Creative suggestions for a non-ugly Jazz THUMB REST?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by plasson, May 7, 2019.

  1. plasson


    Mar 21, 2005
    Hey everybody,

    I have an ash body, natural with black pickguard Jazz style bass. Pretty much exactly like the one pictured:


    I want to screw a thumb rest in between the two pickups, but everything I have seen looks terrible and out of place.
    I thought I would find more creative ideas on the internet, but I haven't really.
    Have you?

    I definitely won't install a ramp as that's the worst looking solution to me.
    On the other hand, I think that maybe this...
    ... looks better than this:
    Probably the little spacings makes it look more harmonious to me.
    It might be even interesting trying with two smaller rests like this one (this is a single one, clearly, so double that):
    Again, it just seems more harmonious.

    Have you found any creative solutions/shapes to not make the thumb rest look like an out of place drawing guide line someone forgot to delete in Photoshop?

    As far as materials go it's going to be one of these:
    - on piece black plastic on pickguard, one piece of the same wood and same finish on the body.
    - chrome like the hardware. Don't try to hide it.
    - transparent, though that might just look cheap rather than hiding it away.
    - simple black plastic

    Any thoughts?
    How do yours look?

    Other examples for wood and transparent:
    Last edited: May 7, 2019
  2. plasson


    Mar 21, 2005
    Thank you Otis, but like I said ramps are the worst looking solution to me.
    I'm looking for something that either feels invisible (better) or that blends with the aesthetics of the instrument.
  3. tedious1


    Feb 14, 2014
    Why not get a custom p/g made that has the thumbrest impressed in it?

    Or make it, but it would seem to me you heat the p/g material until pliable, screw a rest into a form and shape the guard over it. Cut to fit, drill for screws and be done.

    From the front, folks would be hard pressed to even know there was a thumbrest formed to float on the p/g...

    EDIT: This is probably more of a DIY thing, you'll want to mess around with the size and shape of the negative that you would impress until you got a comfortable one. But you could also do some things like once formed, reheat the material and give it a more natural curve against your thumb... I can't imagine trying to do that with a vendor, particularly an internet one.
  4. craigie


    Nov 11, 2015
    Those all look horrible (except for the last one) so take your pick. If you have to then my vote is clear.
  5. plasson


    Mar 21, 2005
    I am actually considering the 3D printed route. But right now the problem is more aesthetic than logistic as I have no problem drilling a hole in the bass.
    But I think you are right, a black thumb rest of the same material of the pickguard, on the pickguard, would pretty much blend in. However, I do need the thumb rest to extend to the bridge pickup, so I would need another piece there.

    Yup, I agree. That's why I was hoping the Internet had found a magical, non ugly thumb rest design.
  6. guts


    Aug 13, 2018
    With your style of pick guard I personally wouldn't much like the look of any thumb rest. If it were me, I would learn how to play without resting my thumb. Shouldn't take more than a week to get used to it.
  7. CryingBass

    CryingBass Ours' is the only Reality of Consequence Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 8, 2016
    I am curious. It sounds like your desire for a thumb rest is for functional vs cosmetic reasons?
  8. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    I like the standard Fender thumb rest and use it on a lot of my Precisions. If I wasn’t satisfied with that, I would use the pickup as a rest, because I find virtually all other thumb rests/ramps to be aesthetically unacceptable.
    FRoss6788 and nbsipics like this.
  9. plasson


    Mar 21, 2005
    It is 100% functional. Aesthetically I hate it, but I'll take function over form anytime, especially for something this important.
    70% of the time I play right in the area between the two pickups, slightly closer to the bridge than neck pickup. I have rewired myself to play that way a long time ago (I've been playing bass for 18 years), but the issue is, when playing fast passages on the E string, it is simply not a feasible way of playing as you need the thumb to stop your fingers when you are going fast on the E string.
    So up until now, when playing fast on the E string, I have been either compromising clarity by moving to the neck pickup or tone by moving to the bridge pickup. After 11 years of owning this bass I'm ready to stop compromising and drill a few holes in this body. :D
    bolophonic likes this.
  10. guts


