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Below-the-strings thumb rests?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by GabeN, Mar 7, 2006.

  1. GabeN


    Feb 27, 2006
    Chugiak, AK
    I've seen a number of older (or older looking) Jazz bass' with thumb rests put on below the strings. What's up with that?

  2. Linas


    Jan 6, 2005
    I think its because back in the day they used to pluck the strings with their tumb and hold on to that for leverage. Just what ive heard, dont know how accurite that is.
  3. BassManPatsFan

    BassManPatsFan Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2004
    San Francisco
    Basically, this is what Fender though people would do. They put them there thinking people would play with their thumbs à la Wes Montgomery or something. I don't think it really caught on, but Fender put finger rests there for a number of years.
  4. paul n

    paul n

    May 6, 2005
    Arden, NC
    It goes WAAAAAAAY back. That's how Leo Fender intended the bass to be played, with the thumb or with a pick. He included a "tug-bar" to facilitate thumbing technique. I don't think he ever really expected upright players to adapt thier two finger technique to his design, or he figured they would just use the edge of the neck, so he didn't make any special place for the players thumb to go. Fender being Fender and not one to change too quickely (thow they some times did) didn't get around to moving the rest (which almost no one used in it original position) to above the strings until the mid 70's.

    The rest is really like the metal pickup shield and bridge bell. Almost EVERYONE took them off but Fender kept putting them on thier basses untill the 80s, when both the covers and the rest disapeared. It's like Rickenbackers and the rubber mute on the 4003, almost no one uses the thing, but it's still on there. It's the same with Rick-O-Sound, they don't even make the splitter units anymore, but the guitars and basses still come wired with a jack for it.

    ~Paul :)
  5. paul n

    paul n

    May 6, 2005
    Arden, NC
    Almost forgot, you have to keep in mind too that Leo wasn't a musician, he was an engineer. As a result, some of his ideas, that I'm sure he thought would be well recieved, where just disregarded.

    ~Paul :)
  6. Mark Wilson

    Mark Wilson Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    Toronto, Ontario
    Endorsing Artist: Elixir® Strings
    Everyone seems right.

    The usually rested their index and middle fingers on the rest, then played with their thumb. The guy from the beach boys did this alot.
    The name is slipping from my mind at the moment :)

  7. Pennydreadful

    Pennydreadful Goin out West

    Jun 13, 2005
    Arlington, Texas
    Brian Wilson, I believe.

    Anyway- what everybody else said is what I pretty much thought. I always figured it was for palm-muted thumb playing.
  8. Spector_Ray


    Aug 8, 2004
    Do a search as this topic has been covered before.
  9. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
  10. hippiesandwich


    Aug 29, 2003
    San Jose
    Affiliated with Looperlative Audio Products
  11. anonymous278347457

    anonymous278347457 Guest

    Feb 12, 2005
    also, they look cool:D
  12. paul n

    paul n

    May 6, 2005
    Arden, NC
    I meant most people don't use it, i know some do. They have stopped making the Rick-O-Sound unts, they just havn't sold off the remaining stock yet (that's how little demand there is for the thing).

    The funny thing about Brian is, his hands were so big that he didn't even use the tug-bar, he just gripped the inside of the treble side cutaway. :)

    ~paul :)
  13. fenderx55


    Jan 15, 2005
    Not to hijack the thread or anything (even though the question's been answered so I guess that's what I'm doing), what does the rick-o-sound do? I'm just kind of interested because I've been looking to try out a 4003 at some point over spring break.

    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Supporting Member

    Thats old school vintage fender style, its more for your fingers then thumb.
  15. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    The Rick-O-Sound box is basically a y-cord/splitter. It plugs into the stereo (one channel for each pickup) Rick-O-Sound jack on the bass, and gives you two normal mono output cords, to plug into two amps, with one pickup to each amp.

    One way to use it is to run the neck pup to a bass amp, clean, and the bridge pup to a guitar amp, w/ or w/o distortion.
  16. :cool: When I got my first P-Bass, new the Summer of 1962, it, of course, had the "tug" bar on it. Guess what? I played it with my thumb, which was the normal, accepted way at that time. It was a number of years before I switched over to the finger style.

    As for the chrome bridge and pickup covers, I STILL use 'em. In fact, I still use a mute under the bridge cover. So, no, they aren't all gone, there's a few of us "geezer" hold outs still out here playing.

    Oh, it also had a strap button on the backside of the headstock. Never used it and never saw anyone actually use it either. Yeah, I saw some pictures from the early and mid 50's with musicians doing it. But never live did I ever see it used.

    I still play with my thumb occassionally. The sound is real "FAT" and for some tunes, that's good.
  17. ...actually, way back in the past when the sets were really long and drawn out because of g#*t@r solos, the bass player would hang a boda bag on there filled with some intoxication and would be able to access it quickly should the opportunity arise. That's how the term "thum-bota-rest" came to be.


    (Good god!, what a crock!!!:scowl: )

    Sorry, I just can't help myself sometimes.;)

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