Taking Your First Steps

If you're just starting out, you need to know some very basic information about positioning the bass. The first step is learning how to hold the instrument. Start out in a sitting position. Place the body of the bass so that it rests with the bottom cutaway on your right thigh. When you do this, the bass neck will point to your left. Next, balance the instrument by tilting the neck slightly upward. Finally, place your right forearm over the rear hump on the top edge of the instrument's body.

Use the natural weight of your right arm to help balance the bass in a more secure hold between your right forearm and your right thigh. When in place, bring your left arm up underneath the neck. Place your left thumb on the backside of the neck and, while rounding out your left hand (as if holding a lemon), place your fingertips on the strings. In the right hand, place your index finger on any of the strings. You are now in position to play the bass. If you wish to try standing instead of sitting, keep every position instruction the same except: let the strap, and gravity itself, hold the bass in position against your body while the right forearm is freed up. This is illustrated in Figure 2-2.

Figure 2-2

Holding the bass

If you plan to play bass right-handed, follow the instructions in this section verbatim. If you are going to play lefty, simply switch around the directions to make right left and left right. Most people play right-handed, but if you feel more comfortable playing lefty go for it.

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