Opinions on playing with a low strap...

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by j-bass-kreep, Oct 28, 2003.

  1. I'm kinda new here so I don't know if this has been posted , but I was wondering whats your opinion on playing whit a low strap? Why is it wrong?Does it bring any wrist or back problems?
  2. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I dont do it because it hurts my wrist, and soemtimes my back.
  3. Slot


    Oct 17, 2003
    Sydney - The Shire
    Most of your practice is probably done by sitting down. All the muscles in your hands learn to adapt to this position, and therefore you are able to get the peak performance out of your hands and wrists while sitting down. Thats why people have high straps - Its so that their bass is in relatively the same position when standing as it is when sitting down.

    But once you stand up and hang your bass around your knees, you're utilising different muscle groups in your hands and wrists. Fatigue will hit earlier, your wrists may get sore, and i cant imagine that it would be good for the posture of your back either.

    But if you're used to it, and you like it - do it. Aslong as your out there playing and having fun, it doesnt really matter
  4. Mike Money

    Mike Money Banned

    Mar 18, 2003
    Bakersfield California
    Avatar Speakers Endorsing Hooligan
    it doesnt matter. if your comfortable, go for it.
  5. I play with the bass about a couple inches above my waste.
  6. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    Most people (not all) use poor posture when their basses are hung low. Watch them, most are hunched over, which is bad for your back (eventually). Another problem is that it frequently requires you to hold the neck of the bass with your left wrist at an extreme angle, which can eventually lead to carpal tunnel syndrome.

    You won't notice a problem playing this way when you're young, but as you get older, it will most probably harm you if you continue playing in this fashion.

    There is an article in this month's Bass Player, about the guy in Neil Young's band Crazyhorse. I was reading the article, the guy is fairly old and has been playing for many, many years, and he mentioned his chronic back problems. First thing that came to my mind was whether he wore his bass low. I turn back a page or two and look at the picture and sure enough, the bass was down past his belt.

    Take a look at the true bass masters, the ones who are incredibly technically proficient on the bass: Victor Wooten, Geddy Lee, Jaco Pastorious, John Patitucci, Stu Hamm, Nathan East, Marcus Miller, Gerald Veasley, the list goes on. Almost ALL of them wear their basses at or above the belt.

    Sure, there are some bass heroes that wear them lower . . . Flea comes to mind . . . but he's pretty big into showmanship and when playing live, and frequenty focuses more on jumping than playing the bass part without dropouts. I'll almost guarantee he's going to have back problems when he gets older as a result (if he doesn't already).
  7. Aussie Mark

    Aussie Mark I come from a land down under Supporting Member

    Oct 26, 2002
    Sydney, Oz
    Endorsing Artist: Fender; O'Neill Amps; Cave Passive Pedals
    I never take my basses into the bathroom.
  8. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    That's disgusting.

  9. secretdonkey


    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Rx: Lower it by about two inches and call me in the morning.

    :D ;)
  10. i carry my bass at hip -height, that i got long arms, and by doing so i get a straight wrist to pluck.

    i noticed the unnatral neck angle too that you see at many bassists with low straps, i keep the neck at bout erm must be 30° from horizontal.. kinda.

    see the picture.. thats bout my standing play position.. sorry for the bad quallity.. only got a webcam.
  11. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    IME, most bass players who wear their bass about 4 inches above their ankles;

    - never use their A/D/G strings
    - never go above the 5th fret
    - think that Fred "The Bitch" Durst is a musical genius
    - eventually have to
    go back to their true talent...asking if you'd like to supersize those fries

    Almost all the bassists who really smoke keep those strings where they can get at those strings, IME. Ryan Martinie could never pull that stuff off if his bass was on his thigh.
  12. Gard

    Gard Commercial User

    Mar 31, 2000
    Greensboro, NC, USA
    General Manager, Roscoe Guitars
    Please, please, keep playing with the bass below your waist.

    ...that means more work for me & my students when you end up with chronic carpal tunnel syndrome and a bad back!

  13. AAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrg you sadistic pig!!

    i'll remember you.. when i lay screaming with back-age..
    NOT.. you'd wish
  14. I wear mine maybe slightly lower than my junk, it feels good for my plucking hand at that height and also allows for that 'power strumming' position that we rock guys enjoy so much.

    If I need to play anything up above the 12th fret through, the bass comes up a few inches until I can reach what is required, so that's generally my position for bedroom practice. Also, I always practice standing up so this feels more natural than a higher strap position.

    In general, I agree, the guys more focussed on playing than showmanship wear their basses high, but that doesn't always go with the material they're playing.
  15. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    I play with the body positioned so that the control cavity plate usually rests right at belt/zipper level. Any lower, it sucks my left hand technique down the drain and gives my right hand a fit.
    I've got hiccup free access to all the frets and it's not fatiguing, so I leave my basses right about there. Dunno if it counts for "low." More like medium. Just a tad lower than belt level, I think.
  16. Joe Turski

    Joe Turski

    Jul 29, 2003
    Depends on the style of music played. If you play a heavier style that requires a pick, than a low waist placement would be more suitable. If your style is more of a jazz thing, placement of the bass should be above the belt. Reason being, it's easier to slap and pop and better for finger styling.

    I play with my bass really high up. Close to my nipples. I find it a lot easier for my style. When I slap and pop it gives my hand more control.

    I've tried to play lower when I was younger, but it drove me crazy!
  17. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    There's one for the "Luthiers Corner" forum - "The Bass Bra" !!!
  18. Hey now! I keep my bass at waist level, a little higher with my fretless and a little lower with my P-bass, but I still have Carpal Tunnel!!
  19. Eric Cioe

    Eric Cioe

    Jun 4, 2001
    Missoula, MT
    the bottom of my bass is just about belt height.
  20. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    I have yet to see a truly kick ass bassist play with his bass slung low. The extreme wrist angle can really destroy your technique. I used to think it was cool to have the bass sitting low, and now anytime I see anybody do it I think they're dolts.

    Kudos to Tim (Audioslave) and Ryan (Mudvayne) for not perpetuating the "low is cool" stereotype. Perhaps they will inspire a new generation of bass players that think playing with proper technique is cool. :bassist: