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Should You Sit or Stand for Double Bass Playing?

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It’s a topic of much dispute and confusion in the double bass playing world. It first depends on what genre of music you are going to play such as jazz, classical, rock, blues, etc. But it isn’t set in stone that if you play classical you have to sit down or jazz, you have to stand—it depends as much on the musician as it does the genre. So this article will discuss the advantages for each and you can decide.

Sitting

 

  • Balancing – For the most part, your legs support the double bass so there isn’t any balancing involved. This will make the bass more stable.
  • Easier to play in pitch – The double bass doesn’t move or twist so it’s easier to stay in tune. The location of the pitch is pretty much the same due to sitting on the same stool, using an identical length endpin and securing the endpin tip at the same distance. The thumb position and bridging neck are much easier too.
  • Better angle for bowing – When you’re sitting, you’re at a more natural angle for bowing because you sit behind the bass rather than at its side. It’s also easier for the left hand to navigate the bass and shifting is easier as well.
  • Less fatigue – When you stand, your hand is holding up the bass which will make your arm tired quickly. When you play the double bass in a sitting position, you don’t have that problem.

Standing

 

  • Volume and sound – The bass will sound better because it isn’t leaning against your body. The result is a more open and louder sound. You’ll also have the ability to find the precise position for every register.
  • A Stool isn’t needed – You can’t assume that the location you’re playing at will have a stool for you because most of the time they won’t. So carrying a stool everywhere you play can be quite cumbersome. Plus, standing allows you to have better posture.
  • Freedom to move – This may sound ridiculous, but this actually helps a musician play better. If you want to move around while playing, as in jazz, you can and it’ll help you “get into the music” more. If you sit, you are limited to head bobbing and foot tapping.
  • One disadvantage of standing is not being completely comfortable. But this can be solved by putting in a removable Laborie endpin. This endpin goes in at an angle in a cone-shaped hole which is drilled in the lower back of the double bass and has a rubber ball that provides solid connection with nearly any kind of floor. When a musician, uses this endpin, they feel a lighter bass because of the shift in weight on the left thumb which will give them more comfort when they stand with the face of the bass open. Also, because of the bass being angled, it will have a greater, deeper tone and more projection. Due to the heavy steel endpin being removed, the bass will also have more freedom in vibration.

 

Try both sitting and standing to see which one works better for you. It’s based on the preference of the musician, after all. Please contact us if you need any further information, we’ll be glad to help!

 

photo credit: Dani Alvarez Cañellas via photopin cc