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Standing... I am an oddball it seems.

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Saxn, Nov 17, 2010.

  1. Saxn


    Oct 23, 2010
    Nashville, GA
    Ok, so I have done a forum search and it looks like I am @$$-backwards from EVERYONE else in the world. Tonight I was practicing fretting for what seemed like the five billionth time, and after a while I stood up out of pure frustration, but I kept playing... and things immediately fell into place! Started pushing cleanly, no fret buzz, no awkwardness. Fantastic! Not sure if it's because I am used to performing that way on the horn (a psychological thing) or if it is a physical change of some sort.

    However, comma, I would really like to be able to sit while practicing because I take notes, reference the Internet... you get the idea. So while this is a great step forward, I was wondering if there are any out there that have had the same experience and might be able to shed a little light on (1) why this is the case and (2) some tips on what to do about it, if anything. I dunno, maybe I'll wind up getting a stand-up desk, but there MUST be a better way....

    There are many threads about people that are more comfy sitting than standing while practicing and playing, but nothing about the reverse that I could find.
  2. Jonny B

    Jonny B

    Nov 5, 2006
    Not that this helps you, but I always practice standing up. If I don't, everything seems just a touch awkward when playing live.
  3. I might sit when I'm just playing around, but I stand when I'm really working on a section that might be giving me trouble. That's how I'm going to be playing it later, so I figured that this was logical.
  4. Saxn


    Oct 23, 2010
    Nashville, GA
    Hehehe all right, so two votes for a stand-up desk, then :D
  5. Jayhawk


    Sep 6, 2006
    Kansas City
    That's what I have and it works well for me ... so three votes.
  6. Yeah, if I ever had notes to work from, I would totally get a stand up desk.
  7. Saxn


    Oct 23, 2010
    Nashville, GA
    Well, even if I soon won't need to constantly stare at the neck of the bass while fumbling around with it, or go to the 'net to look up a problem I'm having, I'll probably STILL want to have the option of quickly moving to the puter to start/stop practice tracks, record, and the like.

    I see a pattern emerging here... thanks for the input, guys. I guess I can just write off practicing sitting down? At least for now.
  8. hoshbrown41


    Jun 19, 2009
    I just have my strap set pretty close to where my bass would be if I were sitting - so I'm always on the same page.

    Too bad there isn't a way for you bass to hang low when you're sitting :/
  9. Saxn


    Oct 23, 2010
    Nashville, GA
    YES. I just got through doing a (rather anal) session of sitting and standing with the bass to figure this thing out. I think that it comes down to two things for me. First, the bass raises up a bit on my body when I sit since I'm a tall guy and my knees are pretty high . Second... as dumb as it might sound... I just feel more at home standing up when I play. I guess it's because I've always performed that way. Who knows? At any rate, I think the solution - for now at any rate - is just to live with it. I won't be able to be as lazy as I'd like, and I'll be sitting down and standing up a lot, but it feels good to have my number one problem (at the moment) licked.

    Thanks for everyone's input.
  10. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    Where do you put the bass on the strap? I have mine set so the bass is in just about the same place whether I'm sitting or standing. I don't find either way better.

  11. Skitch it!

    Skitch it!

    Sep 6, 2010
    +1 I do this too, though I'd say sitting, it's a bit higher, about an inch of slack in the strap.
  12. Saxn


    Oct 23, 2010
    Nashville, GA
    Standing up the body's bottom is right around my belt buckle area, but when I sit down the playing position raises up maybe a couple of inches. I guess if I raise it a little more it might not change at all. I'll play around with it a bit and see if I can't find some happy medium.
  13. I spent most of my playing career with a Bar stool to perch on when I needed it. The gigs would run 4 - 5 hours playing time, 5,6 or 7 nights a week, so I'd sit down during the early sets and stand when it got more rowdy later on. I recall one gig I did where I was jigging along to some cool stuff we were playing and the leader advised me to sit down during the early sets, else I'd be knackered later on when we were all expected to stand!!.

    Most bands I played in were Keyboard, Bass and Drum trios or if they were more then these were generally blowers who liked to sit down as well, so me standing up could look a little out of place.

    When backing cabaret acts, the act is the show so we would be "encouraged" to sit down at the back (on normal chairs) and in an orchestra pit - you have no choice!!.

    However, I found I played better standing up and I'd automatically slip off the stool for certain numbers where, say, things got a little technical. This, I decided, was because on a bar stool you aren't "anchorned" as securely as you would having both feet planted on the floor if you were standing up or sitting on normal chair and having to be concious of your balance whilst working out "which finger goes where" doesn't help matters.
  14. I always practice on my feet. It really hurts my shoulder when picking while sitting down.
  15. I think the problem is the same as with strap positioning. IME the lower you hang your bass the more your right arm will have a relaxed, natural stretch. On the reverse, some people experience a much more relaxed left hand position by having the bass higher. I can see why having the bass low makes life harder for the left hand as the neck needs to be angled a little more vertical, but both options leave you with problems that can be sorted out with practice.

    I pretty much always go low, as it is the option with the added benefit of looking cool:D

    When I practice I often sit, mostly for the extra level of concentration and playfulness, as well as having the wood closer to my ear. At rehearsals, however, I stand. Also, if I've just finished a new bassline I get up and play it through rehearsal style. This is not only because that is how I will perform the music live, but also because standing has a psychological effect.:eyebrow: I become businesslike and serious.
  16. makkE


    Jan 19, 2010
    Normandie, France
    My plucking arm is definately far too high if I sit down, and my left hand has trouble with the too horizontal neck. I always play standing up, wether practise or playing, with the neck angled up, so both hands find a happy medium.
  17. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller

    Sep 17, 2010
    Naples, FL
    I learn songs or write songs while sitting but always eventually rehearse them standing. My bass is higher when sitting but more noticeable than that is I rest it on my right leg (I am right handed) which brings the headstock closer to my body. I.e., my left arm doesn't have to reach out as far to finger the first three frets. When standing this always requires a greater reach. Not that this can't be overcome easily, but I'd rather overcome it during rehearsal than during the gig.
  18. pj-mike


    Nov 22, 2005
    Bridgewater, MA
    I always stand. It puts everything where is should be. It's a more natural position for me. If I sit, the neck angle changes, the bass shifts slightly to the side. There's way too much tension on the wrist of my plucking hand.
    Do what works best.
  19. Samsound


    Sep 28, 2010
    You can try sitting so your right hip (or left, if you're a lefty) is drooping off the edge of the chair. Probably not the best description, but the idea is to make your leg and hip greater than 90 degrees, and let the bass hang down your leg (with the strap). This may be too awkward, however, so you'll just have try it and decide.
  20. Chris K

    Chris K

    May 3, 2009
    Gorinchem,The Netherlands
    Partner: Otentic Guitars
    Standing is the way to go, if you can. To reach good posture (no bass the first time you try it): feet a little apart, toes pointing out, knees flexed minimally. the rest wil happen automatically: stretching the abdomen, relaxing arms and shoulders, stretching the neck etc. etc. Just let it all happen.

    A good alternative is to use an adjustable stool with saddle seat in the highest position allowing you to put your feet flat on the floor. Then try to copy the relaxation of the standing position described above.

    More info at:


    I'd be happy to receive comments through PM.

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