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Sit Down!!!


Paul K

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Ladies and Gentlemen

 

I've been trying to shake a sore throat/cold this week, but as you all know, the show must go on. Friday night's happy hour gig had me still feeling like waste, so i sat on a bar stool for the gig; I just stood up to sing my lines or if the groove was infectious (....as was I...). My how-cool-is-that polypropylene bass cab fit snug in the corner, so there was ample room. Happy to report that my playing was somewhat above it's usual level. Intonation was exceptional, solos used the entire neck, band and bar grooved. I practice sitting down, but wear my bass so it hangs at the same level as if standing; I guess it's just not close enough. I rocked out like Skunk Baxter. Only downside is that I did a little more looking at my bass and a little less looking at the band leader.

 

Much more important to me, and the reason for the post, is that my lower back and hips didn't hurt after the three hour gig. No pain or stiffness at all. Usually half way into a three hour stint I'm not comfortable at all. By the last half hour I'm a clock watcher dreading how many times Our Fearless Leader will call off "just one more tune, OK?". It's odd. I can run 10K in under 40 minutes almost at will, but standing still for three hours almost makes me think that waterboarding would be less painful. OK, so that's a bit of overstatement. But overstatement is what I do best. I'm gonna get back into bringing my stool to all the gigs, even if it means a second trip to the car.

 

So, how many of you guys and gals are sitters instead of standers? It's got to be more than just me, Skunk, and The Gentleman of the Blues, Mr. B.B. King.....

 

I also learned that if you brush your teeth before you gargle with salt water, it doesn't taste as bad; kind of like the opposite of drinking orange juice after brushing your teeth. Now see, you didn't know that either, did you!

 

Peace

Paul K

Things are just the way they are, and they're only going to get worse.

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I'm much more comfortable standing, even for a long stint on the stage. I blew out my right shoulder a couple years ago playing soccer (goalie at that time) and volleyball. When I sit, having that arm up higher starts to hurt in under 10 minutes!
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I have sat through a gig before but I always prefer to stand. I run (and lift weights) a lot as well and I don't have that problem. Maybe your posture while you're playing? Is your bass excessively heavy? Do you stand perfectly still or are you moving around a bit?

 

I don't think there is anything wrong with sitting through a gig as long as the rest of your bandmates don't mind. The drummer gets to sit down all night - why shouldn't you? :)

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I am tired today after my gig last night. I always "work the crowd" between sets, but have been making sure to do that by sitting with people so I get some rest. Three sets is long, but the killer is that I spend some time jumping up and down during Counting Crow's "Murder Of One". I dance a bit the rest of the night, and I think the movement helps.

 

Tom

www.stoneflyrocks.com

Acoustic Color

 

Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

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Well, indie band gigs tend to be one set only, so I don't have any problems with standing for 45 minutes.

 

At rehearsals though, which go on for at least 2 hours and a half, I almost immediately grab a chair and sit down. I can also play better when I'm sitting. I'm toying with the idea of taking a bar-stool on stage with me for use during songs with more intricate runs.

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At church where I play, we can choose whether to sit or stand. Since I do all of my practicing sitting down and my bass lessons are all seated, it's easier to play while sitting. After all, it's not like I'd be dancing around in church. Who knows, though, if I have a few situations where it makes more sense to stand while playing, I may find I like that better. Our guitarist prefers to stand, as do the singers, but all of the other instrumentalists sit.
As an illustrator, I might hope my work could someday touch someone's heart, but a musician has the potentital to touch a person's very soul.
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Studio - sitting. It gives me a better range on the neck and I can concentrate more on the inflections and subtleties (and there are damn few, the way I play!)

 

Live performance is always standing, as I move around a bit. There's playing, but there's also 'the performance' aspect of it.

 

 

 

 

 

*rips out eyes to negate mental image of Tom jumping up and down*

Play. Just play.
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Standing? Play bass while standing? Gee, I don't know, I've never tried it. Been sittling on a stool for 40+ years. I really don't think I could play at all standing?????????? :crazy:

Rocky :snax:

"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb, voting on what to eat for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb, contesting the vote."

Benjamin Franklin

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I usually practice and play standing...I move around a lot, even if I try not to. I always seem to end up with heavy basses, so after a long stink sometimes my left shoulder hurts a bit. I can play sitting but not nearly as well...

 

Dave

 

Old bass players never die, they just buy lighter rigs.

- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

 

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I've always been a stand'r up'r. My first musical training was as a trombone player. With a wind instument there is a great deal of emphasis on proper posture to support your wind. For me personally I have found that sitting while I play bass is like slouching when playing a brass instrument. It's comfortable, but my technique and chops suffer.

 

I am also always moving when I play. Not wild jumping stuff, just rocking and grooving to the beat. I have back problems and am in pain when I stand still after just a few minutes. As long as I'm moving with the music I can play a 4 hour gig with out any problems. Except for a sore knee, but that's another story.

 

I also feel that from a performance perspective, unless you are playing very mellow, folk style music, it just looks better to the audience to see you standing up there smiling and grooving to the music. Performance, unlike studio work, is most successful when you can draw the crowd in. Eye contact, facial expressions, how you move, how you interact with the other performers,etc., is all part of a successful performance.

