Classroom vs Realworld: left hand thumb

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by JumboNewJack, Feb 7, 2005.

  1. In being taught, and in reading many tutorials and posts here, It is recommended that the thumb on the left hand be positioned behind the middle finger or whereabouts. But every time I see a bassist on tv (not many times though, even the back-up singers get more camera time :spit: ) his thumb is practically hanging over the neck. Is there a reason for this? Is this similar to when they teach you driving with hands at 10 and 2, but as soon as you get your license your gangsta-leaning with only one hand on the wheel cause it feels more comfortable? Or is it that we are mostly seeing pop bands and not fully experienced bassists?

    Also, I play with curved fingers, and 'they' all seem to have flat fingers. Any ideas?
  2. Perfect-Tommy


    Mar 28, 2004
    As Lennon Said...

    Whatever gets you through the night, baby it's alright...

    Don't get too hung up on what other people do. Try it both ways and whichever feels better, or is easier for you, do it. I'm sure over the years, you will change everything you do atleast once :p
  3. MichaelScott


    Jul 27, 2004
    Moorpark CA
    Because of the Ashlee Simpson blooper air time I've seen her bass player on 3 different events. Thumb over the neck, bass strung super low, pick in hand, POWER STRUMING his Stingray bass. Yeah. Someone should tell that guy that he is playing bass and not guitar.

    Keep your thumb behind the neck and learn how to play right.
    Every talented bass player I've even seen/heard/known plays with their left hand in the correct position. You don't see Nascar drivers driving gangsta style on the track. You shouldn't slouch in your technique when you are performing.

    If you are not an established player then "Doing what is comfortable for you" is a good way to build up bad habits that will put a ceiling on your potential. Unlearning these habits could take you years and be more uncomfortable then just learning it the right way the first time.

    Depends on which hand you are talking about. Your right fingers should be as strait as possible. Your left singers should be curved- but sometimes you might want to flaten then out to mute strings that you aren't playing or to hit harmonics.

    If you want to play bass guitar right you should be taking private lessons. Work with an active studio bass guitar player and not a guitar player that "also teaches bass".
  4. Yeah, I agree. It's better to learn how to play correctly, and then learn to relax within that.
  5. Perfect-Tommy


    Mar 28, 2004
    Wow... PT is alone on this one... it's cold over here... alone...
  6. well I play my bass lower than avg. i;d say, I play my thumb on the back, it goes parallel to the bass, and the pig part(end to joint is touching.... however, often my thumb drifts up to the top and hangs over, i use it sometimes to hit or mute the E string...

    I agree with the do whast comfortable... my pinky cant hit the frets properly with my smaller hands when my thumb is behind the middle finger....
  7. Rav


    Dec 29, 2004
    Aurora, IL

    How can it be easier to hit the frets with your pinky when your thumb is farther away hanging over the top of the neck vs closer in the middle of the neck?

    I'm not criticizing I just don't think I'm understanding what your saying. If your thumb is in the middle of the back of the neck and your hand is wrapped under the fretboard your fingers have more range and not less correct?

  8. my thumb isnt over the neck when i'm using my pinky... its over when i am playing simple punk stuff....I certainly cant get my pinky to stretch anywhere with my thumb jammed bach there though.
  9. Rav


    Dec 29, 2004
    Aurora, IL

    Ah ok gotcha. I was confused and thinking you were saying you could reach better with your thumb over the top.

    I was going to ask what massively awesome stretching exerceises you were doing to pull that off :) lol

  10. Ozzyman


    Jul 21, 2004
    I've seen Vic Wooten play with his thumb above the neck and he was doing a crazy slap groove with Carter Beauford. But, really try and keep your thumb behind the neck. Overall, your hand has better reach and dexterity.
    I've never heard to keep your RH fingers straight. Billy Sheehan curves his fingers alot (but then again, he IS really slow and clumsy :roll:). Keeping your RH fingers straight? You mean you have to have your wrist at a slant to have them at the same length. That sounds silly. Your LH should be curved also for the same reason; to keep your fingers at a similar length.
  11. yeah, I should have been more specific by saying that its my LH fingers when I mentioned curved. My RH fingers are also always curved.

    Thanks for your insight everyone!
  12. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Its a Sterling* but anyway

    Just because you see it on tv doesnt mean its right.