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Standing

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by Rob Sleeper, Jan 4, 2006.


  1. Rob Sleeper

    Rob Sleeper

    Oct 13, 2005
    Chicago
    Hi everyone,
    I currently play sitting and would like to learn how to play standing so I dont have to rely on the stool so much. Can you guys give me a description of how to play standing in a nut shell?
    Thanks so much,
    Rob
     
  2. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    There are a number of ways to stand while playing. The two most popular, I think, are called "open position" and "closed position" (that's what my teacher called them anyway). When I was learning about them I posted a lot about them here...do a search with those words and you'll find them maybe. Hope this helps!

    Oh yeah and check Bob Gollihur's webpage there may be technique links there
     
  3. bassbaterie

    bassbaterie

    Dec 14, 2003
    Houston Texas
    Director, Quantum Bass Center
    I was sitting to play for as long as I knew, then just in the last few weeks have been standing and whoa! Love it! It's a whole kind of choreography which is cool, except in some left-arm positions where it is just not stable against my body. Speculating that increasing my drinking enough to get a decent beer gut going will give the bass more to dig in to.

    Plus, now I don't get tired as fast, contrary to expectation, but maybe that is because it feels better to play and is so much more fun. It was a huge help with right-arm position and tone. Wouldn't want to advise you verbally on a standing position, but just can say it's a very nice place to be. Sitting will be refreshing on a long gig or in the orchestra pit.
     
  4. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    That's cool.

    I've been standing ever since I began trying to learn to play...and it was quite a chore expecially in starting. I'm sure learning to bow and finger notes for the first time didn't help much either but that's great.

    Have you tried the angled endpin yet?
     
  5. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    ummm, this is the sort of thing teachers are great for. They get to stand in the same room that you do, we don't. The only consistent thing about physical approach is that you should be able to play relaxed and tension free. That's gonna be different for a short tubby guy like me and a tall skinny guy, right?

    Basically you don't want to hold the bass up with your hand on the neck, it should balance enough that only the lightest force keeps it in place. We can type endlessly about this, but it's one of those cases where (after 15 pages) somebody in the same room can just go "here, like this".
     
  6. Rob Sleeper

    Rob Sleeper

    Oct 13, 2005
    Chicago
    Thanks alot Ed that helps
     
  7. bassbaterie

    bassbaterie

    Dec 14, 2003
    Houston Texas
    Director, Quantum Bass Center
    Yup, you can practice like the hounds of hell are behind you for weeks, and go into your lesson with a list of questions, and then find, when you get the visual on it, they are all answered within 5 minutes and there you stand picking your teeth for the next 55. ;)

    Nice clean teeth!

    If you don't have access to a teacher, hopefully you have a bass buddy? Your location isn't on your header. It helps to have anyone take a look at ya and straighten you out (literally, if you are all twisted up and leaning and stuff). Speaking of that, the Practice Room Mirror is a huge, huge help, practically essential. If you are in one of the few towns that has Ikea, they have h-u-g-e mirrors for like $30.

    Hey Johnny, Got 2 of those angled endpins on order from Robertson. :hyper: Tried that out and playing bass was like "slow dancing with an angel" (shades of Spinal Tap, but I can't help myself). Woo! I am in l-o-v-e with that deal.
     
  8. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Ontario
    :D

    Until you approach a teacher or bass buddy, you could just head over to the music store and flip through (or even BUY) the Evolving Bassist: Millenium Edition by Rufus Reid. The book is great to buy, IMO, but if you're just desparate for this bit of information, there are a couple of clear illustrations of him standing with the bass. Even better? Buy the DVD. And the book.
     
  9. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    Cool! and yes I agree angled endpins are very nice :bassist:

    I had a welder buddy bend my endpin for my Strunal a couple of years ago and played that way until I picked up my new bass a couple of months ago

    I miss getting to use it
     
  10. bassbaterie

    bassbaterie

    Dec 14, 2003
    Houston Texas
    Director, Quantum Bass Center
    Scoggan is set to drill the orifice for the CF endpins, up in Houston. If you get one for your new bass.
     
  11. Now I don't know if Rufus's millenium edition hs the same advice as the copy I've got (great book BTW - highly reccomended) but the standing position doesn't work for me. Many classical teachers reccomend sitting for the very reason that I changed my stance - not that the stance was wrong or bad but that it conentrates weight on one foot and can give you cramp in the legs. This is the stance - roughly speaking - where the bass leans and is supported from tilting by the left leg/knee which is forward of the right leg which tends to carry the weight. Many method books have photos of this stance.

