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So I'm Giving Up my Stool...

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by Charles Shores, Jul 27, 2005.

  1. Charles Shores

    Charles Shores Commercial User

    Jul 26, 2005
    Today I had the worst back pain I've ever had. I usually sit on a stool when I play, I have been for a little over a year now, but my back pain has continued to increase over time and I've decided that I have to give it up. I tried Sitting in different positions on the stool, as suggested here on TB, but nothing was useful to me.

    Pros of Sitting:
    See the fingerboard better
    Easier bow pressure
    Don't have to worry about the bass falling

    Another thing to lug around
    My left leg dampens the sound so much that that is 40% of the reason why I'm switching

    I noticed a huge increase in the body of my tone when I stood up.

    The only cons that are really going to take effort to overcome are: balancing the bass without using my thumb (the reason I switched to sitting in the first place) and re adjusting my intonation. The balance part will be the hardest. Can you ever get it completely balanced so that, like sitting, you dont have to worry about the back of your thumb slowing you down on those huge shifts because you're scared about dropping the bass?

    Thanks for any help!

  2. Bassist4Life


    Dec 17, 2004
    Buffalo, NY
    Here is one possible solution: Check out Francois Rabbath and his playing position. He uses an angled endpin.


  3. Pcocobass


    Jun 16, 2005
    New York
    Hey Chad,

    I think your pros for sitting are misleading you a bit anyways...

    1. Comfort - You can be just as comfortable standing as sitting, you just have to get used to it. Just make sure you set your weight evenly on both feet, don't lean all your weight on one leg or the other (as some method books suggest) or you'll just get more back pain.

    2. See the fingerboad better - You shouldn't have to look to know where you are! ;) Get out of that habit early. Try to use your ears more to make sure you're in tune instead of your fingers. It's never reliable, especially if you have more than one bass, since their all cut differently.

    3. Easier bow pressure - You can get good pressure standing properly, as well. Do you use German or French? I personally switched to German from French (which I originally trained on) because I felt that the German afforded more pressure naturally because of the grip. Maybe you should try that, too (just a suggestion).

    4. Don't have to worry about the bass falling - Balancing the bass while standing is possible. Again, you just need to find the right setup. The reason you're comfortable sitting is because you've done it that way a lot. It'll take time to get comfy standing, but I think it's worth it, especially if you play any jazz. Sometimes you don't have room enough for a stool! Also, if you're comfortable standing, using a stool every now and then will remain comfortable.

    I used to get a lot of back pain when I first started playing, too. Mostly because I stood in all cockeyed positions with my weight all shifted this way and that. This might be your real problem. Just don't transfer it to your standing position.

    Anyway, hope this rant helps, and welcome to TB!
  4. jmpiwonka

    jmpiwonka Supporting Member

    Jun 11, 2002
    all the time i was taking lessons i never decided a stool was worth carrying around. so i am perfectly comfortable playing pizz or arco standing. sitting is a little funny to me though. i usually let the bass lean on my hip a little so it didn't have to completely balance on my thumb and if you go up to thumb position just let the neck rest on your shoulder, no big deal.
  5. Justin K-ski

    Justin K-ski Supporting Member

    May 13, 2005
    Al Lazlo (Cincinatti) uses a brick with a rubber tipped pole sticking out of it to balance his bass. The back of the bass is balanced between the hips and the brick so the bass supports itself completely hands free.
  6. anonymous8547j7d7b

    anonymous8547j7d7b Guest

    Jul 1, 2005
    One of the first things I ever covered in high school lessons with my teacher was how to stand correctly so that the bass was supported completely (look no hands!). Rufus Reid has some pics of this in "Evolving Bassist". I'm sometime stool user myself - stopped because of pain as well. I think in my case though it was because I have a relatively small bass & ended up having to slouch a little to get the right positions for both hands. Playing a largeer bass "stooled" doesn't seem to create the same situation & problem - but then, we're all different shapes & sizes!
  7. dhadleyray

    dhadleyray Guest

    Dec 7, 2004
    My teacher from the Royal College of Music does both, but he teaches the Alexander technique. I noticed his wooden seat or stool, has the front legs cut srorter than the back. I asked him about this and he said it was to keep the pelvis aligned better to avoid back problems. I wonder if that would help? :)