To stand or not to stand, that is the question.

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by jazzyvee, Jan 12, 2019.

  1. jazzyvee


    Aug 11, 2012
    United Kingdom
    I have had 3 lessons so far learning to play and would like to know the pros and cons of standing to play vs sitting. Most people ive seen tend to stand. I am currently doing that but i think my posture must be wrong as my left hand and lower back ache after a practice session so wondered about sitting to play. I presume the technique to play seated would be slightly different and i plan to discuss with my tutor on my next lesson but wondered what you guys who play think the pros and for each are. Thanks (extremely novice beginner)
  2. wathaet


    May 27, 2007
    It is good to learn and be comfortable with both.
    nickbass, mtto, salcott and 3 others like this.
  3. bpmben


    Jan 13, 2018
    Hertfordshire UK
    I like to always wear my strap and set the length of if so that my bass rests at the same height when either standing or sitting.
    Inara likes this.
  4. DrayMiles


    Feb 24, 2007
    East Coast
    Strap? Isn’t this regarding upright technique?
    Inara and bpmben like this.
  5. bpmben


    Jan 13, 2018
    Hertfordshire UK
    Whoops! Ha ha...
    Inara likes this.
  6. bpmben


    Jan 13, 2018
    Hertfordshire UK
    Looks like a there’s a lot of information on this here:
    Redirect Notice
  7. jazzyvee


    Aug 11, 2012
    United Kingdom
    Thanks bpmben. Will read it.
    bpmben likes this.
  8. mdcbass

    mdcbass Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2005
    Seacoast of NH
    Both (and a great deal more) are covered here by your countryman, Geoff Chalmers
    Discover Double Bass
    fu22ba55 likes this.
  9. fu22ba55

    fu22ba55 Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2009
    As a beginner, it helps to learn both, especially to get your left hand sorted out: when sitting, it's much easier to use your shoulder and back muscles to "hang" your left hand off the neck and let gravity do the work (rather than squeezing the neck). Try it. It will be a relief if you've only been standing.

    When standing, you learn not to squeeze by almost letting the bass fall forward (away from you) and the strings press against the fingerboard automagically.

    Chris Fitzgerald plays primarily sitting down, so his videos are a huge help with that technique. The Klinghoffer videos help with standing (and not squeezing).

    I prefer the sound of the bass when standing, but sitting is important for longer sessions or when you're tired at the end of the day.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019
  10. Fat bob

    Fat bob Supporting Member

    Jan 14, 2013
  11. CaseyVancouver


    Nov 4, 2012
    Hey jazzyvee

    I assume you are using the Alembic eub and doing all pizz.

    I do a mix of standing and sitting.
    Generally most jazz guys stand. I always have while playing jazz.
    Sure some great jazz players sit. I find standing natural and not tiring.

    In a classical setting I sit on a stool. In long orchestral rehearsals I actually get tired from the sitting. During orchestral performances I prefer to stand.

    Classical players David Allen Moore and Gary Karr both stand.

    Pros and cons? Standing I feel more engaged. I find getting into the highest postions a bit of a challenge but I have a large bass. Bowing while standing gets your back more involved, which is a good thing. Sitting makes the highest positions more accessible on my bass. If you sit all the time you have to lug a stool around. Most classical players sit so you will fit in, but you are not pursuing classical correct?
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019
    jazzyvee and Musicalhossgal like this.
  12. Lee Moses

    Lee Moses

    Apr 2, 2013
    *For me* I find sitting helps technical aspects of playing. It makes balance of the instrument a virtual non-issue, which helps left hand relaxation and focus. It is also conducive to letting arm weight naturally produce the sound, so it helps right hand (arco) technique as well. I know that certain approaches (esp. Rabbath) derive their strengths from standing, but they tend to position the instrument so it's almost like they're sitting.

    Outside of a classical/orchestral context, standing tends to be more engaging from an audience perspective. Can you imagine the bassist from the Stray Cats sitting stoically on a stool?
  13. mdcbass

    mdcbass Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2005
    Seacoast of NH
    I used to schlepp in and out of gigs with a stool; bartenders growl when you ask to borrow one of theirs. One night, a local Jazz fan recalled seeing the great Milt Hinton (many years my senior) and he always stood up. I stopped sitting and gave away the stool.
    Musicalhossgal and Jason Hollar like this.
  14. You got that right. I had started taking a stool because some of my band mates had, but I end up standing... You get into the tunes, and you just can’t sit down!
  15. Jay Corwin

    Jay Corwin Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    You're 3 lessons in, so its normal to have some fatigue and/or discomfort in your left hand. You might be playing too long as well.

    Your back could be a posture thing. Impossible for us to know.

    Either way, discuss both with your teacher first.
    CaseyVancouver likes this.
  16. sean_on_bass

    sean_on_bass Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2005
    I go through both sitting and standing stages. Right now i am in a standing stage. I can almost promise i will go back to sitting again, at some point, and come back to standing after it. I think both are perfectly valid ways of playing the bass.

    Personally, i think sitting makes left hand technique a little bit easier. It also puts your body is the same position every time you play(good for intonation). On the flip side, you now have to carry around a stool wherever you play. Also, asses tend to get numb after sitting for awhile.

    With standing you don't need a stool. I also find it easier to play pizzicato while standing(right hand). You can also keep the body in motion to keep blood flowing and stay loose. Cons are that your body may not always be in a static position(intonation issues) and you have to be more persistent to keep an ergonomic left hand(avoid thumb pain).
  17. jazzyvee


    Aug 11, 2012
    United Kingdom
    Yeah absolutely it is a great instrument though probably not the easiest to learn on. I have watched some on-line videos since posting here and it's clear that how a real DB rests against the body to support the weight is quite different to mine since the body is much thinner than a DB whilst the weight is pretty similar. I presume I must be holding too much of the weight of my bass with my left hand thumb and not my body which is causing aches and fatigue. I don't have a lesson booked yet but will over the next week or so once our diaries allow.
    Thanks for the advice from all posters it all helps my learning experience.:thumbsup:
  18. It is really best to get a handle on both. The biggest pro to standing is having one less "need", that being a stool, which can quickly turn into a "block" for either practice or playing. My music doesn't work at all sitting, I need quick access to all of the instrument for the tailpiece to the pegbox, so standing it is.
    I sit for a significant portion of practice and on the rare occasion that I do a new music/bass part sort of gig I can sit, especially if it is long. Sitting helps with focus for certain things in the practice room.
    Unless you have a chronic medical issue, you should be able to do both without pain. Your back and left hand issues need to be solved through technique, not by sitting.
    jazzyvee and wathaet like this.
  19. Scoliosis and injuries settled that question for me.
    BAE likes this.
  20. Richtofen


    Jul 28, 2017
    I've played both standing and sitting, and as cumbersome as bringing a stool is, using a stool has been great for me. I didn't switch to stool because I had issues with pain, it was just I felt like I could bring more of my bass and sound out while sitting (if that makes any sense.) Although if you're playing classically, if you don't have a good cushion on your butt, it will get tired. For jazz, I believe stool playing will be great.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    May 26, 2022

Share This Page