Floating thumb question

Discussion in 'Ask Todd Johnson' started by lneal, May 14, 2012.


  1. lneal

    lneal Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2002
    Location:
    Lee County, Alabama
    Todd:
    I've been working through your "Technique Builders" book/DVD for 3 weeks now and I must say it has been an epiphany for me. Thanks to your instruction in this book, I'm successfully un-learning 35 years of bad playing habits and am amazed by how effective your methods are.

    The only real problem I'm having so far is that whatever string ends up under the "arch" on the outside of my thumb doesn't get muted. Of course, if I push down hard enough it will stop but that kinda defeats the purpose. Any ideas on how to solve this without doing anything drastic? Other than that, so far, so good. Thanks, Larry.
  2. lneal

    lneal Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2002
    Location:
    Lee County, Alabama
    OK, so I figured out that if I lay the thumb over just a tiny bit by rotating my hand ever so slightly to the left, the problem is solved and it still feels perfectly natural, no strain. I figured it out pretty quickly after the 1st post. I've been doing this floating thumb thing exclusively for about 5 weeks now and I don't think I'll ever go back to anchoring my thumb again. :cool:
  3. lneal

    lneal Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2002
    Location:
    Lee County, Alabama
    2 months in and I now have the floating thumb technique down. Just for comparison I tried playing the old way, anchoring my thumb and what a sloppy sounding bunch of crap that was! Felt awkward too. Honestly, how did I ever play like that? Wish I’d had this info earlier.....like.....35 years ago........:cool:

    Thank you, sir.
  4. Todd Johnson

    Todd Johnson

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2005
    Location:
    Anthem, AZ
    Sorry for the slow response....stuff gets past me from time to time. Yikes!!

    Congrats, I'm glad the FT is working for you. Keep making great music and have all the fun with it you can!!!
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  6. lneal

    lneal Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2002
    Location:
    Lee County, Alabama
    It's cool, I'm sure you're busy. Now I'm working on solving the next problem: the infamous flying left pinky. I'm focusing on the supportive fingering and 2 finger combos to help with this, and it has. The flying pinky is proving to be a real pain to fix. Any other ideas as to how to continue my assault on this? Thanks, Larry.
  7. xabicho

    xabicho Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2009
    Location:
    Long Beach, California
    Just a suggestion, check your set up, the heigth of the strings can affect your floating thumb.
  8. lneal

    lneal Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2002
    Location:
    Lee County, Alabama
    The action on my basses is about average I'd say, not too low or too high. I have played some basses other than mine that had everything from pretty high to too-low for me action and FT seems okay on all but the lowest action, and nothing seems right on those to me....
  9. CaptainTuna

    CaptainTuna

    Joined:
    May 13, 2011
    Hello!
    It looks like I have the exact same problem!! Could you please offer a detailed description on how you solved it?

    I tried simply rotating the hand counterclockwise but it doesn't feel to natural, especially because the wrist gets "angled" and is not straight and natural as it is without rotation.
    I really need your help! :)
  10. lneal

    lneal Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2002
    Location:
    Lee County, Alabama
    Well, slightly rotating was one part of the solution for me. The other part was that sometimes I have to press my thumb down very lightly on the strings to get full thumb contact. It's barely noticeable and has no effect on the integrity of the technique. If you keep working at it will be second nature to you. If you don't have Todd's book I'd suggest you get it. :cool:
  11. CaptainTuna

    CaptainTuna

    Joined:
    May 13, 2011
    Ok, guess I'll have to try. Other thing that partly solves it is not going that far with your thumb, and going as far as the A string and no further, with a 5-string bass that is. (looks like the curve comes when the thumb goes farther than the A string)
  12. PlungerModerno

    PlungerModerno

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2012
    Location:
    Ireland
    Floating thumb is pretty awsome... keeps the hand relaxed and agile... I tend to you it and movable anchor depending on where I play - up on the neck, movable anchor, middle and near the bridge - floating thumb mainly. Works better the more I do it :D
  13. CaptainTuna

    CaptainTuna

    Joined:
    May 13, 2011
    Moveable anchor? Can't do much with it!! When i place the thumb on the A to play on the G string the B remains completely unmuted! That's when sympathethic resonance comes in... :(

    How do you use it?
  14. lneal

    lneal Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2002
    Location:
    Lee County, Alabama
    Yep....
  15. lneal

    lneal Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2002
    Location:
    Lee County, Alabama
    Wrapped up my practice session tonight by playing through "What is Hip" using floating thumb. That was a lot easier. Wow:D

    First time I've played this since changing to FT. I'm never looking back........:cool:

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