Bass players argue over every aspect of form; pick or finger? Extended scale or short scale? Thick gauge string or thin gauge strings?
While there are no simple answers to any of those questions, the most asked question is often the simplest to answer; should I play bass while sitting or standing?
While some players would also see this as a question of preference, there actually is a specific answer involving circumstance.
There are specific times where you should sit and play, and there are specific times when you should stand and play and some knowledge of this is particularly important to those who had just started to learn how to play bass.
Just like playing your bass, sitting or standing involves form and holding the bass guitar properly. Take for instance practice; practicing is best done while sitting. Why? If you are standing while practicing, you may become tired.
At that point, you are no longer focusing on technique and proper form, but on how tired your legs are. This can make for sloppy playing habits, which will then affect the way you play with your band or friends. When you play bass sitting, there is in fact a proper form to adopt. If you are a right handed player, your left knee should always be raised.
If you are a left handed player, your right knee should always be raised. The reason for this rule has to do with stress. When have your bass completely level, you are putting stress on your wrist, as you will need to torque it at an odd angle to reach around the neck. Raising the neck eliminates this problem, allowing you to keep your wrist relaxed.
When you are practicing, your knee isn’t the only thing that needs to obey a certain standard of posture. Your back should be straight, your shoulder blades recessed, and your chest barreled.
This will erect your spine, which will further decrease the amount of stress put on the tendons of your wrist and forearm. Never allow yourself to slouch, as it can lead to playing related injuries.
The time to stand is when you are playing with your friends or your band. Why? When you are playing with others, your attention is undoubtedly on multiple things at once.
The last thing on your mind will be proper posture. Standing with your bass keeps your back erect and your posture neat. It also keeps your bass angled so that you don’t have to torque your wrist to accommodate it.
Don’t let yourself fall into the low rider way of wearing your bass. This not only puts stress on your lower back, but it causes you to strain your wrist at an unnatural angle. This, overtime, will lead to injuries such as tendonitis and carpal tunnel.
Simply put, it will lead to a musician’s worst nightmare. Keep your bass, at lowest, level with your stomach. Anything higher is fine, but anything lower causes you to twist and turn your wrist to reach the neck.
Now that you know when and where to stand and sit while playing your bass, the final thing you must do is pay attention. Awareness is a key element of music, and it is also a key element of posture. When you feel yourself slouching, correct your posture. This will keep you playing healthily for many years to come.
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