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Thread: stand or sit?

  1. #1
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    Default stand or sit?

    I like the freedom of moving around while on my feet -- a more whole body process. On the other hand I have better control and more resonant sound when sitting. Musical genres differ in their usual stance (sit vs stand), and I play a bit of many genres. Any thoughts on this matter? Ideally I would love to find a way to have it all (don't we all!), and be able to stand and have great control and sound.

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    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Default Re: stand or sit?

    Well, at my age, the decision is an easy one.
    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

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    Registered User sblock's Avatar
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    Default Re: stand or sit?

    If you plan on performing with your mandolin, you would be well advised to learn to play both ways -- not just one or the other. The preferred stance depends, to some degree, on the genre (and traditions) of the music being played. A lot of classical music is performed seated. The same goes for Irish traditional music. Bluegrass onstage, on the other hand, is usually performed while standing. The same goes for rock and roll. At indoor jams lasting hours, though, many people prefer to sit for bluegrass. Or the blues. Outdoors, and at festivals, you may well see folks both sitting and standing. Yup -- it depends.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: stand or sit?

    At home, always sitting
    At practice or during shows, always standing. Can't let your meat loaf.
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  5. #5

    Default Re: stand or sit?

    I seem to generally prefer sitting down playing the mandolin. I sit part of the time playing harmonica but have a tendency to get up and walk around, greet people, hug pretty ones, or grab a beer while playing, so I generally use a wireless mike for my harps.

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    Registered User Randi Gormley's Avatar
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    Default Re: stand or sit?

    I'm purely a sitting kind of person, but the music I play is almost always done that way. I find that I'm like those people who can't walk and chew gum at the same time. if I'm walking, my mandolin playing suffers!
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    Default Re: stand or sit?

    I always use a strap and make a point to hold the mandolin the same way whether I'm sitting or standing...
    This sounds really nit-picky but it's truly practical - I don't want to have to learn how to play this instrument twice!

    So, sit or stand - to me, it should not matter.

    Kirk

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  9. #8
    Registered User Jill McAuley's Avatar
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    Default Re: stand or sit?

    Quote Originally Posted by tiltman View Post
    I always use a strap and make a point to hold the mandolin the same way whether I'm sitting or standing...
    This sounds really nit-picky but it's truly practical - I don't want to have to learn how to play this instrument twice!

    So, sit or stand - to me, it should not matter.

    Kirk
    +1 for this approach: I used to busk a lot, always standing - since my strap holds the mandolin in the same place whether I'm sitting or standing I didn't find too much of a difference in how I played/how the instrument sounded. The only significant difference for me was how it feels to keep time tapping your foot when standing vs. when sitting. For some reason doing this when standing up always requires a brief time period of adjustment as for the first tune it always feels a little awkward.
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  11. #9
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    Default Re: stand or sit?

    Quote Originally Posted by tiltman View Post
    I always use a strap and make a point to hold the mandolin the same way whether I'm sitting or standing...
    This sounds really nit-picky but it's truly practical - I don't want to have to learn how to play this instrument twice!

    So, sit or stand - to me, it should not matter.

    Kirk
    Another one who has done this for decades. Some styles of music we all sit, performing live depends on the group and venue. With a strap, as has been said, makes no difference. When I played more guitar I did the same thing.
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  12. #10
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    Default Re: stand or sit?

    What they said. I'm a mandolin beginner, but I find a strap means you can sit and play and just stand up and keep playing. I find a Tone-Gard means it sounds the sme to me whichever I'm doing, there are threads here about that.

  13. #11
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: stand or sit?

    Unless it's a strolling gig (like at an italian restaurant) I sit when I play mandolin. No strap - including standing.

  14. #12
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    Default Re: stand or sit?

    I've only been playing a few years and I have just started playing standing up, I don't seem to have the same control when picking as I do sitting. I've started making it a part of my practice routine to play a little standing. I've always practiced sitting.

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    Default Re: stand or sit?

    After standing and playing 8 zillion live jobs on guitar for 40 years, I started sitting the last 5 or 6 years of playing out on guitar, Now being a home player I'm always sitting and never use a strap...comfort and quiet

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    Default Re: stand or sit?

    I always play with a strap but have difficulty jabbing the bottom point in my leg whilst standing.

  17. #15
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    Default Re: stand or sit?

