How to Hold a Bass Guitar Properly

It’s important to learn the correct technique to hold your bass guitar correctly. If you don’t properly hold your bass, it may have a variety of consequences, including slowing down your learning process and even causing an injury.

To begin, you must first know how to properly distribute the weight and feel secure while actually carrying the bass. Think of it as forming a necessary habit. To get the desired result, you have to feel comfortable quickly executing scales and different techniques for overall better performance.

We’ll look at how to position your bass correctly with the help of a strap and how to figure out your angle and your preferred height of the bass, which in turn helps you with the accessibility of the fretboard and greatly influences your performance stamina. We’ll start with the sitting position and move on to standing, with hand placement as well.

Using a Strap

The most essential aspect of properly holding the bass is using a strap. The strap takes the strain off your hands since your hands must be focused on playing the bass guitar. Another good reason why a strap is so vital is that it maintains the bass in one position, eliminating any needless adjustments.

The next step is figuring out the angle and the height of the bass. This makes a significant difference. The angle and height of the bass must be adjusted to your liking, and you should see if you feel comfortable with your accessibility to the fretboard as well as how your hand rests on the body of the bass.

Sitting Down

Now that we’ve addressed the strap issue, let’s sit down. You’ll need a comfortable chair with no armrests so you can move about freely. Another thing to keep an eye on is your posture when you’re sitting. Maintaining a good posture while playing the bass will help you avoid getting hurt. You must maintain a proper posture with your shoulders back so that when the bass strap is around your shoulder, you can carry it more easily.

Another thing to remember while sitting is to slightly elevate the foot that is supporting the body of the bass. A basic leg rest may be used to do this, and you simply need the neck of the bass to be somewhat higher. If the neck is too horizontal, you may have a difficult time grasping the lower notes, which put them out of reach.

This is a wonderful method to get started learning how to play the bass. Sitting down will make you more comfortable and help you perform more effectively. The obvious disadvantage is that, while performing, you will generally be standing, so I recommend practicing both sitting and standing variations to get used to each one.

Standing Up

This is where you’ll feel the strap’s importance. When you first stand up, you’re going to notice if your strap is positioned correctly. It must go across your shoulder to support the weight of the bass so it can dangle freely without weighing down on your arms.

First, take a second to see if you’re comfortable with this position. You can re-adjust the strap if you think It’s necessary to get the desired result. It’s all about feeling comfortable which leads to better performance overall. One hand goes around the neck, while the other rests on the body of the bass with your fingers near the strings and you’re ready to play!

Keep your posture in mind at all times. Even while standing up, the bass should not be lower than your waist since this would stress your wrist. You have to avoid making uncomfortable angles or doing needless things since this might result in wrist injuries. Once you clear these issues, you should be set up perfectly.

Hand Placement

Let’s dig a little deeper into your hand placement. So, for example, if you’re right-handed, your right hand is in command of the strings. Your thumb will be resting on the pickup, allowing for greater motion with all of your other fingers.

Your index and middle fingers will be responsible for most of the work when resting your thumb on the pickup, so you’ll need this placement to perform at your best. You’ll have no problems playing with ease if your hand feels good in this posture.

If you’re using a pick, change a few things slightly. You’ll be holding the pick with your thumb and index finger, so find a comfortable hand rest position. My suggestion is to put your hand on the body of the bass guitar so that you can extend your thumb and index finger that is holding the pick, to be able to play the strings more freely.

As far as your left-hand goes, the thumb needs to be behind the neck to support the pressure that your other fingers are going to be applying to successfully play notes. You don’t have to overgrip your neck, the thumb is more than capable of fulfilling this role so you have a wider range of motion with your other fingers.


Holding your bass properly is a pivotal part of learning the instrument. This issue should not be taken lightly, as it can negatively influence your playing, slow down your learning process or even cause injuries if not done correctly.

The key components here are first, using a strap for your bass guitar. The strap needs to go around your shoulder, adjusted to your personal angle and height preference. The shoulder should support the weight of the bass to let it hang freely so your hands don’t carry the load and have the freedom to play.

Sitting down is an excellent way to start practicing playing the bass. You need a stool without hand rests to have freedom of motion. You also need a leg rest because the leg that is holding the body of the bass needs to be slightly elevated, with the neck of the bass facing upwards.

While sitting down can be more comfortable, most gigs require you to stand up while playing. So that’s why you should practice in both circumstances. While standing up, strap placement is important, to hold the bass for you so you can have the freedom to play with ease.

Keep in mind that you need to hold a good posture while playing, whether it be sitting down or standing up to prevent unnecessary injuries. That’s why holding the bass properly is such an important issue and should not be overlooked.

Milan Trajkovikj

Milan Trajkovikj

I’m the Deputy Editor for Musician Wave and a touring and recording bass guitarist. I love to share my passion for all things music. I’ve been playing music for over ten years and I love exploring it further through writing. You'll also find me on the Musician Wave YouTube channel.

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