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 crossed vs uncrossed playing 
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Post crossed vs uncrossed playing
I've been reading about crossed vs uncrossed hands. Can you tell me more about this?

It seems like with the conventional tuning, the lower register of the melody can be blocked by the players left hand.

It seems like the benefit of uncrossed tuning, (assuming same intervals, but bass and melody switching sides) is that the hands have access to the whole neck - the hands done interfere with each other because left hand plays base on the left side, and right hand plays melody on the right side, rather than reaching across the board.

What is the downside to setting it up this way?

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Sat Jan 23, 2016 5:32 pm
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Post Re: crossed vs uncrossed playing
Try both and see. Uncrossed has an ergonomic disadvantage of closing the fingers in almost fist form if the thumb is still used for support. If the thumb is not used for support, the floating hand is harder to control. Quoting Tony Levin "Every rule is meant to be broken, for a reason." There are circumstances where you will want either both hands on one side or to play uncrossed. It just isn't the rule.

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Sat Jan 23, 2016 5:37 pm
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Post Re: crossed vs uncrossed playing
You know, I tried it. I spent only two weeks on it before it seemed that, to me, it was really hard on my wrists, especially as I played up higher on the neck. One day, though it's an aspect of playing I would like to incorporate into what I do...

It seems to me that there is this sort of attitude towards the Stick as 'sides'. A melody side and a bass side, or a 'guitar' side and a 'bass' side. For me anyways, I kind of treated the melody side as my guitar' and the bass side as the black sheep...

The point is, that as long as you wear it so that it's comfortable, really your 'handedness' is a non issue, unless it's uncomfortable...?

Just my opinion. Good luck, friend! Can't wait to see and hear you play!

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Sat Jan 23, 2016 6:49 pm
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Post Re: crossed vs uncrossed playing
my left wrist does not have to rotate as much with the crossed position. Uncrossed my elbow has to rotate back more. I use a pedestal that is cut flat which twists the board to a better angle for me. where I place the hook on my belt (in front of belly button - vs to the right of belly button) also will affect the board twist.


Sat Jan 23, 2016 8:45 pm
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Post Re: crossed vs uncrossed playing
I suppose it's a personal thing: for me, the wrists have a better angle crossing the board, and I have much better dynamic control that way.
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Sat Jan 23, 2016 9:02 pm
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Post Re: crossed vs uncrossed playing
It's a great question, and you've gotten some great answers. There are a couple of players who do a great job with uncrossed setups, an the Stick is designed to easily accommodate that without having to replace the nut, as you would on another instrument...

To go a little deeper:

1. When you cross over the board both hands have access to all of the strings. Uncrossed play is more segregated. Two-handed bass is a great example, as the two hands cross over one group of strings, and there are players who use their right thumb on the high bass strings quite often. One of my favorite tricks is to use my right thumb or pinky to play harmonics on the bass strings while playing melody notes with my other right hand fingers.

2. The thinner strings sound more like harpsichord strings and less like guitar strings when you play them close to the nut. You will notice players who play uncrossed rarely play the thinnest melody strings near the nut because of this. The converse is true for the bass strings. They sound better near the nut. So this idea that you will bump into your left hand is not as big a concern as you might think, especially on the longer-scale Sticks, where there's lots of room for both hands.

3. It's actually not very comfortable to play the strings closest to your head near the nut with you right hand. Those strings are much easier to get to by reaching your left hand over the whole string set.

4. Keeping your hands more open allows for greater freedom of movement, always a plus, especially if you are doing a lo of position shifting.

5. It's much easier to see what your hands are doing when they are crossed, as they are closer to each other in your field of view.

6. Having the lowest 2 bass strings in the center of the board is a big advantage if you are playing a lot of bass parts.

That's just a few of the benefits. The only potential drawback is the one you mentioned... and... you have to play carefully around the lowest bass string when you are playing the lowest melody string. But it would be true that you have to be careful around the highest bass string when you are playing the highest melody string in the uncrossed orientation.

give me those open hands any day...

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Sun Jan 24, 2016 8:47 pm
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Post Re: crossed vs uncrossed playing
Thank you very much! It's nice to be able to try multiple different things if I want to down the road, but frankly if it's at all possible I'd rather launch down the path is most likely to work and stick with it, than try two or three different directions before settling into one works for me. I'm not as young as I like to pretend I am...

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Mon Jan 25, 2016 8:15 am
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Post Re: crossed vs uncrossed playing
the advantages of the Stick is you can do BOTH. look at Bob C. and Greg H. vids to see examples. i have stuck steadfastly to DBR tuning and "found" ways around the "hands getting in the way of each other" (i play "double" bass lines as well as "double" melody lines) - you figure it out as you go along in your journey. there is nothing "unorthodox" in any technique because we're further inventing the technique that Emmett started - hey, it's still a new instrument. i watch vids and go "Oh, yeah, i can do THAT too..." my guitarist/drummer buddy watches me reach over and behind with my hands and says "...because you CAN!" thumbs, pinkys, i'd hold a note down with my nose if i could. oh, yeah, and capos, too. and a removable damper on my frettless Stick (that happened by accident. we had to remove it when my luthier removed the fret wires from my Ironwood - now i just shove various thicknesses of felt under depending) but, every time i see what Bob C. is up to i just go. "Man...!" EXPERIMENT. (and then there's Boris...)
...and one more thing. bachdois, concerning "Difference in hand sensibility", not to "baby" a weaker hand, but whatever works for you in an arrangement is cool. i've seen quite a few of the classical players switch over to uncrossed for certain passages just 'cause it was "ergonomic" (thank's Greg)

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Tue Jan 26, 2016 2:15 pm
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Post Re: crossed vs uncrossed playing
:) thanks!


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Wed Jan 27, 2016 3:03 pm
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