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Standing versus Sitting in the Low End World

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by creaturecalm, Mar 1, 2005.


  1. Ive been bugging out lately on the advantages of sitting down while playing at practice. I have yet to sit for a show but at some point can see myself sitting for at least a portion of a show.
    The benefits of sitting are,you get to use all four limbs. I find I can keep better time while tapping both feet. If you have a lot of pedals like me, you don't have to worry as much about standing on one foot while you're going from the left side distortion pedal to the far right volume pedal. Also you can hit two pedals at the same time. And if you have the crazy pipedream that I have, you get to play your synth pedals(one of those crazy things like the pedals on old school organs) On a physiological level, your body isn't working as hard fighting the universal laws of gravity so in a small way there is more energy for focused and creative thought that can be applied to playing. Plus if your sitting and a song comes up with not a lot of pedal dancing you can get up and rock out! The occaisonal downside is that on slow ambient songs it can be tempting to doze off. This has really happened to me in practice(probably the beer and reefer though combined with a long day and no hot chicks in the front row giving you the eye). I cant really think of too many other cons. Maybe if you've got a stool made of rock you might get a little uncomfortable.
    With standing, your always standing. Your feet and legs can get tired. You can fall over much more easily.
    I guess my conclusion is to have both options available for prime efficiency. Thoughts anyone?????????
     
  2. If I saw the bass player sit down during the show I'd leave. No question. Sit if you want to.....I'm outta there.......
     
  3. even if it was the most badass music you have ever heard.
     
  4. Even if Geddy himself sat down......

    Ok so maybe not if Geddy sat down....but you? Yes.... ;)
     
  5. Having just added a ramp to my already heavy-as-hell Warwick Thumb NT I am starting to realise that in future the wieght of ones' bass is pretty important - I couldn't believe it when I had my first band practice after my two week holiday just how damn heavy my bass is - BUT I still prefer to stand up when I play. I don't know the exact reason but I always feel like it's my optimum body position for playing - plus I get into a groove better with both feet planted on the ground - plus my picking and slapping action is best suited to where the bass hangs when I'm standing - that's it really. One thing I do do when I sit down is just work on scales - getting up close and personal with the fingerboard is no bad thing...
     
  6. I'm and old fart,and the only time I sit practicing, is when I'm first learning a new tune from CD. That way it is easier to push buttons on the player. I feel like it crowds me to play sitting, getting to the upper frets is rough sitting. As far as getting tired standing, move around a little, you don't have to go nuts, just a step or two now and then will keep your circulation going. My$.02

    John
     
  7. I don't like sitting down for playing, even for practicing, because my plucking hand is not in its best working position.

    Even when I do sit down for playing, my bass hangs from the strap. I sit kinda like a classical guitar player.

    Just don't use so many pedals. ;)
     
  8. Metal Mitch

    Metal Mitch

    Jul 14, 2003
    NJ
    Are you a drummer?

    What he said. Sitting forces you to bend the wrist, which hinders your playing and can lead to bad physical side effects in the long term.

    Sitting also tends to make me hunch over the bass. So another advantage of standing is keeping the back straight. While gigging after a car accident, I even found a way to use the weight of the bass combined with the strap location across my back to give me extra back support.
     
  9. ole Jason

    ole Jason Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    Louisville, KY
    There's no physical reason to not sit while playing. Classical guitarists have done it for hundreds of years. You certainly have to play with proper technique but sitting in and of itself is not harmful.

    I think it depends on the context of the venue and the style of music you're playing as to whether sitting is acceptable. Obviously, if you're playing in a heavy rock band in a bar playing high energy music it's going to look pretty silly for the bassist to be sitting there. On the other hand if you're playing in a small club or playing straight ahead jazz I think it would be okay. I've played with plenty of jazz guitarists that won't play any other way than sitting.
     
  10. i agree that if you are the bass player for Napalm Death and you are sitting, you'll probably get a stray beer bottle to the side of the head but there can be benefits if you have mastered the technique and your music is not about the "looks". I've seen some awesomely powerful music played by a bunch of people sitting down and ive seen some retchedly bad music played by a bunch of people standing up.
     
  11. lbanks

    lbanks

    Jul 17, 2003
    Ennui, IN USA
    I'm 52 and I'm havin' a seat, dammit!
     
  12. Works for him....

    [​IMG]
     
  13. NJL

    NJL

    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    if i'm the MD for the night, i need to stand so i can throw a nice solid backhand to the drummer with ADD when he messes up.

    if i'm just a sideman, i would rather sit, but it depends on what the guy who is sending me the check.
     
  14. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    I visualized this pic while reading post #8

    I use a strap when playing so seated or standing I have the bass in the same position. No detrimental effects. If your legs get tired from standing it's probably not the bass playing that's the problem. Same goes for any other body parts.

    I play basses that run the gamut from very light to very heavy and either way fatigue is a non-issue for me... something as simple as a well constructed strap takes care of the majority of that.

    I can see where this might be a problem for someone who wears the bass very low but I've never seen any benefit in doing that other than going for a "look".
     
  15. ^^ Exactly, Mr. Johnson.
     
  16. Metal Mitch

    Metal Mitch

    Jul 14, 2003
    NJ
    Ok, look at Mr. AJ's right wrist in the pic. It isn't bent.

    He's not doing the typical "hang my arm over the ledge of the body side" thing. Instead, he's got it wrapped around near the bottom of the body. Maybe I shouldn't have assumed, but IME that's a rather unusual position. And more power to him for finding a technique that works better for sitting.
     
  17. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    He's also not doing the typical "plant your thumb on the pickup" or "wrap your thumb around the neck" things either;)

    That's because he's figured out what works for him on that particular instrument.

    That pic is just one example of how to sit and play. Notice the footstool? Most people don't use one of those either.


    I play with a strap, seated or standing. Because of that, I hold the bass in the same position either way. I don't like playing without a strap. That's why I took exception to this:


    "Sitting forces you to bend the wrist, which hinders your playing and can lead to bad physical side effects in the long term.

    Sitting also tends to make me hunch over the bass. So another advantage of standing is keeping the back straight. While gigging after a car accident, I even found a way to use the weight of the bass combined with the strap location across my back to give me extra back support".


    Sitting doesn't make me hunch over a bass... why should it? Are you holding the bass in a different position from when you stand? Maybe that's the problem.

    Since I have the bass in the same position either way, if sitting was going to force me to bend my wrist... so would standing.

    Sitting doesn't "force" you to do anything as far as I can see.
     
  18. Heh! I don't think he COULD stand up holding that thing.....whoa!
     
  19. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    He's been sitting down for decades, even when he played his Fender Jazz.

    And that bass isn't as big as it appears.
     
  20. Metal Mitch

    Metal Mitch

    Jul 14, 2003
    NJ
    Ahhh, now we're down to the "crux of the biscuit" aren't we?

    I know it's the commonly instructed convention to hold the bass in the same position when sitting or standing. And that's why I see so many players wearing it so high it looks like they're gonna choke on it, with their arm broken into 3 sections at sharp angles.

    While this may work for you, I have to disagree that this is a "good thing". Wearing the bass lower allows me to straighten my arm and wrist, and do things with my picking hand that I simply can't do with a "broken" arm in the conventionally "correct" position. And it doesn't limit my left hand in any way.

    So at least for me, holding the bass in a different position when standing isn't the problem - it's the solution. And the next time a player from another band comes up to me after a show and asks "How do you play so fast?", I'll be happy to let you explain to them how I'm doing it all wrong. :smug: