1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

Beginner - Using thumb with fingerstyle.

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Snowman 8, Jun 18, 2007.


  1. I am just starting to play bass and I am experimenting with different picking styles.

    Does anyone use their thumb to pluck the strings to complement the fingerstyle technique?

    I just read some of the posts on the 'floating anchor' and that's what I have been doing, but then I started using my thumb to play notes in addition to muting the lower string.
     
  2. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    I do it all the time. Depends on the tune though. Mostly laid back type grooves.
     
  3. darkside 88

    darkside 88

    Feb 23, 2005
    Bay Area, CA
    I do it on this classical guitar inspired song.
     
  4. I do it a lot when I want a really oldschool thump. Back in the day, plucking with your thumb was the standard playingtechnique. That's why old fenders have the "thumbrest" below the strings, as a "tugbar"
     
  5. spindizzy

    spindizzy

    Apr 12, 2004
    Michigan
    Willis, Garrison and countless other bassists with solid reputations (and some like myself with no reputation at all) include thier thumb as part of thier armory of right hand techniques.

    I think you are doing just fine.

    Spin
     
  6. JKT

    JKT

    Apr 30, 2007
    Buffalo NY
    Endorsing Artist: Barker Basses
    There certainly is no "right or wrong way" and it sounds like you're doin fine. I personally agree with victor wooten and others that the thumb is just another way to hit the string. It shouldn't define you're playing or style of playing.

    I use my thumb to pluck when playing chords especially 10ths

    I also use it to slap, but not necessarily just in funk style tunes. A valuable lesson for me was victor's method of going through the string rather than bouncing off, which leaves you the option of immediately picking back up through the string.
    I have since been perfecting this technique as an alternative to alternate finger picking in for example, eighth note rock or pop grooves. I get an economy of motion coupled with a nice controllable "edge" to the sound.

    JKT :bassist:
     
  7. spindizzy

    spindizzy

    Apr 12, 2004
    Michigan
    That is not to say that "bouncing off" (as in slap) the string is not also a viable technique. The fact that folks like Wooten proclaim that it is a better way (the through string approach) is fine but you should always take it with a grain of salt and decide for yourself what to put in your bag of tricks.

    I do both depending on what I am trying to accomplish. A bounce attack slap can allow you to do somethings that are as impossible to do with the through string approach as double thumbing is to do with the bounce approach.

    I do it sometime just so I can get some of the wierd overtones and false harmonics that happen when you strike the string from the top down onto a fret and then bounce off (which produces the harmonic overtone).

    Try that with the "through the string" approach Mr. Victor "Know-It-All-Who-Is-Way-Richer-Better-known-and-Perhaps-Handsomer-Than-I-am" Wooten. :D

    Spin
     
  8. There are a lot flamenco players that use this technique. Anthony Jackson plays this way. I started playing this way by accident. I started on upright and had a hard time alternating fingers, and since I seemed to develope a floating thumb at the same time, it was just a progression to use the thumb to skip strings coming down since it was already resting there as I was trying to build speed playing with one finger. Eventually I learned to use my middle finger and still use my thumb since it was such a foundation of my begining technique.
     
  9. JKT

    JKT

    Apr 30, 2007
    Buffalo NY
    Endorsing Artist: Barker Basses
    Absolutely, and I have heard VW say pretty much the same the thing. I just wish I had been exposed to other techniques early on in my playing career. I had a guy that I respected tell me years ago, that I should NEVER use my thumb to pluck a bass string with ever.

    The story goes that as a young lad, Victor was having trouble getting a deep pocket by bouncing and someone suggested going through the string and for him it worked and so he went on to develop the technique further.

    I for one am glad I have both techniques at my disposal.

    JKT :bassist:
     
  10. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Jan 23, 2021

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.