Aug 132012

I stink at math, but I am confident in my belief that John Doe‘s bass stance from this X performance meets the ideal angles (ie, crotch-to-feet triangle, feet-relative-to-shoulder width, etc) that all bassists should emulate. May I request that one of the Hall’s mathematicians calculate the angles that make up this ideal bass stance? I was really hoping that Letterman would ask Doe about his stance. This research will benefit other bassists in learning and adopting this proper bass stance? Thank you.



  22 Responses to “Call for Mathematicians: Help Rock Town Hall Calculate the Angle of the Ideal Bass Stance”

  1. bostonhistorian

    What, you mean *this* isn’t the proper bass stance? The 9:20 mark is particularly instructive…

  2. Indeed, Historian! Other than Wyman’s stance, that clip is a tremendous and tremendously instructive piece of rock ‘n roll performance techniques. I’m tempted to open another can of Brian Jones-era vs Mick Taylor-era Stones debate. How can anyone watch this video and not agree that the Stones of this period were far cooler than the Stones of the vaunted Exile on Main Street period? But I won’t reopen this sensitive topic. Not today.

  3. Good instruction for us bassists. It’s hard to keep the “cool” stance when you don’t use a pick (with a pick you can pretend play guitar) but Doe does a great job. Not too high up, not too low (both change your stance). Not too much dancing, not too stiff.

    My favorite bassist as far as bass stance is John Lodge from Moody Blues.

    see this video of them (young!) at 3:10 he starts to sing and get on camera more

    I have not ever seen them as anything but a bunch of GEEZERS, this is strange to see them as basically kids

  4. bostonhistorian

    Seen in context, with the Stones following James Brown, Mick’s cool factor warms up significantly and he ends up looking like a little kid trying to imitate his far superior elder.

    Wyman is wrestling that bass like a thirteen year old trying to dance with his date at his first school dance. When asked about his bass technique after the show, Wyman simply said he was practicing for the future.

  5. I would encourage fledgling bassist to steer clear of this move. Most people who go for it will end up looking like a smacked ass, but Sir Horace Gentleman nails it:

  6. hrrundivbakshi

    Watching that video with the sound off makes one realize just how bad the drummer’s game is.

  7. misterioso

    It is one of my favorite rock and roll performances, period. They rose to the occasion in big way. As great in its way as the Taylor-era Stones on display in Ladies and Gentlemen…But, then, the 1964 Stones had about 12 minutes worth of great material. Still, to their credit, they killed it on the TAMI Show

  8. hrrundivbakshi

    Some of the commentary here might be instructive:

    IMPORTANT! The original video link isn’t working; I strongly recommend checking the Spiral Starecase’s bassist here to see what a *really* cool thunder-broom workman looks like:

  9. Clearly John Doe has a body and bass holding style that approximates the Golden Ratio. The ratio of his arm length to his leg length equaling phi and with the bass neck forming a golden triangle. A more aesthetically pleasing stance could only be accomplished by Da Vinci’s Vitruvius Man strapping on the 4-string.

    For pure power and intimidation, it’s hard to match the troglodyte stance of Dee Dee.

  10. Pee Wee Herman on bass right down to the silly “Tequila” type dance.

  11. cliff sovinsanity

    Unlike most bassists which adopt a stance and hold parallel to the stage front Paul Simonon often held the bass perpendicular. He also slung the bass low on the hip but rising to the chest, almost as if carrying a machine gun.
    Although these are not the classic angles you may be looking for, I’ve always thought the stance went well with their live show.
    Also in this vid

  12. I’m gonna say Doe’s stance is a little wide. You want a good spread, but not so much that when you want to move around you have to really haul yourself up. (Apologies for this not being truly mathematical.)

    Re the above-cited thread: I think the cool bass player clues the audience into the fact that he’s hearing the song in a different way, hearing possibilities that no one else is hearing, and that if you key in on him, you will too. This can get out of hand – I’ve mentioned before the problem of a bass part that starts to sound like a commentary track on a DVD – but then again so can anything.

    I still think the Spiral Starecase bassist had just been “totally promised” that his song would be the next single.

  13. ladymisskirroyale

    Yes, but I admire the “twin piston” choreography that he has going with Dammers on the other side of the stage.

    Note Terry’s short trousers – fore(leg)shadowing for FB3 and Bananarama.

  14. Ha! I always forget about that Spiral Starecase video so each time I see it, it’s as delightful as the first time.

    Also, I forgot about that troll who appeared out of nowhere for that thread. Entertaining stuff.

  15. I think Doe gets extra credit for creating the symmetry with Billy Zoom at times. This band at their prime could really get across the Power and Glory!

  16. Yeah. Good up and down, side to side, and front to back stage motion. I like a band that uses all 3 dimensions.

  17. ladymisskirroyale

    Ok, it’s really “model of an atom” choreography.

  18. cliff sovinsanity

    Guess, I should have read the PREVIOUSLY before attempting to comment.
    Move along, nothing to see here…

  19. Main video has been updated. Thanks for letting me know. That video is too important to ever be removed from YouTube.

  20. Yes, Simonon had a cool, distinctive stance.

  21. Feh!

  22. bostonhistorian

    That stance would get John Doe into a whole lot of trouble if he were, say, a senator in Minneapolis airport bathroom. More proof that rock style doesn’t translate well into the real world…

Lost Password?

twitter facebook youtube