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Will playing bass "low" hurt your hand if...

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Beav, Apr 22, 2004.

  1. Beav

    Beav Graphics Whore

    Jul 17, 2003
    Middle Tennessee
    Designer: Beav's Graphics
    I'm wondering will a bass with wider sting spacing hurt your hand if you play below your belt? I don't play at my man boobies and I don't play at my knees either. I'm wondering if I get a wide spaced 5 string if I will have any problems if I hold my bass at about a 30 degree angle.
  2. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS
    If it hurts then adjust the strap till it is comfortable.

    Everyone is different. Case in point; Rob Trujillo is very good and his bass was extremely low when I saw Metallica last year. Ryan Martinie also is a very good player, his bass looks uncomfortably high to me.
  3. what he said
  4. Agree with what has been said.

    If your hand hurts at all, stop at once and adjust the strap.

    Being able to play without pain and possibly damaging your hand is more important than how you look.

    If could take months to get over tendon/muscle damage in your hands and could prevent you from playing bass if it is permanent damage.


  5. takeout

    takeout Supporting Member

    Dec 27, 2002
    Kansas City area
    The string spacing is not your main issue. The main thing to watch is the angle at which either of your wrists bend (if at all). You want to be able to draw as straight a line as possible from your elbow to your knuckles. Adjust your strap accordingly.
  6. Diek


    May 25, 2003
    As long as you keep your wrist straight, it doesn't matter where you hang the bass. I find it easiest to play the lower frets if I sling my bass really low and play with the neck upright ala Fieldy. But then I loose access to the upper frets, so I have to find a happy medium.
  7. when i first started playing my bass was at my armpit. over the years it steadily moved downward. i try to find a spot where both of my wrists are comfortable without bending my hands to much. now its slung at my waist. if you were it low un tuck your shirt. i knew a guy once that played guitar and wore one of those big texas style belt buckles and the finish on the back of his strat was all messed up.
  8. Th9nker


    Mar 18, 2002
    I find it to actually be MORE confortable when I play at a lower position as it straightens out my wrist... However, I'm 6'4" and have really long ape arms as well...
  9. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    My current strap doesnt go short enough to get high enough to be comfortable. I paly around my belt level, neck pulled up. Its fine around frets 1-5 but then above that hurts my wrist some.
  10. Fliptrique


    Jul 22, 2002
    Szczecin, Poland
    Endorsing Artist: Mayones Guitars&Basses
    i play a 6 stringer with 17mm string spacing, so the neck is pretty wide - I can`t play anything beyond most simplistic stuff, when it`s hung low. I simply can`t reach the lower strings, and have big big problems playing ANYYTHING beyond 12 fret - i simply can`t reach without putting my wrist at extremely uncomfortable position... it get`s a bit better when i put my bass at a upright-like angle, but it`s not a really comroftable position when you tend to move a lot while playing.

    and it makes me look like fieldy. i know a grown man should not be concerned about stuff like that, but i do :)
  11. When I sling my bass low, I stop wondering why it is that people like Fieldy and Mark Hoppus play the simple stuff that they do - it is really hard to play anything with it that low! While I agree that if it hurts then you should definitely stop but even if its uncomfortable then you should look to adjust.

  12. Tnavis


    Feb 25, 2003
    Minneapolis, MN
    Ideally, your strap height should be set so that your bass is at the same height when you're sitting down or standing up. As previously mentioned, the string spacing won't be a problem. Playing with your bass that low will either lead to wrist pain or poor technique.
  13. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Here's a solution: Shorten your bloody strap.

    For songs from Primus or whatnot with that "Les strumming" thing, I wear it around my waist, but no lower. Most other times, it's pretty high. I practice standing up a lot, so the changing height from sitting to standing doesn't bother me. My fretless is a little lighter and kept a better angle becasue I have a nice Y-strap on it.
  14. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    Here's an idea. Stop worrying how cool you look and start worrying about playing the bass.
  15. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002

    Does anyone else find it hard to do the Les-strumming thing when your strap is high? I find it kinda difficult, and only do it when my strap is high on a 12 bar blues solo way up on the neck, because I need the strap high for the rest. I still find the strumming thing a bizzatch when the strap is high (hence, lowering it for Too Many Puppies).
  16. Fliptrique


    Jul 22, 2002
    Szczecin, Poland
    Endorsing Artist: Mayones Guitars&Basses
    i can`t shorten it, the upper horn will hit my chin ;)
  17. sunburstbasser


    Oct 18, 2003
    I wear my bass just above my waist. Works for me.

    I like a lower bass for Les-style strumming, and for double thumping. I tend to play with my right arm fairly straight anyway.
  18. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Is the body four feet wide? How can the bass possibly be low enough that you can't even reach the low strings and raising it would make the upper horn be that high? You, er, do realize that you don't keep the bass upright in that position, right? :p
  19. I've had one breif conversation with the man himself, vic... He told me that In his opinion(which i hold very highly) a 45 degree angle is best to avoid injuring your wrist. It's okay to have it low, as long as your neck isn't paralell to the freakin ground.

    If it hurts, then you're probably doing it wrong. And really i think the issue here is mostly a carpal tunnel (sp?) thing.... Repetitive motions can really get you if you're not careful; and that goes for the right hand as well. As i see it, the 45 angle is a good point for minimizing left hand anguish, and it allows you to get your thumb in there at the right angle for "vic style" slap technique.

    :bassist: <-- notice 45 degree angle? ;)

    I'd also like to second those who have bashed the "cool" bass players out there. Get over it. I'd much rather look like an idiot 10 years from now playing bass than looking like an idiot sitting in the audience clutching my left wrist which is shrivled into "the claw"...
  20. Artisan


    Apr 14, 2004
    What seems to jump out at me after reading all of the replies is that the proper height for playing is mostly determined by the build of the player. Style of playing also has an effect, as does the particular configuration of the instrument. In short, there is no single answer that fits everyone.

    I have short upper arms and long forearms, with medium to small sized hands. I have always tended to play my bass or guitar higher than most other folks I've seen. If I'm in a band with several other instruments, I can lower the bass a bit and just cruise along comfortably, but I tend not to play in as complicated a style under such circumstances.

    When playing in a power trio, the bass goes up high. I've too much work to do to worry about comfort or looking cool.

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