Essential Secrets 17: Set Yourself Up Well
Set Yourself Up Well
A Little Comfort Goes a Long Way
To learn bass as efficiently as possible, having the best physical setup is crucial. You need the right setup for your bass—which a guitar repair person can do for you—and, more importantly, you should focus on how you position your instrument when you play.
Proper positioning is crucial to your success. You need to feel comfortable and have access to the entire fingerboard. Your fingers must be able to play their assigned frets whether you’re playing a four-string, five-string, or six-string bass. You should be able to slide your left hand up and down the neck easily without running into your torso. Your right hand needs to have comfortable access to every string whether you’re playing finger-style, slapping, or using a pick.
Most bassists need to do some experimenting to get the proper position. Change the length of your guitar strap. Try playing with the neck parallel to the floor as well as with the headstock raised up. You’ll find the perfect angle for your bass after you try several positions. And, all of these maneuvers will change if you’re sitting instead of standing when you play.
You’re searching for a position that lets you use your anatomy most efficiently. The bend in your elbows should feel comfortable, and you shouldn’t have to hyper-extend your left wrist to reach any notes. You want to keep your spine relatively straight, and your back should feel relaxed. Make sure you’re not raising your shoulders. (If you play with your shoulders raised, you’ll literally get a pain in the neck.) All tension should be eliminated from your playing.
Every time you pick up your bass, quickly make sure you’re positioned correctly before you start playing. With the proper positioning you’ll feel better, have more strength and stamina, and learn more quickly and efficiently.
Books by David Motto:
THE TEN MINUTE
FOR ELECTRIC BASS
COMPLETE 3-VOL. SET