To sit or not to sit.....

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by davegr8house, Nov 15, 2003.

  1. Hello All,
    Not sure what Fourm to put this in. I got a question and maybe some of you have been through this also. My Teacher and I have been together now for around 3 years. He has from the beginning had me stand and play. Both for Jazz Pizz and Arco. In the past week or so in my daily practice I have been experimenting playing on a stool. I have seen "or heard" much improvement in my playing doing this also. My string crossings are much better, vibrato sounds much more natural "always had problems with my first finger", feeling the Bass vibrate more I seem to play with more emotion, not having the weight of the Bass on my Thumb I seem to play faster passages easier and more correct, my back kinda likes it also...etc. Have any of you changed from a standing position to a seated position or vice virsa? I really dont find this a difficult transition but have any of you? I like playing Pizz standing so I can see where changing the Endpin would get old. I like what I hear but I dont know if I should CHANGE FOR GOOD:confused: or stick with standing. Teacher is not going to like this I believe...humm or maybe after he hears me he will....any thoughts from you seasoned professionals?
  2. Dave, i'm 61... is that seasoned enough for you? I've authored several rants about this if you want to check my other posts, but I stood about 1/2 of my 45 year career and sat the last 1/2. As i've said if I were in your shoes, I would look into the Francois Rabbath stance with the bent end-pin. I won't go into it now, because you've probably heard of it and if not, your teacher will have. If not, check some past posts.
    I started sitting when it became kind of fashionable to in the jazz world in the early 70s. it's very comfortable and everything you say is true. But for me, it just ruined my back! I started getting so comfortable with it, that my bass, my stool, and I became as one, and I started practically laying into my bass and hanging on it. I suffer from a pretty tough case of sciatica, I feel, because of this.
    I'd stick with standing and PLEASE look into The Rabbath stance! With that, you still won't have to support your bass with your hands and you won't have to lug around an extra piece of equipment!
  3. Thanks Paul,
    This is just an experiment at the time being. I just got done practicing and man I walk away confused as to what I should do. It just boils down to which helps me in my quest to sound the best I can and right now it looks as if sitting. I thought for along time my problem was my Standing position but my Teacher says its fine. I`m also thinking that by sitting I may be able to learn my string crossings better and then apply it to standing then again it blows that "stay consistent" theory my Teacher has all to hell. Looks like I opened a can of worms here. I have read your post on the Rabbath stance and it looks like a good thing. I have never tried a bent endpin but would be more than willing to try one just dont have one or know anyone that uses it. I will try the sitting thing for a week or two and make my decision then. I may need to look around for another Stool to accomodate my growing ass:D All well I do thank you for your comments...Have a good day

  4. I play both ways; I usually practice standing and I sit for long orchestra gigs. I think both methods should support the other; i.e. one should NOT replace the other because you're having problems with it. If you are having back problems standing, you need to adress that issue by having someone, perhaps a different teacher, evaluate your technique and work with you. I also recomend the bent endpin, or looking into the Gary Karr type vertical position. I have had a lot of back problems, not related to bass playing, that made playing for extended periods difficult. I found that the vertical technique works very well for me, and that it can also cross over to my seated technique for when it's just not practical for me to stand.
  5. I sat for about 10 years, starting soon after I began to play the bass. Then I developed back problems. Believe me when I say you don't want to go there. Having constant back pain and limited motion/flexibility will ruin your very existence, forget about your bass playing. The pain does not go away, at times you can't even sleep because of it. Mine was lower/sciatica. I believe that having the left leg up on the stool rung causes the spine to curve sideways. Add to that the exertion from the right side, either arco or pizz, which eminates from the back, and overall tenseness (my problem), and you have a recipe for trouble.

    I gave up the stool, went through a period of daily stretches and exercises to straighten my back out, and life is good again. The control and support of the bass that you get from sitting can be achieved in other ways. Any short term benefits that you might enjoy from using the stool now are not worth it in the long run. In fact, I believe my playing is actually stronger now that I stand. I can really feel the flow of energy coming from the center of my torso, unimpeded, into the bass.

