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Wearing your bass low and still retaining playability?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by phxlbrmpf, Sep 10, 2005.


  1. phxlbrmpf

    phxlbrmpf

    Dec 27, 2002
    Germany
    Personally, I can't figure out how to do it for the life of me. I've tried it a couple of times to fit better into my rock band optically :p but I always get the feeling that it becomes impossible to maintain a "healthy" thumb position and pretty much the entire upper fretboard becomes unreachable. Any advice? For some reason, everyone seems to expect everyone in a band to wear their instuments near their knees. :p
     
  2. cdef

    cdef

    Jul 18, 2003
    NET
    I'd say just forget about fitting in "optically" on that stereotyped level. Unless you're an alien that can grow new body joints at will, your technique will always be compromised by holding your instrument in an extreme and uncomfortable position. A superior class of coolness is attainable by playing well.
     
  3. Bass2x

    Bass2x

    Jul 25, 2005
    SoNJ
    Pull yer head up...
    Leave the body slung low, but pull the fretboard upright, like a standup.
    That work fer ya?
     
  4. i have a fairly long torso and rather long arms so a low slung bass is no problem for me. If you really want a low slung bass, just keep practicing!
     
  5. cdef

    cdef

    Jul 18, 2003
    NET
    Maybe we need a dedicated "Image" forum for those concerned with how they come over visually.
     
  6. Suckbird

    Suckbird Banned

    May 4, 2004
    Sweden
    i think it looks way cooler having the bass high,...
     
  7. To an extent. You dont want to be strangling yourself :D



    Ok, heres what I rekon. Work out the difficulty rating of your songs and go from there. Rate it 1-10...
    1- Wooten, Jaco, Myung etc etc etc
    2
    3
    4
    5
    6
    7
    8
    9
    10- Mark Hoppus, Eric Griffin and predominant root players in general.


    Then work it out 1= higher 10= lower
     
  8. Bass2x

    Bass2x

    Jul 25, 2005
    SoNJ
    I used to play with a pick, now I finger...
    When I went to finger style, I tried every bass position. Way low is good for my right hand (pluck), but tough on the left (fretting) hand. Way high is just the opposite. I guess you'll just have to experiment for a position that facilitates your style of playing. You also have to evaluate whether good-looking trumps good playing.
     
  9. phxlbrmpf

    phxlbrmpf

    Dec 27, 2002
    Germany
    I'm honestly having trouble trying to evaluate how difficult our music is to play, I only know that as I hate dropped tunings, in some songs I have to play in the lowest register at all times, fret the root on the first fret of the B string and fret the flat third on the fourth fret, throw in octaves on the third fret of the A string, etc. As I have pretty small hands, my fretting hand will eventually start to hurt if I do this with my bass strung too low for me to use proper fretting hand technique.

    The funny thing is that my bass playing is mostly self-taught (I only had one single bass lesson but have several years of prior acoustic guitar lessons below my belt) but I spent a bunch of years playing covers in my school's "official" band under the supervision of our music teacher, then joined a bunch of top-40 and cover bands that did mainly disco, 80s pop and funk with the occasional rocker thrown in.

    I always adjusted my strap so it felt most comfortable to me and I could use my fretting hand properly and could throw in fills near the end of the fretboard without trouble. No one cared about my strap setup, until I joined this bunch of "rockers" with relatively poor technique but awesome song writing skills who started looking at me funny when I took out my bass and strapped it on.

    I've also had people ask me after a concert if I happened to start out playing the violin...

    The bottom line: screw this, I'm gonna adjust my strap the way it feels best and in a way that I can actually play my bass.
     
  10. Bass2x

    Bass2x

    Jul 25, 2005
    SoNJ

    Bingo!

    That's puttin yer priorities in order!
    Unless, of course, you lose the gig...
     
  11. phxlbrmpf

    phxlbrmpf

    Dec 27, 2002
    Germany
    Don't worry, it's actually been quite some time since I joined them and I think the only thing they dislike about my playing and stage presence is how I wear my bass. :p But sometimes you can't help wondering if there's a way to look "cool" like the nu metal monkeys on MTV without losing the command over your instrument. Oh well.
     
  12. cdef

    cdef

    Jul 18, 2003
    NET
    If you're a serious player, any band that has visuals as an overriding priority is not gonna be worth your while in the long run. Good luck.
     
  13. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    How low is "low"? I play with the bass at the belt buckle. I find this very comfortable for me.

    And based on f'nar f'nar's difficulty rating, I should be playing with the bass resting on the ground! Hmmm, I would save money on straps...
     
  14. CrazyArcher

    CrazyArcher

    Aug 5, 2004
    Israel
    Exactly! How low should the bass be hanged in order to consider it low?
    I play mainly with fingers have my bass at the belt buckle as well, or slightly lower, and I think it's the best compromise between high- and low-end accessibility. Another question is how much do you want to incline the eck of your instrument? IMO changing the angle is the best solution, although it might be quite confusing at times to find out that you play at the high-end with the neck 60 degrees up :)
     
  15. phxlbrmpf

    phxlbrmpf

    Dec 27, 2002
    Germany
    With the lower horn at belt buckle height is fine with me, I think that's pretty much how I wore the bass back in my Top 40 bands. As a comparison, check out some pictures of "cool bassists" over in "Bassists" for some examples of what is considered "low" these days. Check out the guy from Interpol for example, the way his thumb is sticking out is a pretty good example of how wearing your bass too low kills your fretting hand technique.

    [​IMG]
     
  16. millard

    millard

    Jul 27, 2004
    SoCal
    In a recent bass guitar magazine they were interviewing someone (sorry, I think the issue is at the office) and the guy was taking some instruction before working on a new album and the instructor convinced him to try playing with the bass higher up. The guy is a total convert and they even do a pull-quote of him saying that he'd much rather play well than be fashionable.

    Millard
     
  17. "I used to have my bass hanging really low because it looked cooler. F*ck the way it looks. I want to play it right."

    Shavo Odadjian - SOAD
     
  18. Bass2x

    Bass2x

    Jul 25, 2005
    SoNJ
    I think we're quickly coming to the conclusion that the more technical you play the higher you wear your bass. From low-slung hair bands to Victor Wooten.
     
  19. Suckbird

    Suckbird Banned

    May 4, 2004
    Sweden
    WHAT? His thumb is under the neck !!!

    He must suck... serious...
     
  20. phxlbrmpf

    phxlbrmpf

    Dec 27, 2002
    Germany
    I haven't listened to Interpol much, but I hear his bass lines are quite decent. Perhaps he's a good player when he's not wearing his bass lower than low.