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Is this normal

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by Rob Sleeper, Mar 2, 2006.


  1. Rob Sleeper

    Rob Sleeper

    Oct 13, 2005
    Chicago
    Hey everyone,
    I am just learning to stand while playing after how many years of playing with a stool and let me tell you I really like it a lot. Just one question, since I am just beginning to stand, is it normal for the left hand to hurt a little bit? I am doing everything right technique wise. Do you guys think that I just need to get use the the feeling more?
    Thanks
     
  2. If your left hand is hurting more than when you were sitting, I think your stance may be a little off balance, and your thumb is supporting too much of the weight of the bass. It does take a little experimentation to find your balance point, but try to get it where there is a minimum amount of pressure on your hand, and the bass will almost stand by itself for a second before tipping.
     
  3. bassa

    bassa Guest

    Jun 16, 2005
    hey, sleeper,

    how you doing there? i, too switched from half a lifetime of sitting to standing. the key is: DON'T HOLD THER BASS WITH YOUR LEFT HAND - not much anyway. and don't "squeeze" the string between thumb & finger. just like sitting, the weight of your arm should be the main factor in stopping the string.

    the delight of standing is that you get to really become at one with the instrument. it almost feels like dancing! i find i move about quite a bit when i stand to play, shift weight from foot to foot. i nestle the bass in front of the iliac crest (hip bone) - probably helps that i'm no longer skinny. in thumb position i let the neck rest slightly on my collar bone. the idea is to free up both arms as much as possible. the huge advantage over sitting is in the bow arm since you can get your right shoulder out in front of the bass, making more sound with less effort.

    of course if you are in a confined place, you can't dance too much - might bump into someone!

    let us know how you are faring!
     
  4. I, too, move around a lot when I play. It helps to keep me relaxed, and also seems to make it easier to follow the music as I play it. I should try to play without moving, just so I can tell the difference, but after a few minutes, I would forget and start dancing again. After all, music is not only an audible art, but also a visual art. If you expect people to dance, you need to be the first one to do it.

    As for the thread topic, my advice is just to stay relaxed, whatever it takes. Eventually you'll find a place where it all feels comfortable.
     
  5. Anon2962

    Anon2962

    Aug 4, 2004
    From my experience I couldn't disagree more - when i changed from standing to sitting, not only did i find it MUCH easier to create a big, clear sound, but i found the amout of energy i was using per practice session was much less.

    I found that the fact that you move less when sitting (but not without moving at all) means i use less energy and become more aware of the more important movements, that of my arms and hands.

    As for the bow arm, when i was standing i found it very easy to raisy my shoulder to 'push it in front of the bass', however, since i'm sitting now, i found it much easier to keep my shoulder and elbow 'dropped' and relaxed.


    But I guess both sitting and standing can be taught and learned well. one of the big reasons that i wanted to change originally was that i didn't feel comfortable being the only one standing in orchestra, and yet i couldn't sit comfortably. but since i've been learning with my latest teacher, i don't think i'll ever go back to standing.
     
  6. Rob Sleeper

    Rob Sleeper

    Oct 13, 2005
    Chicago
    Cool thanks everyone
     
  7. I'm with maccarthy on this. I played standing for five years before switching, and the improvement was vast and immediate. I think it's good that you are trying new approaches, but if something hurts and you can't get it to not hurt, then that's not a good thing.

    Playing bass should be as easy and painless as possible. For me, standing always complicated things.
     
  8. nw basser

    nw basser

    Mar 6, 2006
    So i've had probably 20 lessons or so with Daxun Zhang, and here are the tips he's given me for stance.

    You and your bass should make the shape of an A, this meaning that you're leaning into your bass and it's leaning into you. Essentially, you're both supporting each other. When holding the bass directly vertical next to you, it should seem a little high and the nut should be a little above your eyes.

    Also feet positioning is very important (especially if you move while you play) Like Daxun, i keep my feet a little more than shoulder width apart (but this varies as i move my feet...google video edgar meyer and you'll see him practically dancing with the bass playing the third movement of his concerto) Make sure you're not making a 90* angle with your heels (your left foot is normally inclined to turn out to "support" the bass easier).


    So yeah, that's my 2 cents...cya in school Robert SLeeper.
     
  9. Wow, thanks, I had no idea there was a video of Edgar on Google Video. Yeah, I got to see him play his whole concerto in concert in October......just amazing. He really does move around a lot on stage....more than even some violinists do. Then, somewhere in the middle of the second movement he stuck his hand in his pocket, fished around for a while.....and pulled out his rosin. While the orchestra was playing, he rosined his bow up, before jumping into more craziness....I've never seen anything like it.

    By contrast....another great standing bassist, Gary Karr, plays with his bass almost completely straight, with minimal movement. I think both playing styles are fine....whichever is more comfortable is what you have to go with.

    And I'm sorry for the long, irrelevant story....just never really got over the awesomeness that is Edgar's music.
     
  10. Rob Sleeper

    Rob Sleeper

    Oct 13, 2005
    Chicago
    nw basser Do I know you?

    Also about the video of Edgar Meyer playing his concerto in D that was just awesome! Edgar Meyer is for sure just one of a kind!
     
  11. nw basser

    nw basser

    Mar 6, 2006
    yeah you know me Robert.


    I'll give you a hint ~ i might be first chair at your school.
     
  12. bassa

    bassa Guest

    Jun 16, 2005
    paul cannon & maccarthy,

    i think the difference is that i'm a petite female. when i sat i was behind the strings so that the weight of my relatively light arm couldn't come into play. we gals have a lower center of gravity & narrower shoulders which certainly affects body mechanics. i'm retired now - if i was still toiling in the orchestra pit i would probably still be sitting for those lobg, long gigs.
     
  13. Rob Sleeper

    Rob Sleeper

    Oct 13, 2005
    Chicago
    Hi Timmy!
     
  14. Rob Sleeper

    Rob Sleeper

    Oct 13, 2005
    Chicago
    Wow Tim talk about a small world! Mr. Extended finger board

    Peace
     
  15. Anon2962

    Anon2962

    Aug 4, 2004
    I'm not too sure I understand. I've seen beginners as young as 10 playing sitting with both feet on the ground. (on drum kit stools..funny). But i guess you've tried it and it doesn't work for you. is your Finkl bow german or french pattern? Now that i think of it i've only seen the kids playing with french bow..