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Acoustic Bass Guitars - no place to put my thumb?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by RiseOfTheWooten, Jan 7, 2006.


  1. Hi, I was mucking around on one of the acoustic bass guitars at the music shop, I would really like to get one but it felt strange not having pickups to place my thumb. My hand felt like it had to 'float' without an anchor.

    What's the right approach to playing these guitars?
     
  2. Buck Naked

    Buck Naked

    Jul 24, 2005
    Austin Texas
    Put your thumb on the string above the strings you are playing. It actually helped me play faster somehow. I used to put my thumb on the pickup but no more.
     
  3. Figjam

    Figjam

    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    And when you play the E string, you are...screwed! Well, not really, but its annoying. ;)
     
  4. Buck Naked

    Buck Naked

    Jul 24, 2005
    Austin Texas
    Haha well if you are playing a long piece on the E string do you really have to anchor it on anything? I mean I can play and not anchor my thumb and it's just the same.
     
  5. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses, Hipshot products
    You get used to it. It all falls into place, just comes kinda naturally. You can buy a thumbrest also.
     
  6. Thanks guys. So I guess it gets done without thumbrests!

    I hadn't considered that.. it wouldn't ruin the acoustic guitar, sound or aesthetically?
     
  7. Hookus

    Hookus

    Oct 2, 2005
    Austin, TX
    Should not make a difference to the guitar. Use double stick tape.

    But, 'tis the reason I use a pick on my 'cousic.
     

  8. I can't use a pick to save my life unfortunately. I'm so uncoordinated with the pick, I need to feel the strings on my fingertips to play. :D
     
  9. AxtoOx

    AxtoOx

    Nov 12, 2005
    Duncan, Okla.
    That's something I'm working on myself now, you just kinda press your thumb on the wood. How do you think these guys play MM's? I guess they could anchor on the pickup. :confused:
     
  10. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Just put it away and pick up an electric. I've always hated ABG's. Very little volume, very little quality of sound in even the best of them. Want to play acoustic bass? Get an upright ;)
     
  11. I read the pickup FAQ thread about the MMs. I'm still not really familiar with what they are exactly though. I know about the P's, J's, and humbuckers.


    I've already got an electric bass as well as a double bass. But I was looking to buy an entry-level acoustic bass guitar just to bring it around and have fun jamming with my friends when they're on their acoustic steel string guitars. It's much easier than bringing along an elec bass and an amp (if there was an available power point) or carting along a double bass everywhere I go. I'm already expecting I won't be getting much of a sound out of the acoustic bass guitars unless I spent $1000's for a seriously well made one.
     
  12. AxtoOx

    AxtoOx

    Nov 12, 2005
    Duncan, Okla.
    I was reffering to Music Man Basses, an MM pup is a Music Man style humbucker,they have exposed poles, and you may be able to switch them from parellel to series, I can on my Warwick double buck which has 2 MM's on it, but on a Music Man Bass they are located in the treble position, back by the bridge, so you don't have a front pup to anchor to, they may anchor to that. I've seen Flea do it when he's not slapping. As a matter of fact, I do it to get a different sound. But I think they just put their thumb on the wood.

    Edit: I just looked up at the ad, a better example would be a Line 6 which has no exposed pickups.
     
  13. Figjam

    Figjam

    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I play MM basses.. I anchor my thumb on the pickup or right next to it (towards neck) on an angle (when i am standing). Hard to explain but i hold my bass at an angle upwards so it is possible to wedge my thumb between the E string and the side of the pickup.

    That is where IMO the best tone is found on a musicman, anywhere near the pickup. Plucking near the neck lacks definition.
     
  14. Audiophage

    Audiophage

    Jan 9, 2005
    You could always install a thumbrest over the E string if it really bothers you.
     
  15. A friend of mine has an acoustic/electric Ovation 4-string. I love it. It sounds good, but I have the same problem. I hate when my thumb just hovers like that.
     
  16. I've been taught for the most part to lay your fingers on the string above where you're plucking, so your right hand is basically curled over the strings. (I play a 6 string however.) The only thing that I could see as a problem is your E, which you'd be forced to float unless you mod it.
     
  17. I've always anchored my thumb on the bottom of the neck with my ABG.
     
  18. theshadow2001

    theshadow2001

    Jun 17, 2004
    Ireland
    I play a musicman as well. It was tricky resting the thumb on the pickup after changing from a jazz style bass but now I find it comfortable and can do either. Resting on the neck I find it a little trickier to play with diggin in too hard. But thats where I suggest you put your thumb on the acoustic. It'll feel wierd but you'll get used to it. i suppose the same goes for if your thumb was floating
     
  19. Mojo-Man

    Mojo-Man Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2003
    :cool:.
    Filed, some ebony about hight of pickup, glued to my ABG.
    Works great.
     
  20. I remember seeing someone slap an ABG...in front of Marcus Miller...