    Ed is very right about body shape - and one of the local pros I admire who has impeccable technique is indeed short and tubby and his bass leans into him at quite an angle. I'm taller and very thin.

    There is also the Rabbath position to consider. This means making alterations to the bass endpin arrangement and I have seen this used with stunning results.

    You'll have got the message by now about a teacher, but what sparked my change of stance was not actually a teacher (I got commplemented on my stance) but Don Higdon on these boards. Don was discussing the pros of balancing the bass vertically and balancing yourself with evenly spaced feet with even weight on each. If the bass spins it is probably because your toes are pointing outwards too much - and be careful to get the height of the bass right. There is a bit more to this and Don took up Alexander technique and was so impressed he learnt it to the extent he is now a teacher. Several people on this board play this way. I know top UK pors who play this way. I think Ray P does when standing. It revolutionised my playing.

    But it's not for everyone. Like strings, you can't evaluate them until you've settled in although to try at all it is best to have en experienced eye to guide you or some methods will be rejected for lack of knowledge. I haven't tried offset endpins myself. I do know that when I began, I couldn't have made a decent fist of balancing the bass vertically whilst now it is completely natural and I stafy relaxed.

    Consequently you have some mutually exclusive choices to make. The end-pin settings and indeed design in each tend to be so different you ain't going to change on the fly - not that you would want to - and as I said, to do any well needs an investment in time, practise and a good guide.

    My experience has been that I think I started out with what was initially easiest for me (lean into body) and changed to what I find best but it may be I that I should get a laborie endpin and give that a try too. All this has been discussed before on this board. I'd beware of people who KNOW there is only one way to stand - but there are wrong ways. Hopefully Don might chime in with the Alexander Technique teachers perspective - you could PM him? Good luck.
     
  12. Rob Sleeper

    Rob Sleeper

    Oct 13, 2005
    Chicago
    Thanks everyone. Unfortunately my teacher now doesnt teach standing so I am out of luck.
    rob
     
  13. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    Cool yeah I've met him nice guy!
     
  14. bassbaterie

    bassbaterie

    Dec 14, 2003
    Houston Texas
    Director, Quantum Bass Center
    Stand up and practice a couple days, goof around with it, you may hit the way that works for you. Doesn't hurt! After you get over the awkward left-hand part and find a balance, it's real cool.
     
  15. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Ontario
    Something I just realized about my stance after reading the new posts here (which is directly from Rufus) is that it does, yes, result in all the weight being on one foot. I pondered this for a minute as to why I hadn't felt some sort of severe discomfort in longer practice sessions, rehearsals, and gigs...and I realized why -- I move around when I'm playing! That is to say there is a certain degree of grooving, dancing, music-based movement, etc. Now I'm not suggesting you do the foxtrot while playing the Dragonetti, but at your age -- 16, by your profile -- I don't see any reason why this would be impossible for you, or even difficult. Maybe once you get a few decades older it might get a bit more sweatiriffic, but try it out.

    And hey...at least you'll know by your own physical reaction as to whether or not you're really swinging! :)
     
  16. Rob Sleeper

    Rob Sleeper

    Oct 13, 2005
    Chicago
    YA but my problem is playing something in thumb position and getting back in regular position to hit the E, F# and then the G harmonic on the G string.

    Also vibrato is kind of tricky playing on the G string E , F# and then the G harmonic. Can you guys suggest anything?

    Thanks,
    Rob
     
  17. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Stay in TP. And probably play it on the D string up there, while you're at it.
     
  18. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    Hey Rob I woodshed this all the time it feels like!

    Yeah it's really, really nice to have the heel as a contact point for the thumb to play notes solid in that area...but the hand has to stretch out more thanks to there being more wood.

    The keys for me have been to 1) let the hand stretch out and 2) not be tense and squeeze the neck for it.

    Especially because my carved bass has a D neck my hand has to stretch more than if it were an Eb neck. Oh well everything has it's good and bad sides.

    Sometimes I bring the thumb up to free the hand and there was this song I was working on that had a thumb-position line over the heel area below the G harmonic...that can work too but you lose the heel/reference.

    You just gotta do what we all have to do man create scales that force you to move in and out of thumb position and do them slow with vibrato and be considerate to your gut brain and body and not let yourself get discouraged
     
  19. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Forget about the references. The only one that matters is your ear. Play the E - F# G with T-3-4 (T-2-3 if you aren't calling your thumb '1') if you're reaching down from above the string-octave. If you need a good vibrato on the E, the use your first finger (given that your thumb vibrato stinks, which mine does...). I would play it that way no matter where I was coming form or going to.

    TP is very usable, for me anyhow, down to about the thumb on C on the G string.