Left or Right of the Drums?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Big Benner, Dec 8, 2005.

  1. Hey everyone,

    Lately I have been setting up my bass amp and playing on ther stage right (the ride cymbal side of the average drummer) of our drummer. It's been fantastic! While I am looking for the nots on the fretboard, I can see my drummer and the rest of the band out of the corner of my eye. No need to change my head. I truly believe that I have become tighter with the drummer (and the rest of the band) because I can see where he is going before I hear it which means I can accent along with his accents.

    Anyone else do this?

    I've encountered some problems when my band plays with others bands and the sound men don't want to switch sides of the stage to accomodate my preference (I understand this and don't blame them). I wish more bass players would try this,... I really believe that they would like it better.

    What side do you prefer? Have you experimented with both sides of the stage?


  2. discoboo

    discoboo Guest

    Dec 25, 2002
    charleston, sc
    i prefer to be on the hi hat side.
  3. How come? Not that it is wrong,... I just want to know if I'm missing something that I didn't think of? Anything to get a better performance.

  4. peabody

    peabody Supporting Member

    Oct 31, 2002
    La Crosse, WI
    I have always been on the left of my drummer. For no better reason than that's how we started (back in the 70's) and that's what is comfortable. A couple of years ago we had the chance to be one of the two bands opening for Chicago. We had to use the backline of the band after us and their bass player (thus his amp) was on the drummers's right. It threw me off all night. It just didn't "feel" right. Play where you feel comfortable....
  5. Ray-man

    Ray-man Guest

    Sep 10, 2005
    Eye contact with the drummer. Plain and simple.
  6. Peter Squire

    Peter Squire Guest

    Aug 22, 2004
    Adelaide, Australia
    May I clarify? Are you talking about stage left and right? I always play stage right (the high-hat side). I'm a lefty and this can cause some issues when the stage is postage stamp size, but otherwise, its where I always set up.
  7. Unless I've had this wrong for the last 50 years, if you are playing hi hat side of your drummer (unless he is a left hooker too!!) you are playing STAGE LEFT of the kit and NOT stage right. :rollno: :rollno:

    My preferred position too, for exactly the same reason as Ray-man ;) ;)
  8. ashbory


    Jun 13, 2000
    Being on the hit hat side gives me the advantage of not hitting the singer in the head with my headstock on small stages.
    I just look over my shoulder at the drummer for ******** endings.
    I usually prefer to look at the floor than the drummer anyways. :)
  9. Peter Squire

    Peter Squire Guest

    Aug 22, 2004
    Adelaide, Australia
    I'm confused now, sorry. I always thought that stage right and left meant how you looked at a stage from the audience point of view.

    Is that wrong? If it is, then yes, I'm stage left....

    I've only been in this game for 20 years, apologies...
  10. Juniorkimbrough


    Mar 22, 2005
    Mississippi / Memphis, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland Basses
    i prefer to be on the ride cymbal/floor tom side also......for the exact reasons you said, eye contact with the drummer and rest of the band.
  11. No, the "stage right/left" is from the actor's/artiste's perspective, not the audience's. :)
  12. It's true. It's from the actor's POV.

    I think I'll try this sometime. Being closer to the hi hat makes it easier to hear the drummer, but is that better than seeing the drummer???
  13. Diggler


    Mar 3, 2005
    Western PA
    I am in the middle. Right in front of the bass drum.
  14. This way the drummer is facing you as he is focused on the hi hat and snare....which he is constantly hitting. My drummer prefers this. I don't care either way as I rarely look at the drummer, I feel/hear him. If I have to stare at him he is a poor drummer with timing issues.
  15. Tingly

    Tingly Guest

    Jul 16, 2005
    Yonkers, NY
    Stage right, where I can watch my drummer like a hawk (I play right handed).

    On some of those downbeat accents, you can cut the timing exquisitely fine with simple line of sight.

    I know we are all supposed to have perfect timing, but if you are just "hearing" the kit, you BOTH have to be "right on."

    Plus, there are beats that require your anticipation. It can be somewhat easier to make an error, if you can't see the drummer's hands and feet clearly.

    Diggler, I don't know how you do it. The last time I was in front of the bass drum for an entire evening (due to a short guitar cord) I drove home with a migraine.
  16. discoboo

    discoboo Guest

    Dec 25, 2002
    charleston, sc
    i prefer the hi hat side because the drummer is hitting the hi hat more often than the ride so it helps me lock in with him better. plus, he's usually looking in that direction so if i have to get his attention he's right there.
  17. Yes yes yes! Line of sight baby! When I am standing on the ride cymbal side BOTH my fretboard AND my drummer are in my line of sight.

    I just came back from a rehearsal at a rented space with rented backline, and after moving the 8x10 cab, helping the guitar players move and set up,... first tune and it all payed off! I was just sooo tight with my drummer. I was hitting the punches along with his crash cymbals, hitting all the accents, rehearsed or not. I had a view of what he was going to do before I heard him do it (which would have been too late) and I could nail it along with him.

    I really suggest every bass player try setting up so that your fretboard AND your drummer are in the same line of sight. If you don't like it, switch sides. But do give it a try. I did and now I won't go back.
  18. spidersbass

    spidersbass Guest

    Nov 29, 2004
    Downtown L.A.
    i have a wireless system, so if i'm not running back and forth on stage, i'm in the mosh pit. but my stack is on the hi hat side, stage left
  19. Hookus

    Hookus Guest

    Oct 2, 2005
    Austin, TX
    One band I play in has a lefty drummer. So I play on his right, and I get the best of everything!
  20. Mark Wilson

    Mark Wilson Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    Toronto, Ontario
    Endorsing Artist: Elixir® Strings
    I prefer the hi-hat side as well. I find that when the drummer hits the hat, the sound shoots out toward me. Plus, drummers always seem to look down towards the hi-hat. Weird kinda thing...
    Also, the h-hat's quieter than the ride. So I can yell at the drummer, and he'll be able to hear me :D