My posture and technique

This my finger position on the white Bass 9th to 12 frets. 4th finger done unless I choke the neck!




Notice how my left wrist bows out to deal with the muscle strain and pain in my wrist and bicep!

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Try pushing your bass out away from your body at a 45 degree angle.
Does that help?

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Looks like you have very long arms. Have you tried orienting the bass more upright?
Edit: picture of pino palladino who also has very long arms. He wears his bass a lot lower which allows him to keep the neck more horizontal I think. I have short arms so idk

When you fret the bass, hold it more upright and rotate your wrist inwards. By doing that you will be moving your pinky higher on the fretboard. It feels strange at first but is necessary for clean fretting in the upper end of the fretboard by the pinky.

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@marknox67 Try holding your bass with the neck at a higher angle rather than horizontal. That will let you straighten your wrist. Also, try curling your fretting fingers a bit more instead of bending your wrist.

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Yes sir I am a lot no armed dude so at 6’ 4” 280 lbs it is a major problem!

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Yes maybe if I drop the Bass guitar down that might work to be more upright. I don’t know! Josh Fossgreen help!

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@marknox67 If you want to get someone’s attention, put the @ symbol at the beginning of their screen name. Like this for Josh…

Hey @JoshFossgreen can you take a look at these pictures and offer some help?

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I am a fat dude but my arms are long in relation to my torso. I found that by strapping my bass a touch higher than normal, by rotating my wrist inwards, my pinky could reach just about anywhere on the fretboard. Really high notes feel a touch awkward but I have gotten use to it by now. I will play scales starting on fret 12 and my pinky can get up there on the 15th fret fairly consistently. I do have to be mindful to rotate once I hit that area or I will not fret it cleanly and it will clack. I also angle the neck side a little higher which positions the whole thing at the right angle to fret. But, I rarely play up in the area above the 15th so it will take a little more time, patience and practice to get good at it. But, I keep right on plugging along.

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This is a picture of Federico Malaman, a world-class bassist and teacher.

Notice how he’s wearing his bass lower and he has his fretting hand elbow turned out, away from his body. This bass height and neck angle allow him to keep both of his wrists straighter and relaxed.

He’s also arching his fretting fingers a bit rather than keeping them perfectly straight.

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Also worth checking out Adam Neely’s video on safe left hand technique.

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@marknox67, here’s a shot of the legendary James Jameson. Notice the height of his bass against his body, the position of his hands on the bass, the straightness of his wrists, and the angle of the neck.

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Ok now! He has the body on his thigh and right knee! Yes!

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I did check ole boy out!

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And notice how the neck is crossing his body at an angle, roughly between his belt and his belly button.

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Yes! He perfected that technique as this was him performing at the late, great Marvin Gayes concert.
He loves oks relaxed and his posture was excellent.

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I cannot diagnose this or offer any help without being in the same room with you for an hour so that we could really work through every piece of the physical weirdness that is playing the bass.

But when I do this with students, I usually end up saying these things:

  • Don’t worry about technique.
  • Worry about staying in the groove and the sounds that you make
  • If you are worrying about technique, use this hierarchy:
    – Are you comfortable?
    – Are you relaxed?
    – – Is this something you will be using in your bass playing life? Does it apply to the music you are playing?
    – Can you gently shift the hand instead of reaching with the fingers?

Those steps help tangle out some problems.
But, again, technique is as individual as the body playing the bass.

I don’t ever critically focus on technique in the abstract (meaning technique exercises or general/overall technique unattached to music) with beginning students.
We focus on:

  1. The Groove
  2. The sound made on the bass
  3. The comfortable/relaxed technique that will allow a specific and level-appropriate bass challenge to be overcome.

This way the technique increases and focuses as the student develops, but it keeps a clear focus on the ears, on hearing the sounds, and less on the analytical place of what mechanics are being used.

I don’t know if this is at all helpful.
These types of answers are generally terrible on the platform of the internet where everything needs to be delivered and digested in a short post or video.

This way is better for a long-term relationship with in-person lessons, as that is my primary bass experience.

I hope there’s something decent in there.
Best of luck!

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Hey @marknox67 , bunch of good advice above, the only thing I have to add is: play with bending your index middle and ring fingers a little more, to “even out” their length with the (relatively straight) pinky finger, then manuever your arm/thumb/wrist however you need to reach the E string comfortably.

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@marknox67 , as another (ahem) …large individual, i can tell you that this can be worked through. you and i are roughly the same size, and the world makes all this stuff for the tiny folk and mostly ignores us.
( strangely, this does not apply to the cooper mini…staggering amount of leg room and my head doesn’t rub the roof. Crazy, right?)

Everyone here is telling you right. For me, I’ve had to make adjustments as I’ve progressed over the last year. Lowering the bass a little to just above the waist, playing with the headstock at an upward angle rather than level have been significant.

Myself, my fingers are short and stumpy- judging by the pictures, yours are skinnier and longer-so i think you’ll naturally come to the sweet spot with a little practice time in the books.

The only real advice I’ll give here is-it’s there. I promise you, it’s there. Keep it in your hands, and keep thumping. You’ll find it.

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