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Ideal bass angle

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Frampton, Jan 10, 2018.

  1. Frampton

    Frampton Supporting Member

    Oct 9, 2010
    I recently had a conversation with a friend about the ideal bass guitar angle. I know many bassists make the mistake of holding their bass too horizontally, causing both the left and right hands to bend or hook uncomfortably in order to play. More commonly, bassists tend to hold the bass at a moderate angle from horizontal which is certainly an improvement. But, is it ideal? Why not hold the instrument at an angle closer to vertical. It would seem to drastically fix the wrist strain to both the right and left hands. Certainly, basses aren't balanced to facilitate this, but maybe they should be. It just seems like the most ergonomic position for bass playing. It might even reduce the incidence of carpal tunnel syndrome in bass players. Has anyone else pondered this?
  2. saltydude


    Aug 15, 2011
    boston CANADA
    I adjust slightly if I’m playing finger style versus pick. The pick gets a more horizontal position.
    Frampton likes this.
  3. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    I don't think there is an "ideal" angle. Everyone is physically built differently. Some are tall with long arms, some short and stocky, etc. So it's up to each individual to find "their" angle.

    As long as both wrists are not severely bent and you are not gripping the neck too hard, this should be enough to minimise any potential injuries.
  4. Skybone


    Jun 20, 2016

    The "Ideal Angle" for your Bass to Dangle is different for everyone. You just have to find where and how it sits the most comfortably for you.

    It would also go hand-in-hand with how high or low you have your bass when you have it on a strap.
    Frampton likes this.
  5. thewildest


    May 25, 2011
    As everyone suggests, there is no ideal angle, as different angles support different things/techniques. On the other hand, there are ideal practicing angles that will offer you more comfort and avoid recurring posture issues that could bring unnecesary fatigue to your muscles.

    I practice following what classic guitar players do: i am right-handed, so sitting down I would raise my left foot about 3/4 inches, sit the bass on my left leg and try to keep my right hand perpendicular to the strings. Like this I feel I have better access to all the instrument sections.

    One guy I see wears the bass when playing that shows good posture is Alain Caron. There are some photos of Jaco that also show that evasive “perfect posture”

    I hope this helps,
  6. Frampton

    Frampton Supporting Member

    Oct 9, 2010
    That’s a good point. I don’t play with a pick so I didn’t think of that. I vertical position would seem to be difficult to pick.
  7. tlc1976


    Aug 2, 2016
    Yes. When I started playing, I naturally started holding the bass neck closer to vertical, similar to Robert DeLeo but higher. #1 I was worried about smacking it on the low hanging light fixtures in my dad's house with already crazy low ceilings. #2 my 15 year old self thought it looked better if I held it straighter out. I got comfortable with holding it somewhere in between.

    Right now if I attempted to hold it high, I'd be back where I started, with the extremely low basement ceiling.

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