with huge long straps... and there can't be many people on Talkbass or anywhere else who could look down on those 2 as players
  13. bazzanderson


    Oct 7, 2002
    Austin, TX
    I have the exact same experience. Too high = pain in my fret wrist. I wear it about waist level now and that feels great.
  14. Ozzyman


    Jul 21, 2004
    I have my strap set at where my bass would be sitting down. It makes the lower fret reach slightly worse but nowhere near as bad as the upper fret access with a waist level bass. I agree with the consistency. The more consistent your playing enviorment is the less you have to learn (like how to play a bass that's low).
    Oh, and I love big thick padded straps. They offer the best bass control (little slippage) and they're very cozy. Though, sometimes it's annoying trying to move my bass to behind my back and have the strap taking my cshirt with it, lol.
  15. Vox Populi

    Vox Populi Reggae Loving Honkey

    Jan 27, 2004
    Poulsbo, WA
    I have the opposite. Too low and I feel like my wrists are going to break off.
  16. bazzanderson


    Oct 7, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Oh...I know what you are saying....if I go rockstar low then my wrist hurst as well. It has to hang just right which happens to be about waist level with the horn by my chest.
  17. I prefer it just so it covers my crotch maybe a bit higher. If its lower I have a hard time playing certain stuff and if its higher my right arm isnt feeling very good.

    I think you should just try out what works best for you. No one else can say that one id better than the other for you personally (if its not down by your feet cause you cant reach it then ;)).
  18. To where the lower horn is at general crotch level. So above waist level.
  19. CJK84


    Jan 22, 2004
    Maria Stein, OH
    I nearly always play standing up - have the bass hanging a little high.

    I've found that, as Joe P mentioned, angling the bass so that the headstock is higher than the bridge is beneficial.

    Until recently I played with only about a 10 degree angle from horizontal - now I'm probably close to 30 degrees and this feels better - strap slipping on my shoulder is sometimes a problem though.

    btw, I've also found that when playing near the nut, extending my fretting hand elbow away from my body helps.
  20. Razor


    Sep 22, 2002
    I'm not trying to stereotype..just giving my opinion.

    I think, in most cases (not all), a low hangin' bass is easier to play if you play pickstyle/non-tapping/non-chording kinda music.

    I must say that having it low is more comfortable to me especially when I play pickstyle (which is very little) or if I am playing good ole' simple rock style music (ala Michael Anthony 8th notes).

    I'm not much on tapping but I play lots of chords..therfore to me having it at least as high as say, Geddy Lee or Tim Cummerford, is much more comfortable.

    I've tried to hang it low and pull the neck up close to me, sorta like an upright..it makes it a lot more comfortable but to my hands it doesn't feel as good as just having it around waist level...seems like when I do the upright-type thing my fretting hand gets tired from the palm having to support the weight of the neck as I play.