Practicing standing up


#1

Hi all, do you guys advise splitting your practice time between standing and sitting. I have spent most of my time learning banjo sat down in front of the computer but found that when I played stood up I was all over the place and really struggled. I now do about 20mins at the end of each practice standing but it still doesn’t feel comfortable I find myself arching my neck forward to see the fretboard or standing with one leg forward to tilt the banjo up so I can see it better.

Just wondering if there are any good tips out there that I should be thinking about.


#2

I spend at least half my time practicing standing up…I even walk around sometimes when im pickin which is quite challenging to hit the notes right…I think it makes a huge difference in my pick accuracy/comfort playing standin’ up though and I advise you try it out


#3

I’m not a banjo player, but for similar instruments, there are two issues you bring up.

  1. Standing itself… yep, it will generally hang a bit different than when seated. In short, practice while standing will help you improve playing while standing.
  2. Looking at the face of the instrument… In a way, I wish they didn’t put fret markers on the face of the fretboard. The markers on the side of the neck are a much better reference to use in most cases. As you mentioned, straining to see the front of the instrument isn’t comfortable. I would focus on using the side markers whether sitting or standing. It will only take a very short amount of time to get used to it. That alone will probably alleviate the vast majority of the problems you have going between being seated and standing. When you get up the neck, there may be times you still prefer to lean over and take a peak, but you don’t want to be forced to do it all the time.

Good luck!


#4

Thanks guys, I think I will increase my standing playing time. I’m lucky enough to live close to a pub that holds a bluegrass workshop and open jam session which is a real rarity over here, so i’m working towards being confident enough to get down there and give it a go.


#5

I sometimes practice standing up in the bathroom. My wife accuses me of being exceedingly vain for standing in front of the bathroom mirror, but really I just like playing where it sounds good.


#6

— Begin quote from "chromatics crony"

I spend at least half my time practicing standing up…I even walk around sometimes when im pickin which is quite challenging to hit the notes right…I think it makes a huge difference in my pick accuracy/comfort playing standin’ up though and I advise you try it out

— End quote

I am about 1/2 & 1/2 also on standing vs sitting. I find it easier to stand and play actually.

unless your learning a brand new finger position you should be able to play while using the dots on the side of the neck for reference. After some time there is very little you will have to look at the fingerboard for while playing.


#7

I agree that standing while practicing will improve your playing I that position. I try to do both sitting and standing as well.

Alan Munde told at a workshop that he used the mirror a lot to focus on efficient hand use and that shows, so combining standing and in front of a mirror might be a good combination and cannot be called vain at all :wink: !

No further tips from my side though, to me it seems like it all comes down to starting to do it and keep practicing till it feels comfortable. Again…!


#8

Okay, next time my wife give me grief for standing in front of the mirror, I’ll tell her Alan Munde suggested I do it. :laughing:


#9

I feel that, more important than playing while standing, is to practice playing not looking at your hands. It is difficult and very frustrating at first but it won’t take too long for your hands to be able to find where they are without your eyes.

When you can do this, you’ll start part positioning your hands in relation to sounds rather than to abstract notes or positions on the fretboard.

I usually play sitting down because I’m lazy but because I play with a strap and the banjo slung at the side of my body, I find it easier to fret standing up because my hand position is better. But I’m lazy…


#10

Playing blind works for some but I’d caution that it may be years before most can jump around on the neck between high & low back-up phrases without looking at some kind of reference. This is why I suggested getting familiar with the dots on the side of the neck.


#11

I think he might have meant to not look at the fingers so much but at the beginning you will look at your fingers it is human nature but we must resist or you can not play blind . I play sometimes with the lights out and my wife ask me how I see where to go next . I usually do not miss many notes but now I might add a few LOL. there might not be any chairs on stage so learn to play both ways .


#12

— Begin quote from "fiddlewood"

Playing blind works for some but I’d caution that it may be years before most can jump around on the neck between high & low back-up phrases without looking at some kind of reference. This is why I suggested getting familiar with the dots on the side of the neck.

— End quote

My Deering Goodtime doesn’t have dots on the side of the neck like my Washburn B-19 does, and I’ve considered using my woodburning kit, a sharpie, or something to make some kind of reference point for me.

Also, my goodtime doesn’t have a resonator. I play it a lot more than my Washburn because it’s far lighter and easier to travel with, but I’ve noticed I’m starting to struggle when I strap on my Washburn because the resonator makes it feel so much bulkier. My hand placement is all over the place and my picking is much sloppier, especially with my middle finger on the 2nd string (always wants to go visit its next door neighbor to play a duet).


#13

Adding markers to the side is pretty easy. Like you said, you could use a sharpie. If you wanted “professional” markers, you could get a small dowel and put markers in pretty easily.