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Where do you stand ?

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Mar 31, 2022 - 8:09:39 AM
1014 posts since 6/13/2012

I have noticed that when playing on stage, where you stand in relation to the other players is something to discuss.
I have been standing on the right side of the artist most of the time in my career. I noticed that Jerry and other players do the same thing.
It seems to help when your turn to solo comes up so you can get up to the mike easier.
The left side seems wrong because your reso neck is not in position to duck in or out from the artist who is in the way. Josh Graves comes to mind as well.
Any comments on this would be very helpful. What are your thoughts on this ?

Mar 31, 2022 - 11:32:10 AM

4002 posts since 7/27/2008

I stand where they tell me to stand.wink

I guess I prefer standing to the right of the lead singer if given a choice - but this is really the first time  in years I've given it any thought. It doesn't really matter to me.  

And when I think about it, when watching famous players I don't recall noticing a pattern for either side. For example, when Rob was with Blue Highway he always seemed to be on the far left. Come to think of it, Mike Auldridge usually stood to the left of the lead singer. 

As far as Josh Graves, Flatt & Scruggs did the single microphone bit, so there had to be some planning involved in making the choreography work. Occasionally I see modern bluegrass groups, and they are more in the "weekend warrior" category who do the single mic routine. It saves some money on mics, cables,  and direct boxes - but I think they mainly do it because it's kind of a throwback and they think it looks cool. Even affordable mixing boards these days have no shortage of inputs so most players have their own mics, provided the stage isn't tiny. 

And as far as Jerry Douglas - when he's with the Earls of Leicester, unlike Flatt & Scruggs whose music they play - they each have their own mic for their instruments, but Jerry will occasionally  step over to  share the vocal mic with Shawn Camp on a harmony. 

When Jerry was with AKUS he was to the right of Alison. I think it might hav been because she could see him easier while playing the fiddle, might be a little more natural for her while playing the fiddle, and when he joins the group in 1998, he took the majority of the lead breaks. 

And on which side of the stage does he usually stand in relation to the lead  vocalist - the left side! 

Well Tom, I guess I shot your "on the right" theory all to hell. wink

Mar 31, 2022 - 11:59:01 AM



1014 posts since 6/13/2012

Thanks a lot Mark ! I appreciate the comments ! Any else who wishes to comment, please do so.
I still prefer the right side even when I have my own mike. Less congestion on stage...

Mar 31, 2022 - 12:30:49 PM



153 posts since 8/5/2008

I used to stand to the right, but we've changed our stage lineup so I'm on the left -- not sure why we did it, but it's actually helped, since I'm one of the singers. No worries about my headstock banging into anyone. It's me, drums (set back), Guitar/vocal, bass from our point of view, or right to left, as viewed from the audience.

One advantge of standing to the guitar player's right is watching for chord changes, if you don't know the song that well....

Edited by - PeterJ on 03/31/2022 12:31:36

Mar 31, 2022 - 12:33:39 PM



1307 posts since 9/28/2010

Stage left, because that's where Mike Aldridge stood at the SS shows I saw. But I'm also used to it- in my electric bass playing days, stage left put me right next to the high hat. But now that I've gone tricone, I sit; those things are heavy. And it's still stage left, so a boom stand can come from the left; I'm looking that direction at the fret board, and the mic's right there.

Mar 31, 2022 - 12:43:45 PM

4002 posts since 7/27/2008

I realized the second to last sentence in my earlier post was confusing, but the "edit" window expired. 

The part about Jerry standing to the left of Shawn Camp should have gone under the paragraph referring to The Earls.  

Mar 31, 2022 - 1:07:57 PM

2288 posts since 8/3/2008

My short answer is "where ever they pay me to stand".

In thinking back over the years, I've been on both ends and everywhere in between.

I can't say that I have a preference.


Mar 31, 2022 - 4:11:41 PM
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160 posts since 4/14/2010

Since I am only playing in my bedroom/studio area by myself I am center stage and in the spotlight. Or at least the overhead light in my room!

Mar 31, 2022 - 5:35:31 PM

442 posts since 11/28/2012

For single mic performances, I prefer the right side of the lead singer. I can move the guitar neck around to steer clear of others when either they, or I, move in/out of the mic zone.

Since a decent amount of bar work is done toward the nut side of the neck, it also makes it easier to see the band for cues and such when they are to the left of me. Stealing a glance is more efficient that way, for me at least.

Without a single mic setup, it makes less of a difference to me, but I still get better visuals when I can glance to the left. So yeah, I generally prefer being on the right side of the action.

Edit:  What's funny is my user profile photo has me on the left side of the band during a gig...LOL.  So I guess it really doesn't matter.

Edited by - JC Dobro on 03/31/2022 17:43:08

Mar 31, 2022 - 6:31:50 PM

Andy B


153 posts since 11/4/2008

My recollection of the Seldom Scene shows I saw at the Birchmere in the early 80s is that Mike A stood to the left of Phil Rosenthal, who played guitar and sang lead. Each band member had his own instrument mic. When Mike sang a harmony part, he would hold the dobro flat against his chest and step around Phil to an “empty” vocal mic to Phil’s right, so that Mike was standing between Phil and John Duffey. I think he did this so he could better hear both of the other vocal parts. Banjoist Ben Eldridge stood to Duffey’s right and bassist Tom Gray stood behind them.

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Apr 1, 2022 - 11:25:17 AM

Tom Jr.


551 posts since 7/28/2008

My favorite place to be is with a mandolin chopping in one ear, the bass thumping in the other, with a clear line of sight to the guitar player.

Apr 1, 2022 - 12:59:52 PM

753 posts since 8/8/2008

It depends on what type group I am playing with however I prefer the right side and sitting.

Apr 4, 2022 - 8:20:19 AM



284 posts since 5/11/2018

Lately I've been getting to stand on stage left. It's definitely my preferred spot, because I don't have to worry about clobbering anyone with my headstock.

Apr 4, 2022 - 8:58:04 PM
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1015 posts since 1/10/2009

I play dobro and banjo on far stage left with the KKB. Although I would go anywhere the left side makes sense because my instrument neck has plenty of room and not subject to anybody else’s movements. I can set up my instrument stands on my left and make instrument changes conveniently. When playing steel I insist on not being in front of the bass amp, it wreaks havoc with my tone and my ears! All other things being equal, stage right is nice for playing steel because I can look at the singer or leader over my bar hand and get cues or directions.

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