    Check the threads on bent endpins, stance, and all that stuff. Oh, and another reason to abandon the stool - you'll have one less thing to schlep to the gig! Good luck.

  6. While I respect what T-bal has to say, I still stick with my opinion that either technique can work just fine, or even both. It's just a matter of what works best with your body and your instrument. My suggestion is to get as many different people to evaluate your technique and offer suggestions as possible, try both sitting and standing, and then decide which works better for YOU, not somebody else. Another Idea is to go to people outside the bass world who speciallize in ergonomics and body positions, such as doctors, physical therepists and body workers. They may not understand the details of bass playing, but I guarantee you they understand how the joints and muscles in your body work and can offer tips as to how to ease the strain on your body and improve your playing. :D
  7. Thank you for all your suggestions. I`m going to really study into this. Your advice is helpful. I mean I ask advice and get it from the likes of Paul Warburton and Tom Baldwin tells me I really need to consider my experiment more closely. Toman if I remember right is a Orchestral player and the problem I`m having standing is my Arco. I understand what he is saying also. I`m curious what kind of success I would have using both techniques for which ever was needed at the time. I`m thinking I might be better off looking into the Eggpin or whatever its called. I`ll keep you posted as to what works out. Thanks...

  8. Dave, one last pitch for Rabbath...If, as you say,access to the strings with the bow is a big issue, The bent end pin or egg pin really is the answer. It displaces the weight of the bass, so that you're standing almost behind the bass, supporting it with your upper body...consequently, you have complete and total access to all the strings. This is especially nice for access to the E string (or the B if you're a 5 stringer like me)
    Rather than soaking $300 into the Egg-Pin, if you're like most of us you probably have an old end pin rod around the house. If not, you can get a metal rod of some sort at your local hardware store. Stick that sucker in a vise and call one of your strongest friends over to bend it. I can't tell you the exact angle to try for in the bending, but this should give you an idea of what it's like to play with a bent pin. I think there might be a picture of the bent angle in the ad for the Egg-Pin in The Lemur catalog.
    As Tom said, you're dealing with not just your bass playing here, but your entire existence!
    I'm in the process of looking into the Alexander Technique too...Do a search on it if you're curious.
    Goood luck!
  9. Yeah, I should have added that, I just figure anybody who's looking for opinions and advice is ultimately going to make his own decision anyway. Maybe I'll add this at the end of my suggestion: "YMMV, what works for me may not necessarily work for you (WWFMMNNWFY), this is just my .02 FWIW, etc.
  10. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    That's exactly what I did. Set me back only a couple of bucks and the time to experiment.

    Bent endpins do wonders to remove the weight of the neck off your left hand thumb, which is what I was wanting to see happen. For people who sit and have the bass leaning back against them, this kind of standing arrangement is really nice...along with all the great reasons Rabbath cites.

    I personally prefer standing somewhat like Gary Karr does with his bass, and it makes sitting in a stool and having the bass lean back against me a rather awkward feeling. I'm used to having the bass lean a little forward to create the illusion of gravity working for my left hand and bow. Plus, when I played with my homemade bent endpin the bass would shake and bounce when I would do a vibrato or shift hard to the heel. But as Paul Warburton asserts, Rabbath's bent endpin idea deserves attention.

    George Vance sells pre-bent Gotz endpins from his Slava Publishing site (along with the Laborie endpins for complete anti-bounce) if the hardware store isn't your bag. Ellison's Eggpin can be found at Lemur.
  11. Johnny....Thanks for the back-up!
  12. When I switch between standing and sitting, the angle of my bass doesn't change much. Depending on what stool I'm using, I usually don't even adjust my endpin. The stool to me is not something to actually sit on, but more something to wedge between my butt and the floor to let my legs relax and take a little strain off of my allready messed up back.
  13. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    It's my honor, Paul!