Bass playing is hard on my back, anyone have a solution?

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RockerRocker Frets: 2884
Played bass for a few hours with my friends last night.  This morning I was crippled and sick with a sore back.  Lower back area.  My bass is heavy, as are all basses, so is there a strap that goes around ones waist -  a strap that pulls the guitar in close to the body to minimize the leaning over that is necessary to see the fretboard?  Hard to describe what I am looking for but some waist strap that works in conjunction with a shoulder strap is what I need.

I cannot be the only person who suffers from back pain after playing the bass.  What solutions are out there to solve this problem?  Thanks.
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. [Albert Einstein]

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  • No not all basses are heavy. How heavy is your bass?

    My Jazz weighs around 9lb IIRC, and you can get even lighter than that, especially if you look at something with a smaller body like an Ibanez SR - pretty sure those can be under 8lb which is getting close to typical guitar weight.
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  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 20010
    I am the juice of four limes.
    Trading Feedback

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  • VimFuegoVimFuego Frets: 6276
    one of them acoustic basses? something like a kala u bass mebbe?

    I'm not locked in here with you, you are locked in here with me.

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  • KKJaleKKJale Frets: 744
    edited April 2017
  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 16786
    edited April 2017
    A few suggestions:

    - Not all basses are created equal. Some can be light. I have a P bass which is just over 8lbs - similar to a strat or tele. 

    - The headstock weight and balance can make a big difference to comfort. It affects the way you hold and grip which may be hampering your ability to see and play 

    - Get a good strap. I recommend the Mono straps - wide, chunky and very comfy - makes a big difference 

    - Try wearing it a bit higher - I know it's counter intuitive, but it encourages a more upright position. 

    - Now this may sound facetious, and I don't mean it this way at all, but if you are prepared to put the time in, playing with reference only to the side dot markers and playing by feel is so much more comfortable

    - Are you playing with your thumb behind the neck rather than to the side? - if you do it gives a natural twist to your playing position which makes it easier to play


    Just a few thoughts to start you off...
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  • RockerRocker Frets: 2884
    No idea how heavy my bass is @guitarfishbay, we don't have a bathroom scales so no way of checking it out.  It is an Aria STB and it is significantly heavier than my Epi Les Paul.  I am somewhat disabled, the weight of the bass strains my back, resulting in pain.  I actually felt and looked sick this morning.  This does not happen when I play guitar, even the Epi.
    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. [Albert Einstein]

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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 16786
    Rocker said:
    No idea how heavy my bass is @guitarfishbay, we don't have a bathroom scales so no way of checking it out.  It is an Aria STB and it is significantly heavier than my Epi Les Paul.  I am somewhat disabled, the weight of the bass strains my back, resulting in pain.  I actually felt and looked sick this morning.  This does not happen when I play guitar, even the Epi.
    I started a thread on basschat about light basses - there's plenty out there at the 7lbs and under point - might be worth a swap out?
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  • axisusaxisus Frets: 11859
    Old Steinberger cricket bat? They are considered very good.

    Status Streamline?


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  • JezWyndJezWynd Frets: 2637
    edited April 2017
    Violin basses are usually around 6lbs. If you want something a bit more regular looking the Club bass has similar weight and build but in a LP shape. 
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  • RockerRocker Frets: 2884
    Thanks for all the replies guys.  Lots to think about.  Over on Basschat, a guy suggested this: http://www.hotroxuk....zPuoaAsgu8P8HAQ
    I will mock it up tomorrow and see if the height [70 cm] and the footrest [28 cm from floor] would suit.
    The Status Streamline looks the biz @axisus but I would expect it is way out of my price league.  Good suggestion though.
    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. [Albert Einstein]

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  • CarpeDiemCarpeDiem Frets: 123
    Rocker said:
    Thanks for all the replies guys.  Lots to think about.  Over on Basschat, a guy suggested this: http://www.hotroxuk....zPuoaAsgu8P8HAQ
    I will mock it up tomorrow and see if the height [70 cm] and the footrest [28 cm from floor] would suit.
    The Status Streamline looks the biz @axisus but I would expect it is way out of my price league.  Good suggestion though.
    If the stool above doesn't work for you, it may be worth checking out a QuickLok stool. DV247 have a keyboard stool. It's £130, but QuickLok products are good. Another option, possibly a bit leftfield, would be a weight lifters belt or a latex type support to protect your lower back. If it's any consolation, the bass players in the two bands I play in both sit down for some of the time, generally on their amps.
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  • axisusaxisus Frets: 11859
    Rocker said:
    Thanks for all the replies guys.  Lots to think about.  Over on Basschat, a guy suggested this: http://www.hotroxuk....zPuoaAsgu8P8HAQ
    I will mock it up tomorrow and see if the height [70 cm] and the footrest [28 cm from floor] would suit.
    The Status Streamline looks the biz @axisus but I would expect it is way out of my price league.  Good suggestion though.
    I'm guessing that £1.5K is too much? Bass for sale on the Status forum:

    http://www.statii.com/forum/forum/viewthread.php?thread_id=6309
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  • fretmeisterfretmeister Frets: 9807

    "My belief is that bands are made up of bass, drums and a bunch of novelty acts."

    - Nick Mason.

