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  #1  
Old 08.13.11, 12:30 PM
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Sitting vs standing for playing guitar/bass

I've wondered about this for the longest time, but only recently started asking myself about it when I took up bass and effectively had to teach myself to play all over again from scratch.

Long story short: I'm a leftie who's played right-handed guitar for years but never felt comfortable playing standing up. I found it easier to play when sitting down. I figured I was learning the 'wrong' way around so should expect difficulty and discomfort, but after buying a leftie bass this year I'm experiencing the same thing. I feel that the entire instrument, especially the fretboard, is at a really awkward angle for fretting notes unless I sit down to play it.

Is it normal to find playing difficult while standing? Or is there a fault in my technique/posture that makes it so hellishly uncomfortable in comparison with playing while seated? Could the problem be that you're supposed to learn by feel rather than looking at what your hands are doing, so seated playing has allowed me to acquire a sight-based 'lazy' style?

Since almost all live musicians I've ever seen play standing up I'm not sure if I'm Doing It Wrong!
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  #2  
Old 08.13.11, 2:21 PM
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Have you done crazy things with the strap? Try really low and really high, I know several people who wear their guitar goofy high compared to modern conventions of cool, but it works really well for them.
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I believe it was guitars mixed with a sense of desperation to not be dropped by their label...
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It would be so we could run from one side of the stage to the other, switch from rhythm to lead, run over to the guy on the hammonds to turn on the flanger, and then sneak up behind the drummer and start going nuts on the wah.

Only to realize those pedals were hooked up to the bass!
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Old 08.13.11, 6:34 PM
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What celebro said: Tom Morello and Billy Sheehan are good examples. In fact I recall seeing a video where Billy Sheehan was talking about that: he said he'd practice sitting down, then go to a gig and sling his bass down Ramones style and wonder why he couldn't play as well as he could at home... so he ended up with it crazy high.
I think you need to find the right kind of balance of height - for me, high makes it easier for my left hand but lower is a bit easier for my right.
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  #4  
Old 08.16.11, 11:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cerebro911 View Post
I know several people who wear their guitar goofy high compared to modern conventions of cool, but it works really well for them.
This. Don't let your technique suffer over silly conventions.
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  #5  
Old 08.16.11, 11:08 AM
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I prefer sitting to standing and I also play right handed even though I'm left handed. Higher strap when standing helps for the comfort though, waaaaay low is just awkward.

Anyone who says it's wrong to play sitting down has never seen Robert Fripp. Fripp Rips!
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Old 08.16.11, 11:34 AM
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Do whatever works best for you, within reason.

Could you imagine the MC5 if Wayne Kramer decided to sit but Fred "Sonic" Smith went all crazy on stage like he does?

Don't forget that music live is a show.
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Old 08.16.11, 2:50 PM
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I'll repeat what some geeks wrote before me : it's a matter of what's confortable for you, what works best. If you like playing while sitting, you'll probably end up with your guitar at chest height. If you lurk a bit, you'll find that people playing more technical stuff will tend to shorten their straps, so that the guitar is at an optimum high for them, a lot of jazz players I know do that so there's almost no difference in the position of their guitars while they play on stage.

It works the other way around too : my friend can't play when sitting, but when standing (his guitar is at the height of his waist) he become an amazingly dexterous player.
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  #8  
Old 08.17.11, 12:08 AM
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Marc Ribot plays sitting down. Even when he plays "punk". If it's good enough for Marc Ribot...
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Old 08.17.11, 11:15 AM
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Thanks for the replies everyone. It's reassuring to know other players find sitting down more comfortable, so I'm not doing anything wrong. It just seemed like no-one else experienced the same problem as I did (Mono seem to sit down most of the time, but they're the only ones I've seen so far)...but yeah. I didn't realise the likes of Tom Morello, Billy Sheehan and Marc Ribot did the same. If I ever play live again I'll either shorten the strap or throw coolness to the wind and fetch a stool.

Plus, it leaves both of my feet free for pedal stomping without falling over.
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Old 08.17.11, 11:34 AM
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Truth be told, I think the whole low slung guitar thing is a little passé these days.
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  #11  
Old 08.17.11, 11:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fat-robot View Post
Truth be told, I think the whole low slung guitar thing is a little passé these days.
Heretic! This is pretty much saying Jimmy Page is passé.








He did come up with the duck face, though...
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  #12  
Old 08.18.11, 3:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Concretebadger View Post
Thanks for the replies everyone. It's reassuring to know other players find sitting down more comfortable, so I'm not doing anything wrong. It just seemed like no-one else experienced the same problem as I did (Mono seem to sit down most of the time, but they're the only ones I've seen so far)...but yeah. I didn't realise the likes of Tom Morello, Billy Sheehan and Marc Ribot did the same. If I ever play live again I'll either shorten the strap or throw coolness to the wind and fetch a stool.

Plus, it leaves both of my feet free for pedal stomping without falling over.
And there aren't a whole lot who rock harder than Tom Morello. He had his guitar worn high and still jumped around like a madman in the old Rage Against the Machine Days
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Originally Posted by mmasonmusic View Post
I believe it was guitars mixed with a sense of desperation to not be dropped by their label...
Talking about wireless pedals...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cham Clowder View Post
It would be so we could run from one side of the stage to the other, switch from rhythm to lead, run over to the guy on the hammonds to turn on the flanger, and then sneak up behind the drummer and start going nuts on the wah.

Only to realize those pedals were hooked up to the bass!
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  #13  
Old 08.19.11, 6:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cerebro911 View Post
And there aren't a whole lot who rock harder than Tom Morello. He had his guitar worn high and still jumped around like a madman in the old Rage Against the Machine Days
...which made him hit his chin every now and then...
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Quote:
Originally posted by pop_n_fresh
The thought of EMGs on a Jag makes me vomit a little.

Originally posted by paradeblonde
Beep beeeep beeeeeeeeeep beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEPPPPPPPPP
Selling BOSS FW-3. I live in Brazil, mind you, so prepare yourself for $30-ish for shipping and waiting. Local pickup available, along with beautiful beaches and cheap bitches.
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  #14  
Old 08.19.11, 11:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asatbluesboy View Post
...which made him hit his chin every now and then...
Is that necessarily a bad thing? Better than having a bass land on your head.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmasonmusic View Post
I believe it was guitars mixed with a sense of desperation to not be dropped by their label...
Talking about wireless pedals...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cham Clowder View Post
It would be so we could run from one side of the stage to the other, switch from rhythm to lead, run over to the guy on the hammonds to turn on the flanger, and then sneak up behind the drummer and start going nuts on the wah.

Only to realize those pedals were hooked up to the bass!
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  #15  
Old 08.22.11, 1:20 PM
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FWIW, when I first started playing out I was not at all used to the weight of my guitar or the altered angles of my hands and found that it just took time and practicing standing up. Now that I'm not in a band, I have a hard time when I get up at jams because I don't regularly play standing up. It usually takes a song or two to get my "sea legs" so to speak.
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