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"'Nerd level' bass height!"

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Ant Illington, Mar 5, 2018.

  1. Ant Illington

    Ant Illington I'm Anthony but I'm only illin' Banned

    That term made me laugh. I hope you laughed, too. I'm definitely at nerd level- see my avatar. The OP of another thread wrote that he raised his bass to "nerd levels" to help overcome his tendinitis.

    While he is obviously making light-hearted humor about his situation, I refrained from hijacking that thread to tell the kids that "nerd level" is ALL relative and thought I'd post some evidence for fun. The way you stand/move/dress/play/take care of yourself are the truly-decisive factors (of course, a bassist that isn't at "nerd level height" can look and play cool- nobody doubts that!). Feel free to add more cool bassists at nerd level heights.


    Of course, we start with the kings of cool, even at "nerd level"

    Victor Wooten and Anthony Wellington. If you don't like the music that you've heard of theirs, that's okay. They could play anything, look cool doing it and their cool demeanor would beat most others backstage and they'd get all the groupies if they were so inclined, at least the sane groupies.:)

    Screenshot_20180305-093459-picsay. Screenshot_20180305-095700-picsay.

    And the following bassist at nerd level? Forget about it. This guy probably has to beat them off with a stick after shows! If you're a young one and would like a higher proportion of fun, younger (legal) groupies with issues, you can go this route! By the way, listen with headphones, listen to a bunch of his live stuff. Listen for his fills. He's thrown down a lot of cool stuff from nerd heights. DNCE bassist, Cole Whittle (Berklee) .

    Of course we must acknowledge the workingest, friendliest TB'er at nerd level, fitting into his genre perfectly:

    Now for the real proof- before and after of the same bassist at same nerd level- Haircut 100 bassist, Les Nemes, then ("nerd") and now unquestionably cool...


    "Thank you for your indulgence." Remember, all, I'm at nerd level- this is not a bashing thread! It's a thread to validate that one can have "proper" technique and still be cool even if I'm a nerd.
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2018
    Bassbeater and Torrente Cro like this.
  2. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    Are you going to post pictures of people looking cool or just nerds?

    ;) :D
    saabfender and Bassbeater like this.
  3. BassCliff


    May 17, 2012
    So. Cal.

    At a park concert I played in Costa Mesa, when a female sound tech/stage crewmember saw my playing style, she told me about "the three b's" of bass position. I told her I was unfamiliar with those positions. She informed me, "Belly, Belt, or Balls." She didn't say if she had a preference. ;)

    Thank you for your indulgence,

    SLO Surfer, JRA, Bassbeater and 4 others like this.
  4. Frndmoretti


    Jun 17, 2017
    I guess I play medium. I once tried to play it on "nerd-height" and it turns out my arms are too long for it.

    Like a friend of mine who has abnormally long limbs and has to play guitar in punk-level low heights to feel comfortable.
  5. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    It makes sense for guys like Victor and Anthony to wear their basses high because of the right-hand techniques they use -- what with all the thumping and popping and whatnot. It also works well for playing with a pick, at least IME, because it is easier to "strum" perpendicular to the strings without having to bend your wrist. However, most photos of people playing fingerstyle on "nerd-high" basses make me cringe because of the severe bend it invariably creates in the wrist of the plucking hand, which not only increases fatigue and decreases dexterity but also risks injury.
    Nashrakh likes this.
  6. Spidey2112


    Aug 3, 2016
    Now, I have to think about what height my basses are at, while chasing the tone in y'alls head...
    Bassbeater likes this.
  7. Chicory Blue

    Chicory Blue

    Oct 9, 2016

  8. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA

    OK, that's MUCH more funny.... and less annoying.... than "Slappuh duh beeyuhs mon."
    Chicory Blue likes this.
  9. Bassbeater

    Bassbeater Guest

    Sep 9, 2001
    Sling low sweet chariot!
  10. Bassbeater

    Bassbeater Guest

    Sep 9, 2001
    _HunterB_ likes this.
  11. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    modified, neo-nerd here. i think. never played it "cool."

    maybe an unadulterated nerd.
  12. Bassbeater

    Bassbeater Guest

    Sep 9, 2001
    Edit: ...it turns out my arms are too cool for it.
    2saddleslab likes this.
  13. 2saddleslab

    2saddleslab Supporting Member

    May 30, 2003
    At 6'4" my Neanderthal arms would fall asleep if played any higher than belt height. Don't need a chin rest. But each should chose the best for them.
    Bassbeater likes this.
  14. Frndmoretti


    Jun 17, 2017
    It's probably as low as it gets
  15. honeyiscool

    honeyiscool Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2011
    San Diego, CA
    You notice that nerd level bass height is most common with furniture top basses. :)

    I mean it’s fine as long as you are playing fusion jazz or you want to look like you normally play fusion jazz and are just sitting in on this gig.
  16. AngelCrusher

    AngelCrusher Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2004
    Mesa Boogie, Tech 21, Taylor
    Sit down with your bass and play comfortably. That is where you want it when you stand - that's it.

    Does it look cool for a guy with short arms to hang the bass down below his waist? Not really, imo.

    There is no awkward wrist bend if you have it set up right.
  17. saabfender


    Jan 10, 2018
    When I was in my teens and twenties, I played at a very nerdy height. These days, it's probably a good eight inches lower. If I had to find a reason, it's be a side effect of trying to be a cool dad (an off-the-charts oxymoron, for sure).
  18. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    I'm tall, and used to play with my bass pretty low - Iused to have to find super long straps to get it there - it worked really well for power in my right hand technique.

    It seems I am moving my bass up somehwere between a half inch and an inch per decade. I think I may die before I'm at nerd height.

    Recently I played with a guitarist who plays at "Archie" height. If you don't know what I mean:

    Yeah, prety much as high as you can go without choking yourself. Archie is the guy on the left. The bass player is Reggie. Slightly cooler, as his bass is a bit lower.

    So, we all know that Mary Ann gets way more votes than Ginger. How about Betty versus Veronica? Any wotes?
  19. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Looking for a gig around East Islip, NY!

    Jan 13, 2008
    I'm definitely a "belly" guy. I like having access to the whole neck. My style is similar to how I've seen Juan Alderete play bass when he was younger, meaning my plucking arm sticks out a bit to allow my forearm to drop and keep my wrist straight as I pluck.

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