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Wearing your bass high or low...

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Sundogue, Dec 15, 2004.


  1. Sundogue

    Sundogue

    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    I want to thank all the guys who helped me with my sore wrist/hand problem.

    I have a long scale Peavey Cirrus 5 string and was contemplating going to a shorter scale bass so my wrist and hand weren't so sore after gigs.

    But, I've adjusted how I wear my bass. I wear it lower now and it has helped immensely. With it lower, my wrist isn't so bent when trying to reach and play the low notes near the bridge.

    However, I'm still trying to get used to wearing it lower. It feels so far away from me now that it doesn't seem like it fits me anymore. With it up higher it seemed more like a part of me, whereas with it lower it seems to just hang on me. I've been able to play everything I've played before, though it seems like more work now.

    I've included some before and after pics. The before pics with it up higher feels nicer to play, but give me pain the next day in my wrist/hand. The after pic shows it lower and I hardly have any pain at all...but I feel I have to "work" my bass more to accomodate the lower position. With it lower it is a good 6 inches lower (about the length of the upper horn) in the before and after pics (though it might not look like that much in the pics).

    How do you guys, who wear it low (and it's nowhere near as low as some wear it), feel about wearing it like this? And if anyone wears it higher, and you have long scale basses, do you experience any wrist/hand pain after a gig because of it?

    It sure is taking some time getting used to, but not having any pain sure is nice.
     
  2. NJL

    NJL

    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    Great Thread!!!!

    :)

    We really need more threads like this. Playing healthy and thinking
    healthy is the way to go.

    here's a bump
     
  3. mark beem

    mark beem Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
    Same height standing as sitting for me. No problems (anymore).

    Dude, you look like Jeff Berlin!!

    :bassist:
     
  4. McHack

    McHack

    Jul 29, 2003
    Central Ohio!
    I've had no finger hand issues, wearing my bass so the resting thumb position is right around waist high.
     
  5. Sundogue

    Sundogue

    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    I've been playing for over 25 years...but only recently has my wrist/hand bothered me.

    I normally don't have my thumb wrapped over the neck (as in the one pic), I usually have good technique. But in that photo, I'm wearing my bass lower. I'm also playing a relatively simpler song (not much left hand movement), and also I've found with it lower, I have a greater tendency to wrap my thumb over as I'm trying to control the neck more. Though this hasn't hindered my playing much yet, and my wrist/hand aren't sore after the gig.

    It's only when I play with it up higher and I play more low notes (near the nut) for an extended time that my wrist and hand are terribly sore...to the point I can't even make a fist the next day.

    Lowering it has helped immensely, but I miss wearing it higher as it feels more natural to play that way.

    Yeah...I've heard I look like a lot of people...but that's the first time I've heard that. I wished I heard that I played like him though!!!
     
  6. NJL

    NJL

    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    when i wear my 6 lower, it's a real pain in the ass to slap. that's the only thing that i don't like about wearing lower....i'm into wearing a bass high as well.

    :)
     
  7. As low as possible (within reason). I've found it more comfortable to play with my elbow on the plucking hand (right) extended at greater that 90 degrees. You're right, this does cause a complete reworking of your left hand technique, but I think you'll adapt quicker than you think.

    Downside? I have a little difficulty playing sitting now.


    Mike
     
  8. kaboom133

    kaboom133

    Oct 19, 2001
    Latrobe PA
    Think of it this way: Wearing it lower may hinder your playing a bit now, but it's better than not being able to play at all in 20 years, isn't it?

    I know that's kind of an extreme example, but you never know, you're always better safe than sorry.
     
  9. Sundogue

    Sundogue

    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    Well that was my thinking exactly. Although at 44 years old, I don't think I'll still be gigging at 64. :)

    I was considering getting a shorter scale bass. I tried a Rick the other day at a store and was just astounded at how short it felt. It seemed like the neck was a good foot shorter than my Cirrus.

    But I love my Cirrus and if lowering it allows me to keep it, and most importantly, allows me to keep playing...I'll do whatever it takes. Giving up music was not an option.
     
  10. andruca

    andruca

    Mar 31, 2004
    Madrid (Spain)
    I use my bass at midium height for fast fingerstyle, much lower for metal E+B string brutal pounding and just under my chest for slapping.

    ANDRUCA
     
  11. Mobay45

    Mobay45 The artist formerly known as "Big Daddy"

    Apr 28, 2004
    Irving, TX
     
  12. Sundogue

    Sundogue

    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
     
  13. Sundogue

    Sundogue

    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    Do you have three different basses, or do you adjust the strap length on the fly in between songs?
     
  14. Rod B.

    Rod B.

    Jun 11, 2002
    Montana
    I wear mine where it is basically the same height standing or sitting. I must sit perfectly straight though or the bass rests on my knee.

    That said, I use to play my bass several inches lower. I developed hand/wrist pain from overuse. No matter where I placed the bass the pain would come back. That was two years ago. About 3 weeks ago I started to see a guy who does Active Release and now I'm 90% better.
     
  15. The Hammer

    The Hammer

    Jul 13, 2004
    This is exactly the reason I play my bass low
    [​IMG]
     
  16. Aram

    Aram

    Feb 2, 2003
    New York, NY
    Sundogue,

    Maybe there's a compromise? Have you tried 3-4" lower, as opposed to a full 6"? here's where I wear mine (35"-scale Ibanez BTB):
     

    Attached Files:

  17. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    Never say never, dude. It's in your blood now. :)
     
  18. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    hmmm, gotta' point there, but good powerful gear is continuing to get smaller... :)

    Good thinking! :)
     
  19. I have my jazz bass just a little lower than sitting. Comfort for both hands.
     
  20. Sundogue

    Sundogue

    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    I've tried every strap length from higher than normal, to incrementally lower...until I came about with this length seeming to be about right, where I still feel I have control and having it ease my pain.

    I've been to two doctors, a chiropractor, an accupuncturist and a massage therapist.

    We've all come to the conclusion that adjusting how I wore my bass was about the only thing that would help (or a shorter scale bass).

    I wear it this way, in addition to rubbing Ben-Gay (before and after playing) on my elbow where the ligaments join it all together, and doing stretching exersizes before and after.

    It's working so far. The only thing now is adjusting my playing to the different position the bass is at now. There were times during these last two gigs where my bass seemed to be fighting me. When it was up higher it was tight to my body and it just seemed like a part of me. Now it seems to be hanging off me, daring me to play it right. :)

    Maybe it'll just take some time to get used to it. I have no idea how some bass players wear their bass so low (like down around their hips or even their knees) and still manage to play it.