 

Just my $0.02

Bass, the final frontier...

 

http://www.myspace.com/johnnyandtheboomers

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I've played a gig where I had to sit down for most of it but that was when I had done my back in and I couldn't really stand for long at all. Other than that I have only sat down for acoustic trio gigs where the mood is supposed to be a bit more mellow anyway.

Whilst on the subject though I recently bought a nice drum stool after trying our drummer's at a rehearsal. It has transformed my home practice. It's comfortable for a long session and I feel that I sit with a better posture than I used to when I had an old wooden dining chair or when I was perched on the sofa!

 

Neil

'The most important thing is to settle on a bass then commit to it. Get to know your bass inside and out and play it in every situation you can.' Marcus Miller
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When I first started gigging, I was in my late 30s. But, remembering the rock star fantasy of my youth, I thought I was supposed to act fool on stage. Well, my age, weighing over 400 pounds and the laws of bio-mechanics came together to educate me quickly: I severely tore the tendon that runs along the heel of my left foot. For the next two years, I had to use a cane to get around and standing for more than a few minutes was very painful. Standing on stage for three-four hours with a bass around my neck was out of the question.

 

What floored everyone in my band was that we got a LOT tighter when I was forced to sit down and focus on the music. I wasn't worried about "putting on a show" because there was nothing I could do to add to that part of the performance. The best thing I could do for the band, and the music, was make sure my performance was as tight as I could make it.

 

I'm still very overweight but could play standing up now that I know better than to try and act like a 20-year-old. However, I have become known for the tight grooves I form by locking in with my drummers, not for being a dynamic stage presence. Because of this, no one since that time has had a problem with my sitting down during gigs--it's just become something I'm known for.

 

Besides, it means the guitar players in my bands have less to distract folks from looking at them--and you KNOW how that makes them happy. :)

 

The groove is in the spaces.

 

 

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Hey Smitty, I'm on the heavy side myself and could not stand up for more than 15 minutes even if I wanted to. Your discovery of playing better while sitting is somthing I have preached on this Forum many times. I realize that "Performance" may include other things than playing your best. I still believe that anyone can play better when not jumping up and down.

Rocky

"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb, voting on what to eat for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb, contesting the vote."

Benjamin Franklin

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Although I usually like to stand, even when playing along to CDs, it doesn't work out as well when I'm jammin' to music while at the computer. I posted a thread once about playing fretless with a pick, and it turns out that after reading this article that my sitting posture was all wrong. Now the bass is similar to the photo on the page linked to, and it's close to how the bass is positioned when standing. No more right wrist pain like there was when I had the bass resting on my leg. Now to work on better left hand technique, I have a bad habit of squeezing the neck if I'm not playing the chunky necked P-Bass. :blush:
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Hmmm....sit down? Well, no. When I was first learning to play bass, the most important advice I got was the importance of comfort in hand positioning. When I am playing while standing, my right hand is comfortable and without stress. The minute I sit down to play, I have this scrunched-up feeling of discomfort. All of a sudden my wrist feels "squashed" and I am limited in my hand movement. So for me, sitting isn't the stand-up thing to do. But then, what do I know? I spend nine hours a day standing whilst shlepping car parts toward their worldwide destinations. No wonder I play bass; it's my only escape!

"Don't let my size fool you - I'm a little lady with a real big badbass bass attitude!"

 

"He's not the sharpest tack in Teacher's chair; but a pain in the ass nonetheless!"

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"Stand". (Say, isn't that an R.E.M. tune? ;) )

 

We recently had a marathon practice to make sure everything was in place for our first gig. We must have played 5 hours straight; no breaks. I stood the whole time, and although mentally fatigued I wasn't physically sore.

 

And when I say "stand" I actually mean "movin' and groovin'". We're not shoegazers; there has to be a visual performance.

 

I long time ago we had a thread on "how heavy is your bass?" and I think my Ric came in just shy of 10 pounds with the strap. And I don't use an ultrawide strap.

 

I think there are two things to watch out for. Certainly one is posture, as Edro pointed out.

 

The other thing to watch out for is what you're standing on. We have rehearsals on a concrete slab. This alone could make anyone desperate for a chair after a few minutes. So I put down some of those interlocking foam squares. Huge improvement.

 

Sometimes you don't have a choice, though. The only thing to save you is going to be your footwear. Find the most comfortable shoes on the planet for you and use a shoe insert and/or those running socks with extra-padded bottoms.

 

You'll be surprised how much better you feel when your feet feel good.

 

As far as boppin' around, that puts even more stess on your body. From a dancer's standpoint, the best you can hope for is a real wood floor: not just laminate glued on top of concrete. But even that is better than concrete or stone alone, because the wood has just a little bit of give to it. Your knees will especially thank you.

 

[Oh, and welcome to the LowDown, Sally! :wave: ]

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Oh, as far as sitting = focusing, um, sure. It's that whole relaxed = focused thing. You should be able to have nearly the same focus if you can relax while standing.

