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Bass Guitar Lessons – How to Hold the Bass

Individual Differences

The correct position and posture when playing bass will be different for individual bassists. Everyone has a unique physique and build which can effect where you position the bass, and/or your posture when playing. The type and style of music you are playing can also be a factor that effects how you hold the bass. This lesson is about helping you understand what you should be doing – while knowing that adjustments can be made to develop the positioning and posture that fits best for you.

Always Play the Same Way

The most important point in this whole lesson is that you should establish the habit of positioning your bass and playing with a posture that is the same way regardless of the situation you’re in. And by situation we mean – whether you are sitting or standing!

Use a Strap

Whether sitting or standing, use a strap. Using a strap will ensure your bass is in the same position whether sitting or standing – more on this below. So to start, make sure you have a strap secured to your bass.

Start by Sitting

While sitting, your posture should be somewhat upright. Keep your back straight. Don’t get too rigid or stiff, yet don’t get too relaxed and lean forward or backward too much. Place your bass on your right leg (left leg for lefties) so that that the body of your bass is in the middle of your torso with the top of the bass near the bottom part of your chest.

The headstock of your bass should be pointing outward so that an angle of about a 45° is formed between your body and the neck of the bass. The headstock should be elevated somewhat pointing to the ceiling.

Now adjust your strap to keep your bass in this position. Your strap should not be pulling your bass tightly toward your body, nor have any release for it to be lowered.

Now Stand

Next go from sitting to standing. When you stand, your bass should now be in practically the same position as it was when you were seated. You will spend a lot of your time playing (practicing) in a seated position. When you stand your bass should be in a familiar position – it should be positioned where you’re used to playing without much adjustment at all.

It may be necessary to slightly raise the neck of your bass. It’s important that your wrist is straight while gripping the neck of the bass. Raise the neck of your bass until your left wrist (for right-handed players) is as straight as possible without it moving too far vertically.

Make Adjustments as Needed

Work on making adjustments so that you are comfortable and fluid when playing. The key point of this lesson is for you to understand the importance of playing the same way – regardless of whether you are sitting or standing. Whatever that may be for you, is your correct position and posture when playing bass.

The video below shows an accomplished bassists teaching correct positioning and posture. He covers the same things I do here with a few additional points and suggestions.


Jayme Lewis describes the correct way to hold the bass…

How to Hold Your Bass | Jayme's Bass Academy

Related Lesson –> How to Hold the Bass by Billy Sheehan

what do i need to learn bass guitar

How to Hold the Bass