    Quote Originally Posted by tiltman View Post
    I always use a strap... So, sit or stand - to me, it should not matter.
    +3, or maybe we're up to +4?
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  18. #16

    Default Re: stand or sit?

    Celtic and blugrass here. +5 on straps, all my mandos have their own strap tied on. Now acoustic guitar, just the opposite, seated only without a strap, especially with a dread.
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    Default Re: stand or sit?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jill McAuley View Post
    +1 for this approach: I used to busk a lot, always standing - since my strap holds the mandolin in the same place whether I'm sitting or standing I didn't find too much of a difference in how I played/how the instrument sounded. The only significant difference for me was how it feels to keep time tapping your foot when standing vs. when sitting. For some reason doing this when standing up always requires a brief time period of adjustment as for the first tune it always feels a little awkward.
    Back when I busked with a friend, he was adamant that you should always stand and look engaged with what you're doing.
    His reasoning was that if you can't be bothered to stand why should anyone even listen.

    Also take a break every twenty minutes and keep it fresh. We played in a busy produce market and we did alright.

    In the ceilidh band, I like to plug in so i can alternate between sitting and standing as I feel, and stop my back and neck from getting sore over what could be several hours of playing.
    I think some busking principles mentioned above also work for playing dances.
    Bren

  20. #18
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    Default Re: stand or sit?

    Stood all the time when I played bluegrass, in bar band(s), mostly when playing Celtic or klezmer. When I got into concertina, found that it's mucho easier to play sitting down, firmly fixed in the lap. As I slid up to my mid-60's, I started taking a folding stool to gigs -- sorta a compromise between sitting and standing -- and I do that now 100%. Now only time I stand consistently is when I'm playing bass fiddle, and even then I have a stool to sit on between tunes -- when the caller's teaching a dance, or something similar.

    Sneaking up on age 80, I find myself somewhat less steady on my feet, and I don't want to have to worry about my balance, when I'm worrying about the tune and the words and voice projection and the next break and what's the next song...etc. It's easier to lock the instrument in place when sitting, and much easier than when you're teetering.
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  22. #19

    Default Re: stand or sit?

    On mandolin, it's a mix of sitting and standing.

    In my career as a professional drummer, I'm always the odd man out. In dance bands (country, rock, jazz) I was always the only one sitting. In classical band and orchestra, I (along with the other percussionists) was the only one standing.

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  24. #20
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    Default Re: stand or sit?

    Churchill supposedly said "I don't run when I can walk, and I don't walk when I can ride." I would add "I don't stand when I can sit." That goes for my entire lifestyle, not just musical endeavors.

    To me playing standing is like working at one of those standing desks. I used to have a work situation with a sitting desk and a standing desk. And soon enough I bought a bar stool for the standing desk.

    If it matters, of course, I will stand. It generally works out fine. I have had excellent jams, open mics and performances standing. I have never had a very long solo standing, but if I had to, I could prepare for it. If standing is a traditional part of the music and I was in a band that stood while playing that music, of course i would stand. But if I have the choice...

    And I generally practice sitting down, unless I am nervous, at which time I pace back and forth as I play.

    I rarely use a strap sitting down. Playing standing is easier with a strap, but even then, unless the instrument is real heavy, I do fine without. My National RM1 is a heavy chunk of mandolin, and I play it with a strap, sitting or standing. My L&H and my bowlback I play without a strap, sitting or standing.
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  26. #21
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    Default Re: stand or sit?

    yeah but but but instructors tell you you have to sit a certain way, stand a certain way, hold a pick a certain way, play a certain way, all the necessary equipment, devices and gadgets you just have to have to succeed...don't know how anyone ever made it or did anything before computers and internet that made modern man crybabies out of many...my modern man rant now ignore me and carry on

  27. #22
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    Default Re: stand or sit?

    I find it more comfortable to stand as I can have the mandolin comfortably much lower than when I sit. However I play most sitting because I practice at my desk in my home studio ... and because Iím lazy.

  28. #23
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    Default Re: stand or sit?

    Similar to David I play standing and sitting and donít use a strap for either carved top or bowl back instruments. Same hold standing or sitting & the instrument just stays put without any need to grip it.

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  30. #24
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    Default Re: stand or sit?

    Same as many above. I use a strap and it hangs on me the same for sitting or standing.
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  31. #25

    Default Re: stand or sit?

    As far as playing out, sit if you are wallpaper, stand if you are putting on a show.

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