 

I find that if I need to I can focus by closing my eyes. Just long enough to really lock in on those parts that need extra attention. Without the visual stimuli it's easier to focus on the audio.

 

 

And I know a lot of us here were in marching bands at some point. Maybe that's where you learn to be able to play and stand comfortably? I'm sure doing parades with a tuba or sousaphone on my shoulder helped me be able to stand while playing bass.

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The minute I sit down to play, I have this scrunched-up feeling of discomfort. All of a sudden my wrist feels "squashed" and I am limited in my hand movement.

That's one of the problems I was having when sitting down. Check out the link I posted in my previous post, it might help you too. The picture on that page doesn't give the best right hand form IMO, his wrist looks a little bent to me. It does show how the bass is very close to being in the same position as when you are standing though.

 

Welcome to the lowdown, Sally!

 

I find that if I need to I can focus by closing my eyes.

That helps eliminate the distractions a lot. Also works well when playing fretless, the ears should be relied on instead of the eyes IMO.

 

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Make sure this thread stays bumped. Haven't had time to read it probably yet. Sat down for the gig tonight which is unusual - it was on ABG. Almost every recording session I've played sitting down. Used to play much better sitting than standing but not so much difference now - mostly due to strap length/bass position. The Wal is heavy though.
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And I know a lot of us here were in marching bands at some point. Maybe that's where you learn to be able to play and stand comfortably? I'm sure doing parades with a tuba or sousaphone on my shoulder helped me be able to stand while playing bass.

 

I find it more strenuous to stand still than move around. If you can keep your feet moving that will help a lot. I preferred long parades to standing concerts.

 

I jump around sometimes, but only on tunes that I know inside out and don't require too much technique. For the more difficult numbers I'll just move my feet and shoulders.

 

I'll do what I'm expecting the audience to do. Mosh during a metal gig, Dance during a dance gig, sit in the pit for a theatre/show gig.

 

I do find it uncomfortable sitting for long lengths of time, silently in the dark.

Feel the groove internally within your own creativity. - fingertalkin

 

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I stand. My guitar player has a bad leg and now has to sit while playing. We are a three piece band playing classic rock and if all three of us are siting it seems kind of boring for the audience in my oppinion. I usually don't have any problem with standing and prefer it. Rics Right, comfortable shoes really help as does good posture. I like to move around and standing still does seem harder on me.

Lydian mode? The only mode I know has the words "pie ala" in front of it.

http://www.myspace.com/theeldoradosband

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Sometimes I sit, sometimes I stand. In the jazz trio that I often play with, we are sitting. Likewise for religious service.

 

Of course, if you are in a pit orchestra playing electric, you are always sitting.

 

In the studio these days, it's just me and the engineer/producer. We sit next to each other behind the console. I sit in an office chair and am usually rocking back and forth.

 

In a full band, I bring along a stool and sit in it during the interminable dinner sets and every once in a while in the course of the four or four and a half hour gigs.

 

Interestingly, a while ago a drummer said that I played more ahead of the beat when I was standing than when I was sitting. I've been monitoring that since then.

 

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Interestingly, a while ago a drummer said that I played more ahead of the beat when I was standing than when I was sitting.

 

Jeremy, I find this very interesting. Why do you think this happens?

Rocky

"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb, voting on what to eat for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb, contesting the vote."

Benjamin Franklin

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Since Rocky says it's OK to sit, I will do it without any shame!

 

My #1 bass is very light: 7.5 lbs (That's 3.41 kilos....) A thicker strap wouldn't help my hips and lower back. Moving around does help a whole lot, which is one of the reasons I'm a runner. But I usually don't have the room on stage. For me, the issue is probably a remnant of being a stomach-sleeper who used to own a waterbed. I wake up at 4AM with sharp pain right at the bone just above each butt cheek which makes ibuprofen a very good friend of mine (T.M.I., perhaps????). That, and my mother's side of the family has all had replacement hips; evidently we have a lot in common with german shepards.

 

The Key player in our band just had one of her hips resurfaced instead of replaced. According to her, it's common in Europe but just been here in the states for a couple of years, and seems to retain more function (you can be more aggressive with your sports after it) wiki link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hip_resurfacing

I expect a pair of those procedures will be in my future...I'll be sure to decrease my health insurance deductible a year before that happens and will make sure it passes the pre-existing condition requirements!

 

Anyway, your replies have all been a fun read! I did feel better after sitting, and was pleased with my playing; it was much more relaxed groove (Hmmmm....relaxing...where'd we hear that before???) and MUCH more fun!

Peace!

Things are just the way they are, and they're only going to get worse.

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At today's gig I was sitting. I do carry a stool, one of the taller ones you see for sale in music stores. I can stand up easily from there should I choose. This gig was with my wife and a drummer playing mostly Christmas songs at the VA Medical Center in Livermore. My wife and I have done this gig for a number of years.

 

I prefer to sit when I play jazz gigs but would rather stand on R&B and blues gigs. Dancing while playing R&B gigs helps solidify the pocket.

 

Wally

I have basses to play, places to be and good music to make!
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