Strap length different for fingers and picks?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by krfoss, Nov 3, 2017.

  1. krfoss

    krfoss Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2007
    Orange County, CA
    Am I the weird one here (for this specific reason, and this reason only)?

    I like the bass super high for finger playing, but I feel comfortable using a pick at or just below my belt line.

    Does anyone else do this, or should I suck it up and get used to one or the other?
  2. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    Nothing is written in stone. Everyone has their own personal preferences...just like they have for the strings they use..the bass they use..etc.

    Having said the above, playing finger style with the bass slung very high can lead to injury problems with the plucking hand, as the wrist is bent at a fairly severe angle. From an injury aspect, a general compromise would be to have the bass body at about belt buckle all times. If the bass is worn too low, then the fretting hand suffers, as it becomes bent.

    Anyway, like I each their own. :)
    Lobster11 likes this.
  3. ditto what fearceol had to say - he is our expert on this kind of stuff. Any acute wrist angle will end up being a problem. If your wrist hangs in a natural angle go for it, if not there will be problems.....
    Killed_by_Death likes this.
  4. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    Different techniques sometimes call for different instrument position.
    There's a song my current band does where I have to move the rear strap button to a shorter hole in the strap so I can reach one particular odd interval in the intro.
    Do whatever works as long as you aren't hurting yourself, as others have pointed out.
    mikewalker and fearceol like this.
  5. tlc1976


    Aug 2, 2016
    I'm a beginner at a pick, but I'm finding the opposite. Need the bass much higher for pick playing. Eventually I might be able to do it lower. Considering I can play at almost any height fingerstyle, but prefer it lower. It would be a big advantage to be able to play either way without changing strap height.
    gebass6 likes this.
  6. krfoss

    krfoss Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2007
    Orange County, CA
    I think this is really good advice. I've been playing high for a long time with my plucking wrist at a noticably weird angle, but its never hurt. Oddly enough, to split the difference between my fingers and pick height makes my wrist feel more awkward.
  7. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    This does not mean that it won' some future time. Things like RSI take time to become apparent. That's why it is called Repetitive Strain Injury. It only happens through constant repetition over time. When a person finally realises there is a problem, often the damage has already been done and a visit to the doctor or other medical professional is the order of the day. Prevention is better than cure and playing with straight wrists will help minimise the chances of experiencing the above scenario.
    MYLOWFREQ, Lobster11 and MonetBass like this.
  8. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    What he said. This is serious s***, no kidding. And while you're at it, you might want to take a good look at your fretting-hand technique to make sure you are keeping that wrist as straight as possible as well.

    The position of the bass that you like for pickstyle -- "at or just below my belt line" -- is also ideal for fingerstyle. You want to maintain a straight line running from your elbow to your plucking fingers, with your forearm basically parallel to the bass body and your wrist straight.
  9. Wfrance3

    Wfrance3 Supporting Member

    May 29, 2014
    Tulsa, OK
    Nope. Same height either way.
  10. Eric Swaim

    Eric Swaim GOD, U.S. MIlitary, Country Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2004
    Murfreesboro, TN
    To each his own, however, I play play both pizzicato and with a pick all at the same strap length. But then again, I have been playing for 38 years.
  11. Both Mark King and Wojtek Pilichowski wear their basses extremely high to most easily get their thumbs parallel to the strings for optimum "slap bounce". I don't even have a strap I could adjust to get that high! :laugh:
    Just for contrasts sake here's Krist Novoselic. :laugh:
    Road Hat likes this.
  12. krfoss

    krfoss Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2007
    Orange County, CA
    It seems like a lot of jazz players play up high. If it were a problem for all people at all times, wouldn't it be likely that they would stop.

    Thanks for the feedback everyone!
  13. catcauphonic

    catcauphonic High Freak of the Low Frequencies Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2012
    Seattle WA
    Interesting, as I was most comfy doing the opposite of how you prefer when I first picked up a pick ( the strap a notch or two higher to keep the pick parallel to the strings.) Now that I've been almost exclusively picking these days, I Just leave the strap the same length for both ... which is a notch or two higher I guess.
    Lobster11 likes this.
  14. telecopy


    Dec 6, 2009
    I wear the strap all the time. When I stand up the instrument doesn't budge. I like that high, almost in arm pit spot.
  15. Not for me, but I could see it.
    I gots my own weirdness going on. :wideyed:
  16. You can also experiment a bit with keeping the headstock higher or lower. I prefer having the headstock up higher than the norm as I find it works better with my fretting hand/wrist. It also allows me to have a straighter plucking hand as well. The thing that kinda bugs me is the relatively coarse adjustment that typical straps have. I’d like to go a little lower but find that the next notch 1” down is too big a step.
  17. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    I know people who punch extra holes in their straps to switch as needed. If something I'm playing is way difficult, I'll sometimes go up to a higher position. But it's unrelated to whether I use a pick or fingers.
    Waltsdog likes this.
  18. Waltsdog

    Waltsdog Supporting Member

    Feb 21, 2009
    Ottawa, ON
    I move mine up and down depending on the song sometimes.
    I’ve never settled on a set strap length for any technique, just wherever feels right on the day.
    krfoss likes this.
  19. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    Perhaps they are unaware of the consequences of playing with bent wrists. ;)
  20. gebass6

    gebass6 We're not all trying to play the same music. Supporting Member

    There's Punk and Rock picking.........And then there's the Anthony Jackson kind of picking.

    Rock and Punk tends to has the bass slung real low.
    And the pick style is eighth note down strokes.

    Much harder to play sixteenth notes and high register this way.
    But then most Punk and rock players don't.

    The Anthony Jackson kind of picking is alternate picking.
    Which lets you rapid sixteenth notes with little movement.
    With this the bass must be at least waist high.
    Of course A.J. doesn't use a strap.

    But he is the prime example of non Rock /Punk pick use that I can think of.
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2017