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sit or stand?

Discussion in 'Orchestral Technique [DB]' started by tww001, Jan 19, 2005.

  1. tww001


    Aug 13, 2003
    Telford, PA
    I always play sitting on a stool, at my lesson yesterday I had to stand, it was my first time standing and playing in over a month, and my intonation and tone were horrendous! I also had lots more difficulty than usual up in thumb position (not that I'm a competent thumb position player anyway ;) ). Does anyone else have this problem? Is it important for me to practice standing just as much as I practice sitting? Thanks.
  2. I had the same experience. That's why I now allways practice my solo material, scales and such, standing. I find it much easier to reaclimate to sitting than the other way around. I will usually practice specific orchestra stuff I am working on for an upcoming concert sitting, since I will be sitting when I play it. General excerpts I practice standing. Jazz I practice standing. Sometimes I sit if my back starts bothering me from bending over the bass for hours during heavy thumb postion practice.I believe it's best to be comfortable both standing and sitting since you never know what a particular gig may require, or if a stool will be avaiable or not (in case you forget yours, or it breaks while your using it).

  3. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    If you are expected to perform standing, it is important that you practice standing. Not only for your playing, but also to simply gain the endurance needed to play standing for extended periods. It may sound silly, but if you are not accustomed to it, you will struggle to play a 60 minute concert standing the whole time.
  4. Man, not to be redundant, but I wish ALL you youngsters would look into the Rabbath Stance! There's alot of material on this using the search function.
  5. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA

    Are you referring to his sitting or simply the use of the bent endpin?

    Rabbath is a converted Cellist, so there's plenty of reason for his approach. I am currently studying his fingering approach and it makes tons more sense to me than Simandl ever could. I have all pretty much thrown Simandl out.

    I have played some with my pin fully extended and using the wall as a stop to get some sense of the bent pin is for me. I haven't got there as of yet.

    As for sitting, I don't think so. It would drive me nuts.
  6. Rabbath does not sit.
  7. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA

    I was absolutely under the impression that he did. Why, I do not know.

    Although, George Vance's books (which I have) are pretty much an extension of Rabbath and Vance's stances are demonstrated standing, so that makes sense.

    The sum of my knowledge of Rabbath comes from net research. My teacher hates it. So, I kind of have to try it in secret. :) I have been looking for a teacher locally that teaches Rabbath and have even spoken with Vance as part of my search. No luck as of yet.

    There are some things I really like about Rabbath and others I have yet to get comfortable with.

    I think his hand/fingering approach makes all the sense in the world. But the bent endpin thing is more troublesome for me. I do appreciate the softness in touch that it allows, but having the neck in on my body seems awkward. I'm 6'4" with a 37" sleeve. It just feels like my elbow has no place to go.
  8. I don't see how you could come to all these conclusions if you thought he was sitting all this time. I'm not going into all the positve reasons for his stance since that's all been covered so many times here. The very least being the complete access to the E string with the bow and the most, being totally saving your back and body in general plus the ability to use all the fingers including the thumb of your left hand in the lower positions.
  9. Savino


    Jun 2, 2004
    I recently made the full on switch to rabbath's stance. I've been studying the method books for years on a stool but only now with the aid of the laborie endpin have i discovered the real fruits of this method. Once you become comfortable with the bent endpin the bass just stays in place. It really allows you to use your armweight to produce a fuller even tone over all the strings without using excess energy to hold the instrument. I would recommend this to anyone, especially people who find a stool beneficial. I had to give up the stool due to reoccuring back pain, and I'm only 28. The method books are great, as is the cd-rom but finding a teacher who has studied from Rabbath is key.
  10. dodgy_ian


    Apr 9, 2001
    Newcastle, UK
    i'm a jazz playa going backwards/sideways/whatever in to more classical stuff so I just stand all the time. Feels like too much of a change of technique sitting down so I don't bother. Looks a bit wierd when all the other guys are sitting down, but heck, my teacher said it doesn;t matter if i sit or stand and I'm to do whats comfortable so I am!! :)

  11. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    I've really been thinking about giving Rabbath a shot. I have a friend in Honolulu who switched a few years ago, maybe I could get a lesson or two from him. Mr. Rabbath himself comes here every so often as well.

    I played this friend's bass, with the bent endpin, in a concert, and it felt very natural and comfortable immediately. I can see its appeal.
  12. I've told you guys about my friend Joe Carver who was one of Francois' teachers in Paris. His mission is to sound like the bass pedals on a pipe organ. He's close! Two reasons: He owns one of the big Forster King George basses, but I think the Rabbath stance is a big reason because of the angle he gets on the strings! Fantastic!! :eek:
  13. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    OK, after a few e-mail exchanges with George Vance, I took my endpin down to the local welding shop and had them bend it at the recommended angle of 44 degrees. (Not 43 and certainly not 45!! :) )

    The bent endpin certainly changes the feel of the bass. There's no doubt at all about that. I can absolutely see why some are so attracted to the idea. I love the feel of playing arco in thumb position with this stance. I also see the advantage of E string access that Paul suggested.

