crossing strings with the thumb in TP

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by mike_odonovan, Oct 5, 2003.

  1. i have been working pretty hard in thumb position lately and have concetrated on developing a callous in a very specific spot and then sticking to playing notes using the kind of groove/indentation this callous has become. now i am trying to work out how to play notes on adjacent strings like the G on the 1st string to D on the 2nd string. should i roll the over to grab the D string? should i then look at getting a callous indentation up higher up on my thumb, close to my nail? any thoughts?
  2. Matthew Tucker

    Matthew Tucker Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2002
    Sydney, Australia
    Owner: Bresque Basses, Sydney Basses and Cellos
    I'm new at it too, but I figured out pretty quick that if you have to lift your thumb up to put it down again on an adjacent string you've got no hope of playing anything fluid.

    So, keep the edge of thy thumb across two strings at all times, and stop the one you need. Slide across and back. The callus needs to run all the way from knuckle to knail!
  3. hey thanks for your reply but that is not how i have been going about. (given i am probably wrong). i have been concetrating on playing in TP on the G string with exactly the sam part of my thumb about half way between first knuckle and the start of the nail. i now have a groove there. it seems to be the only way i can garantee (he says!) that it will be an in tune G when i jump from an F with the fourth finger. i am looking at getting a groove/callous going right up near the corner of the thumbnail so that i can cross between the two. i am kind of answering my own question with my own theory here but it seemed to work pretty well today in practise. still really love some feedback/ thoughts/ how you do it stuff.
  4. Matthew Tucker

    Matthew Tucker Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2002
    Sydney, Australia
    Owner: Bresque Basses, Sydney Basses and Cellos
    Puts a whole new meaning to "playing in the groove"!

    A groove sounds painful. What if you're playing quickly and can't get the groove in the right place? What if the string gets stuck in the groove?! What if you change string gauge ;-)

    But, hy stick to the G string only? The whole point of TP is to allow you to stop notes across all four strings up beyond the neck joint up where pinky (fourth finger) doesn't work. Instead of fingering with 1,2,4, you'll find that gets virtually replaced by T,1,2,3.

    You should be doing scales across the strings; start with thumb on A harmonic and find a major scale. Your thumb should just slide across from the A to the D to the G.

    Forget about "building" the callus, you can't really control that, it will just build up where it needs to. Someone in another thread talked about using a bit of tape around the thumb in the early stages to help the pain, but that the callus will still happen behind that anyway ...

    (um ... have you one of those things called a teacher?)
  5. the thinking i am using is that of making sure that i play notes with the same part of the finger as much as possible to help with intonation. i am trying to instill this in the lower positions as well. i got thinking about this thru watching the Rabbath Cd rom where he mentions this. my thinking is if you use the whole thumbe you may have to place the thumb/hand/arm in a different place each time and i think that makes good intonation harder. also the edge of the thumb has dips and curves in it that would affect things as well. just my thinking. thanks for your thoughts. any more from you or anyone else want to come in on this one?

    as for teachers, i am having a rest from them at the moment.
  6. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    No doubt about it, Rabbath's intonation is's hard to discredit his idea of stopping the string with the same part of the finger. His fingers remind me of Louis Armstrong's lips.

    I have to record and listen to myself on the bass to work on my intonation, to make sure I've got a good mental picture of the note so I can tell my hands where to go. The grooves are kind of a potential byproduct of all that intonation improvement work for me, rather than something I should establish first before I can start listening to myself. That's how I thought Rabbath meant it in his CD too.

    Is your take different? If so, can you help me understand all this better?