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Anyone, apart from me, play bass wid thumb?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Bassone, Jun 8, 2004.

  1. Bassone

    Bassone Guest

    Jun 8, 2004
    Australia, Sydney
    Any1 here play bass wid thumb? will it limit my performance in the further years?
  2. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    well, you probably should try to bring the other fingers into the mix too, but ultimately what technique you use is inconsequential as long as you get the point across musically. there are quite a few bassists who mostly use only their thumb - sting for one, iirc.
  3. dabshire


    Dec 15, 2002
    McKinney, TX
    I do when I am comping chords with a walking bassline (use my thumb for the bass line, other fingers for the chord)...

    +1 to what John said....
  4. Mongeaux


    Apr 14, 2004
    I use my thumb often. When the electric bass was designed Leo actually intended it to be played with the thumb. What do you think that finger rest is for ;) Use flats and you can make your bass sound like an upright.
  5. I don't play primarily with my thumb, but I'm handy with it. It's good for getting a fat sound.

    Edit: I don't think it will limit you any more than playing only with the other fingers and not the thumb would, but it will limit you a bit.
  6. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    I didn't used to at all except for slap, but I started playing around on guitar, and as everyone knows, standard bass index and middle technique doesn't work too well on a guitar, so I tried mixing my thumb in and using my two fingers in addition to that (but keeping my forearm on a 20**° angle to the strings, instead of perpendicular). Gradually I started doing this on bass. I also started to learn double-thumbing in the last couple weeks, and now a thumb is a fundamental part of my technique. Sure, there are a lot of things where I do regular 1+2, but T+1+2 is where I usually go now. Plus, when I'm playing something that alternates between regular fingerstyle and slap, I can do it with my thumb -- it's a bit more difficult to articulate properly when you play, but it's worth the extra practice.
  7. Bassone

    Bassone Guest

    Jun 8, 2004
    Australia, Sydney
    ah thanx alot for that ill start tryin to use my index and middle fingers a bit more comfprtably for the more complex riffs.
    Very interesting how u sed bout the bass actually bein ment for thum play.
    I aint a noob :p just had to teach myself and alot of my qs r unanswered y'no

    thx a ton every1
  8. Mongeaux


    Apr 14, 2004
  9. Atshen


    Mar 13, 2003
    Grim Cold Québec
    This is a different technique. It involves palm muting, and it's intended to make the bass sound upright-ish. Thumb plucking, as originally intended by Leo Fender when he designed his first P-bass, doesn't involve muting, since the "ashtray" cover over the bridge featured a piece of foam for muting.

    You can play with your thumb without any muting, though. As John said, Sting does it often, and I saw a girl do it once, and she sounded pretty good (she was playing country music).

    For more speed, you'll need to learn finger or pick technique, though.
  10. I do that all the time, I like the thumpy sound. I'd forgotten that I do it when I made my previous post. One of those habits that slips your mind, you know. I don't think that unmuted thumb plucking will slow you down much, since you can pluck on the up and down stroke and achieve uselessly fast speeds (I'm speaking from experience, I just wish my other hand could keep up), but it will limit your flexibility to only have one way to pluck.