    For me, however, there are some disadvantages, and I will have to decide if to proceed. The worst being the bass's tendency to "pogo" as Mr. Vance put it.

    With my height, there is about 14" of pin exposed below the bend. The bass is very difficult to keep stable. The other issue is that the length of extension along with the bend and the notch that locks it, is torquing the ebony endpin plug in my bass. There are little clips of ebony falling out of the hole every time I remove it. This has me quite worried. I am probably going to be forced to replace the plug.

    I think I will be forced to go with an EGG pin or Laborie if I want really get serious about this approach.
  14. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I noticed this about a year ago, and have updated my stance to be more "Cello-like", so that the edges of the bass are the only thing touching my legs. I've noticed that the worst dampening comes the closer you get to the middle of the back. Here's a pic that was taken only last night (!) that shows a pretty good representation of the stance. My teacher sits in a sort of similar position, only with his right leg extended to the floor so that he can bow.

    Attached Files:

  15. Savino


    Jun 2, 2004
    you might want to mess with the angle of your pin to alleviate the "pogo" effect. I found that happening as well when i bent the first one. it helps to have it kicking out to the left a bit instead of straight back. the bass's right upper bout should be resting somewhere around your left pelvic bone, just left of your belly button. (depending on the size of your shoulders.) the laborie pin definately makes things easier, but stick with that one for a while b4 you grab the drill. ;)
  16. LM Bass

    LM Bass

    Jul 19, 2002
    Vancouver, BC
    I'm a pretty dedicated stander. I have the bass very vertical when I play.
    I studied with Ken Friedman (principal bass VSO), who was a student of Fred Zimmerman, and with Gary Karr, who. .. well, he's Gary Karr! I haven't seen too many Rabbath players, but the stance looks natural and comfortable to me.

    Anyway, I haven't sat down to play in about 10 years, except to match the rest of the section on some orchestra gigs.

    Most of what I have to add has been written above, but I think those who sit should be careful to find the right height of stool, with the rungs in the right place. One of my friends, who plays in the Opera orchestra here in Vancouver, has developed a stool made out of an old bike frame. The rear seat stays make a triangle that is very stable, and he has a "frame" that holds the bass up with minimal contact to dampen sound.
    He sits with both feet flat on the ground, has no back pain, and there is no seat edge to cut off the circulation to his right leg. Looks whacky but it works.

  17. i spent about a year studying the Rabbath CD rom and his books and this is what i found.

    1) stance feels very comfortable in high registers but i couldn't get used to kind of reaching back for the lower notes on the G string.

    2) if you play german bow and have average size shoulders on your bass it is very difficult (impossible) to use the german hold and not bang into your bass on the lower strings.

    3) if you play jazz it is really hard to get a thick solid walking sound as the pizz fingers end up not being able to reach down to the "sweet" spot around the end of the fingerboard.

    so after a year of trying to sort out these issues out i went to a conservative classical teacher and have gone back to the Simandl/Karr school. its not perfect but it solves the problems above.

    i think the Rabbath stance could be great if you only play classical and French bow (like Rabbath!). i am still jealous of the advantagous use of arm weight with this stance.

    all these vastly varied approaches to the double bass kind of make me think that playing style is the key thing. kind of like industrial design - function dictating form.
  18. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA

    After another few hours on the bent pin, my initial impressions seem to match your observations somewhat.

    Reaching "back" for hP and having to fold up your arm to get there is a real gripe for me.

    I think Rabbath may be an excellent option for many players. But for me, I don't think it may be the best option.

    With my frame, I have no problem getting around on the bass. At 6"4", 240 lbs, it just isn't that hard. I get around the shoulders plenty easy with my long arms. My teacher laughs at me because the bass just doesn't seem that big with me playing it.

    I am going to keep my pin and continue to experiment with the stance. If I can get everything set up the way it is supposed to be, I may enjoy it more.
  19. a. meyer

    a. meyer

    Dec 10, 2004
    portland, oregon
    I also played that way for a few years. I stopped precisely because of the arm weight factor. I just got tired of holding my right arm up! It just doesn't take that much weight to play the bass. That stance does make it easier to get more left-arm weight into the fingerboard; I'm still trying to figure out a way to get that while standing.
  20. christ andronis

    christ andronis Supporting Member

    Nov 14, 2001
    I just had a lesson last night and was discussing this issue with my teacher. He uses a very low stool, but he also uses a "cello" like position when sitting. His recommendation was either to have both feet flat on the floor or both up on the rung, very much like what your picture shows. This was more to prevent back and neck pain. He didn't mention anything about the dampening effect you all have been talking about, but it makes sense to me.

    BTW, nice looking bass Chris :)