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why do bassists need good biceps and triceps?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by downward spiral, Jun 22, 2002.

  1. downward spiral

    downward spiral

    Jul 20, 2001
    I've heard that bass players in particular need to have developed biceps and triceps, and I can't figure out how those muscles really come into play. maybe I'm missing something obvious, but can someone help me out and tell me?
  2. So they can haul around those massively huge-ass cabs they need to overpower the bloody guitarists' Marshall stacks.

    That was absolutely irresistable.
  3. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA
    In order to last more than 10 minutes on an upright bass, you need to develop the technique that allows you to use your arm and shoulder to create the needed fingerboard pressure rather than using just your hand.

    Perhaps this idea has somehow been lumped on bass guitar. Although, I can't see how it could be applied bass guitar.

    Maybe there was confusion somewhere along the way.

  4. jasonbraatz


    Oct 18, 2000
    Oakland, CA
    yeah, that's realbass stuff.

    ever since i stopped playing realbass alot, i've become wimpy. i should start again, my shoulders were huge.
  5. Hategear

    Hategear Workin' hard at hardly workin'.

    Apr 6, 2001
    Appleton, Swissconsin
    Good biceps and triceps are nice to have, even if you don't play bass. Chicks dig 'em.

  6. Wow I think I'll start working out again and put a paper bag over my head, then I'll be set!
  7. downward spiral

    downward spiral

    Jul 20, 2001
    I am a girl, so it wouldn't really apply...
    and anyway, overabundant muscles on guys are vulgar and unsightly...
  8. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    What's over abundant? You mean like Ah-Nold?
  9. ConTraBajisTa

    ConTraBajisTa Guest

    Oct 5, 2000
    auburn, ny
    i play upright bass, but my arms aren't huge (see attachment). and i think i play pretty well... but after playing for a long duration my arm starts to get tired. also, when i play bass guitar, my plucking hand/arm (all up the arm to my shoulder) gets sore and tired after playing a while as well.

    compare me to my guitarist, LoL... (i'm the girl)
  10. supergreg


    Jan 20, 2002

    Ma ma mia. Your arms are tiny. No offence.
  11. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    I went to a figurative art school that required us to take a lot of anatomy classes, so I know a little about this subject. The triceps job is to straighten the forearm and to bring the arm backwards, neither of which serve any purpose for electric bass, unless you play behind your back or something. The bicep flexes and supinates the forearm, and while this movement is required to bend your fretting arm to play, there is no real weight other than your forearm on it (the weight of your bass neck goes to your forearm), so it doesn't really need to be strong at all. It's your carpal and dorsal muscles that need to be strong.

    Hope that helps.
  12. I've never had big bis and tris, but my shoulders have always been very powerful, and have been moreso since I started playing three years ago. My forearms aren't huge, either, but I have a lot more endurance in them than most muscleheads. I can't do pullups, though, owing to excessive body fat and nonexistent lats.

    I gotta say, it would suck to play upright with a paunch. Thumb position would suck mightily.

    Contrabajista, your arms are tiny! How can you even hold your bass up? ;)

  13. i was thinkin the same...:confused: :D
  14. LumpyGravy

    LumpyGravy Guest

    May 8, 2002
    biceptual triceptual
    I think most musicians may acquire bi's and tri's not only lugging around heavy equipment, but wearing a bass like a rick or fender can put pressure on your shoulder. Your triceps fight this and develop; which strengthens your physique. Another reason might be a DAY job like lifting HEAVIES or running a machine like a brake press. Check out Michael Manring's video to help relax those working muscles.
  15. Contra, when your body starts to hurt, it's telling you something. I recommend you take a look at your plucking technique and see what might be fatiguing you. I've been only playing for 18 months, but my main focus when I started was good hand position, and it's served me well. I can now play for 4 hours without a break and not get fatigued.

    And I know this sounds bad, but playing a lot of video games helps. The 3 hour endurance races on Gran Turismo 3 are lifesavers.

    P.S. Theoretically, then all the fat lonely kids at school should become awesome on their instruments - lots of dexterity from games, and no social life, which can be dedicated to practice.

  16. ConTraBajisTa

    ConTraBajisTa Guest

    Oct 5, 2000
    auburn, ny
    the last few practices i think i've kinda figured out that my wrist is awkward when i pluck (i think its because of the angle i hold my bass, i'm so used to it being straight up like an upright). other than that, i pluck fast, and hard. maybe i'm just a weakling =(
  17. i'm the skinniest mofo that i personally know. my arms are twiggy. i can do pullups till the cows come home, but that's just because the rest of me is skinny too! but i never get sore playing bass. usually the only discomfort i suffer after a long set is raw fingers.

    oh, and a sore neck - you rockers know what i mean. :)
  18. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    Nah, it's not because you're a veak-ling or dat ya ahms ah puny, you just may need to turn your amp up and pluck softer which will give you more room for dynamics.
  19. BassMan2000


    Sep 27, 2000
    Well, when I played real bass my shoulders did get bigger, still are. I don't think only applies to upright though.


    He doesn't look like no upright bassist :D but he is huge :cool:
  20. stephanie


    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    I think it's important for bass players to develop good upper-body strength. I am a small, skinny person with no upper-body strength whatsoever...and it shows. :D I have trouble even picking up my bass. I can't stand up and play because it hurts too much. Also, I noticed sometimes I get fatigue in my arms when playing for an extended period of time. I'm trying to gain some muscles though. :D

    By the way, there has been discussion on upper-body strength, etc. in the Technique forum if ya wanna have a looksee. :)

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