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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 16786
    Yerp. Lighter bass.
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 34924
    The Hofner Violin Bass type basses are pretty light as JezWynd said. Also not expensive, if you get one of the modern copies - there's a Harley Benton at a barely believable just over £100, although I haven't played one so I don't know if it's any good. The Epiphone version at about double that is pretty nice though. (And it wouldn't surprise me if both come out of the same factory…)

    https://www.thomann.de/gb/harley_benton_beatbass.htm?glp=1&gclid=CLa1ouOMxNMCFWUq0wodbD8L3Q

    https://www.thomann.de/gb/epiphone_viola_bass.htm?ref=search_rslt_epiphone+bass_152095_1

    (The HB has the more complex and vintage-accurate controls, the Epi a simpler 'Jazz Bass' set up.)

    The body is small so they naturally sit closer to you with the neck pointing up a bit, so it's easy to see what you're doing. They do have the slight disadvantage of being a little neck-heavy so they can be less of a relief on your left shoulder than you might expect, but they're not too bad.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • EricTheWearyEricTheWeary Frets: 7512
    You could look at the Planet Waves Dare strap.

    These were designed for people with back and shoulder problems. I think they were originally made by a small company and Planet Waves took over the design and made them cheap. So they do, apparently, fall apart eventually but they are relatively cheap and seem to work. 
    Dum dum dum, dum dum de dum, dum dum dum, dum dummmm.
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  • fretmeisterfretmeister Frets: 9807
    edited April 2017

    "My belief is that bands are made up of bass, drums and a bunch of novelty acts."

    - Nick Mason.

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  • slackerslacker Frets: 1051
    edited April 2017
    A mate of mine has some seriously expensive basses (sei pedulla) and he often uses one of those spirit basses. Through a decent amp they sound great.
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  • JezWyndJezWynd Frets: 2637
    edited April 2017
    ICBM said:
    The Hofner Violin Bass type basses are pretty light ...

    The body is small so they naturally sit closer to you with the neck pointing up a bit, so it's easy to see what you're doing. They do have the slight disadvantage of being a little neck-heavy so they can be less of a relief on your left shoulder than you might expect, but they're not too bad.
    I've found that the violin bass (the cheaper modern type) does have a tendency to roll away and down. A combination of the back shape (a bowl shape) and the placement of the front strap button (at base of neck). The original Hofners have a raised fretboard at the body (like a violin) which allowed the strap to run in front of the body but under the fretboard, thus pulling the bass into the body. Complicated to explain - a picture really is worth a 1000 words...



    I was able to mostly resolve the problem by moving the strap button to the side of the body at the top where the neck meets body. Worked well.
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  • EricTheWearyEricTheWeary Frets: 7512
    I'd missed that - that's a better made/ more expensive version of the Dare strap.

    slacker said:
    A mate of mine has some seriously expensive basses (sei pedulla) and he often uses one of those spirit basses. Through a decent amp they sound great.
    Hohner also used to make The Jack bass which was light and headless but with a more conventional body shape. 
    Dum dum dum, dum dum de dum, dum dum dum, dum dummmm.
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  • bassborabassbora Frets: 59
    @Rocker ; I know people are suggesting lighter basses and that's what I would do but to answer your question I remember seeing Tom Araya talking about just the thing you first mentioned in your OP.  If you watch the rig rundown for slayer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlvaYmvyDmk and go in around 14:30 he talks about having a belt around him and hook the bass on that.  Check it out.
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  • JezWyndJezWynd Frets: 2637
    Mentioned the Club Bass earlier. There's been one on sale here for a while. It's the modern style model with a solid centre block which gives (apparently) more modern tones. 

    http://www.thefretboard.co.uk/discussion/86266/
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  • RockerRocker Frets: 2884
    The mock up revealed a lot.  70 cm is way too high for me, something around 60 cm suits me better.  And with both feet on the floor and a shortened strap, the bass 'moved' closer to my ribcage.  A more comfortable playing position.  A half hour playing showed no ill effects.  I then 'modified' my drum stool/seat to the new height.  Now I have to wait until the next music evening with my friends so that I can try out the modified seat.  As someone suggested, this means playing bass while sitting.  Fine by me, just more kit to move.  A benefit, alluded to by @Bridgehouse, the slightly different position of the bass makes it easier to position my thumb behind the neck.  A few hours practice and that new position will become permanent.

    Thanks to you all, I will update after the next music evening.
    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. [Albert Einstein]

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  • GassageGassage Frets: 21349
    edited April 2017
    .

    Donald Trump has spoken movingly about 7-Eleven. It reminded him, he said, of the way Americans came together in 1941 after Pearl Necklace.

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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 16786
    @Rocker - I had back pain first time I played for an extended period of time stood up - the thumb position and strap height both alleviated it considerably..
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  • RockerRocker Frets: 2884
    @Gassage, I have a medical problem that restricts my standing.
    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. [Albert Einstein]

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  • fretmeisterfretmeister Frets: 9807
    Strap length is a little thought about issue.

    It might not look as cool to have the bass higher up, but it can make a lot of difference.

    "My belief is that bands are made up of bass, drums and a bunch of novelty acts."

    - Nick Mason.

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  • JezWyndJezWynd Frets: 2637
    Strap length is a little thought about issue.

    It might not look as cool to have the bass higher up, but it can make a lot of difference.
    Helps relieve neck dive too. Not sure why, but it solved the problem with an SG bass.
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  • Dave_VaderDave_Vader Frets: 215
    Strap length is a little thought about issue.

    It might not look as cool to have the bass higher up, but it can make a lot of difference.
    Yeah, it totally knackers my right shoulder if I have my bass up high, need the strings at the end of my right arm or I'm in agony.
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  • pintspillerpintspiller Frets: 600
    Guitar with an octave pedal do?
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