    Aug 13, 2018
    You're moving your plucking fingers extraneously. If you just pluck more efficiently you'll be able to play much faster. No thumb rest needed, so you'll be able to pluck anywhere you like. Just takes practice. Could be more than a few weeks though, as it sounds like you've been playing with this technical problem for a while now. The longer you do something like that the harder it is to unlearn.
    FRoss6788 likes this.
  11. plasson


    Mar 21, 2005
    Guts, I appreciate you trying to help, but I think you are missing a huge point: the playing position affects tone as much as it affects speed.
    It is not a technical problem. As much as you can play with great speed over the bridge pickup, you simply can't get this kind of tone there:
    You need to dig in to get this tone, but if you do it over the bridge pickup it becomes mid-rangey and and nasty, whereas if you do it over the neck pickup it's a mess lacking clarity. I engineer music for a living, these nuances matter, especially during recording, and some of them can only be achieved in a certain way. The sweetspot is not always over the neck or the bridge pickup. It is often in between.

    Clearly, the track I sent you is just a reference, but it's a good example of something you get digging in over a portion of the string that is tense enough but not too tense as to give you a nasal sound.
    Rilence likes this.
  12. guts


    Aug 13, 2018
    The point is that you have relied so long on resting your thumb that you can't play properly without it. You don't know how. It would benefit you to learn how sooner rather than later. The longer you wait the harder it will be to learn the proper technique.

    There's nothing wrong with resting your thumb, but you have stated yourself that you are unable to play as you would like without it. The problem here is that you are not plucking properly. If you learn to pluck properly you can pluck as hard and as fast as you like anywhere you like, on any part of the strings. You can play with whatever tone you choose on whatever bass you happen to be holding, thumb rest or no. This takes practice but it solves the root problem, rather than giving you the bandaid of a thumb rest.
  13. plasson


    Mar 21, 2005
    Guts, you can't play a Flea bass line resting your thumb on the fretboard at the 20th fret, just like you can't get a Duck Dun tone resting your thumb on the bridge pickup. In between these two extremes there are a billion different tones, but if you don't get that it might be because you haven't really listened with enough attention, and I don't mean any disrespect.
  14. craigie


    Nov 11, 2015
    Here you go. Zero mod thumb rest:
  15. plasson


    Mar 21, 2005
    That's a little too minimalistic for my tastes. :ninja:
  16. guts


    Aug 13, 2018
    I understand what you're saying, but my point is that you don't need to rest your thumb at all to play a Flea baseline, and you don't need to rest your thumb at all to sound like Duck Dun. You can pluck anywhere on the strings from bridge to the nut, but none of the locations that you choose require you to rest your thumb.

    You only require a thumb rest because you don't know how to play what you want without it. Not because it is impossible to play what you want without resting your thumb.

    There are people who can play the way you want to sound without resting their thumb. You just float your hand where you need it to be and practice. You don't need something to stop your plucking finger, relying on something being there to stop your finger from moving is a technique deficiency. Being unable to get whatever tone you want without resting your thumb is a technique deficiency.
  17. plasson


    Mar 21, 2005
  18. BassFishingInAmerica


    Jul 24, 2014
    Just spitballing ... You could try a thin piece of wood, resting on the top edge of both pickups. Cut a step to go over the pickguard. Then use double-stick tape (the 3M super thin) to hold it to the body. Being that it will be sitting on top of the pickups, double-stick tape should hold it tight, and you won't have to drill the body.
    Markb and craigie like this.
  19. sissy kathy

    sissy kathy Back to Bass-ics Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2014
    Arbutus, MD
    Here you go, Ebonite rod. flatten one side and put a step in it where it meets the pickguard. Snuggle it right up next to the pickup and screw it in place. You can square it up if you don;t like the idea of a round thumb rest. Google
  20. Primary

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    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.

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