I've tried, and Ive tried. I can't get that Victor Wooten double thump thing. I find it rather painful to be honest. Maybe because for years, I've been slapping the bounce style, and now this technique is different. I play Ken Smith basses, so sometimes I think it is because the 18mm spacing. I dont know. I really want to learn and effectively use that technique in my playing.
It's gonna hurt a little when you first do it. Because your thumb is not used to the pressure against the string that way.
What works for me is not a true UP in the sense. But an upwards snap. I keep my thumb a little stiffer than normal when I thumb up.
I started by double thumbing octaves in a triplet format. Instead T T P. It would be Tdown Tup Pluck.
There a couple ways to get into it, but you'll get it. Also the "greas'in" technique is a lot like double thumbing, but youre much closer to the bridge and your index finger is used for the up pluck...to a point.
Wait, why would 18mm hinder you? I thought tighter spacing was worse?? Huh.
It's normal for your thumb to hurt. I mean, your fingers hurt after playing too long as a beginner, no? Same sort of thing.
I'm working on double thumb too, and i'm in your same situation. Bounce since I've started, it took a while to actually get my thumb to do what I wanted it too. Worse yet, I have 15 mm spacing.
Whoa. I definitely have to be more diligent at trying to learn it.
A light gauge E and A string go a longgg ways with the technique
What I sometimes tell students is to play up and down strokes with a pick first and then replace the pick with the thumb. Also, I am pretty much always playing right at the edge of the fingerboard, so the strings are pretty loose and can strike the fingerboard (the real slap tone) easily. I first saw Doug Rauch using this technique with Bill Cobham in 1976 and Larry Graham in 1973 so it's been around a long time.
Whenever I decide I'm going to work on this technique I lose interest after a really short while but maybe one day I'll lay into it and make it happen. Strings make a big difference in how easy it is. Try some light gauge strings or some DR round cores and you'll notice a big difference compared to the alternatives.
I've been using Smith taper cores.
Wooten uses .095 .075 .055 .040 that's about 35 lbs of tension on each string. Try tuning your bass a step flat just to see if that helps.
I'm using a Circle K .090 for my E-string :rolleyes: that will change how you play ;)
One important thing is make sure the up and down thumb sound the same. Then you can do things like a quieter up thumb, I think there's a video of victor talking about it
Try doing classical thump, that'll get you doing it in no time :D You can also do scales, and try doing triplets and popping an octave or something
I had basically the same problem as you describe when I started double-thumbing: it was REALLY uncomfortable (I hail from the "Mark King" school of bass, BTW).
As an alternative, I started doing a variation on the double-thumbing technique - instead of using the thump-through-the-string-and-catch-the-string-with-the-thumb-tip-on-the-upstroke that most players use, I tried thumping with a slight up and down-stroke, almost like using a pick. Basically you're thumping with a slight upward or downward motion rather than straight inwards, moving your thumb in an arc (think: crescent moon or parenthesis shape with the string contact at the apex/highest point of the curve). I promise it's way easier to actually do than to explain. :D
After some time passed I started double-thumbing in the more conventional manner and eventually I got my thumb up to the task. I still use both techniques, as there are times one is just smoother than the other, and the sound is essentially the same.
BTW - string spacing isn't generally a big factor until it gets *really* tight. I can double-thumb on an old Aria pro Avante 6-string bass with 16.25mm spacing with no problem. Getting my fat fingers between the strings for plucking is another story, however... :hmm:
@BioWeapon: 15 mm spacing? Just...wow. :confused: You're a brave soul - I can't imagine playing anything that tight.
Good luck thumping!
It's all about practice! I've been shedding the technique since last February, and my thumb even hurts today, probably because I was doing it too strong yesterday. You'll find the right pocket for it once you get it down enough. Try learning to intro riff to 'Scratch & Sniff' By Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, it's simple and could get the technique more in your hands.
Thank you so much for the insight.
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