Performing on stage

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by 0scar, Apr 13, 2005.

  1. 0scar


    Jul 11, 2003
    I thought of myself very highly as a bassist ;) until I realized that it's somewhat hard to play it while standing up (because I always practice sitting down). I set my strap high, which sort of helped, but something still feels uncomfortable/awkward. Since the kind of music I play is metal and the band I plan to join is greatly influenced by metal, I obviously can't just stand there and play with a blank look on my face. This is my problem, I feel uncomfortable playing standing up. I feel almost like I can't move around and I'm not really sure why, it might possibly just be me being self-concious. What should I do? I'm sure practicing standing up would help, but I'd like more advice. Anyone with similar experiences who learned to overcome this? :help:

    Thanks in advance
  2. 0scar


    Jul 11, 2003
    Also, for example, my heaviest influence is Ryan Martini of Mudvayne. That man plays the sickest, complicated riffs while still managing to jump around on stage and have awesome stage presence.

    I don't think I'll ever be THAT crazy, but that's just an example.

    Thanks again
  3. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass ****

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    Playing and performing are sometimes two different things. Most musicians listen with their ears while many of the audience members listen with their eyes. If you want to have a specific kind of "stage presence" then you need to practice it, just like anything else. Many R&B singers(Britney,Christina, the list goes on and on and on)don't actually sing alot of their lines because their dances are to demanding physically and the "show" is more important. Keep that in the back of you mind..
  4. Simple. Practice standing up instead of sitting down.


    Jan 25, 2005
    Phoenix, AZ
    I agree w/ everything you said, but uhmmmmm, Britney and Christina don't immediately come to mind when I think of R & B :eyebrow:
  6. johnvice


    Sep 7, 2004
    Once you get past how cool you look with your bass strapped on practice standing up and see how you look.

    I am not saying this out of vanity, I am saying it to be realistic: if you want to work on your physical performance aspects, you have to see what youa re doing.
  7. permagrin


    May 1, 2003
    San Pedro, CA
    Like angthing else, if it's not natural you have to work on it. Here's a stream of thoughts:

    Practice while standing. Then try walking around while playing, pace the stage like you own it. Groove with the line, project the bass line with your whole body, not just your hands. Move the bass while playing (e.g., lifting the head of the bass and swinging it down as you hit the note like you'd do to signal a drummer for the final tag on a song). Adopt rock star poses. Make faces. Smile and wave to/point at your friends. Little kisses/winks to the good looking chicks (like you're both in on a little secret, like yeah there's all these people here but I'm playing just for you, baby). You'll find it easier to do most of these things while playing more straigtforward lines, when things are more intricate there's nothing wrong with standing in one place to execute a difficult passage. The larger the stage, the more exaggerated your movements. Practice goofy things like pointing at folks or raising a fist while playing open strings, playing with your left hand on top of the neck, exaggerate a strumming motion with your right hand, even up to Pete Townsend windmills. Lean back. Lean forward.

    I was in a heavy metal LA band in the late 80s/early 90s where we had choreography for a lot of this stuff, sometimes during difficult passages, and it took a good deal of practice to get it down. Other times I'd "dumb down" the bass line to allow me to do some bit of headbanging/hipshaking/(whatever you call moving our guitars around in tandem). And a lot of the lines where simple, driving, one-pitch eighths or sixteenths, and keeping those notes perfectly synched with the drummer could be a challenge when performing rock star poses. I guess I'm just saying it's not as easy as it looks, but you have to make it look easy, second nature. Remeber Warrant? throwing their guitars around their backs, playing on their knees, on each others shoulders, etc.? They had their show together way more than their music, and the girlies loved it.
  8. baba

    baba Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2002
    3rd stone from the sun
    Ding, we have a winner. Never practice sitting down again. I only sit when I'm learning a song by play/rewind. Standing and grooving is completely natural and preferred.
  9. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    I agree with the great advice above, but if it doesn't work, just cite the late great John Entwistle as your main influence, and claim to be providing "stability" amidst the chaos! Skeleton body suit optional. ;)
  10. adisu

    adisu I admit it, I'm a "user"

    Apr 8, 2005
    FIrst of all you did good by setting the strap high.
    billy sheehan says in his video lesson that many bass players
    can't do their moves because the guitar going down too low when they stand up while they used to sit and play.
    So he recommends to set the strap while you are sitting and the guitar is in a comfortable position then when you stand ,it will stay in the position you used to play it.

    It's still gonna' be harder then the sitting position but the all basic placement of the guitar will be more familier to you.

    If it's to high and you don't like it because it interrupt your show then you'll have to start practise playing the guitar while standing.

    No easy way i guess.... :rollno:

    good luck :bassist:
  11. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    I'll try to add something useful this time. You might find your bass doesn't feel comfortable or balanced on a strap, which can inhibit playing and moving on stage. For example, some basses feel fine sitting, but when you stand up, the headstock moves away from your body, creating a long reach to first position, and a reach further across your body for your plucking hand.

    This happens with my DiPinto Belvedere Standard semi-hollow, so I need to wear it a little higher. It also has a thicker body, which makes it slightly more awkward than some others. Don't get me wrong, it's a great playing bass, but these ergonomic issues are magnified when standing and trying to move on stage, just like ergonomic problems in a car are magnified during performance driving. It sounds (and looks) so awesome that I gig with it anyway.

    My Am. Ser. Jazz, on the other hand, is more comfortable and balanced, so I can move around more easily on stage. It never gets in the way, and definitely helps the visual aspect of my performance. And if a set isn't going well, I'll sometimes switch to it from the DiPinto to make things a little easier, and it helps. That's why I usually bring the Jazz if I can only bring one bass to a gig.

    Finally, to state the obvious, a lighter bass will facilitate good stage moves. I once had a '99 Am. Deluxe Precision with a lightweight ash body, and it would have been fantastic in this respect.

    As in most areas, technique is far more important than gear, but all else being equal, an ergonimically friendly bass can make a difference.
  12. If you want to see some stage movement watch some Sick of it All, especially pete (the guitarist) spin kicks gallore

    And practice playing standing up :p
  13. +1 mohawk

    Get a signature move that no one else in the band, or the bands around you can do. I for instance have been doing gymnasics for 5 years, so a backflip off my amp is a nessessity, A lighter bass would help me, but I like my warwick the way it is.

    Another bassist i know never stands on the stage, he just sets up with a cordless PA system and wanders out to the middle of the crowd with a hat, glasses and hit bass hidden by a jacket, when the music starts he takes it all off, the audience around him goes nuts!

    And one more example, this guy I went to see a while ago in melbourne had the Les Claypool Hop down pat, everyone loved it, so theres a tip. If all else fails just pull some claypool!
  14. phxlbrmpf


    Dec 27, 2002
    Practise playing "I will survive" while jumping up and down, it can be done with some practice. :D

    I'd start out with practising walking around while playing, it's not very demanding, but will give you some stage presence (the stage you're playing on needs to be big enough, of course.) That alone will give you some stage presence, nothing is more boring than a pop/rock/whatever musician who always stays glued on the same spot.
  15. Big freakin' +1.