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Do you bridge your thumb?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by billbill, Feb 10, 2002.

  1. Hello everyone...i just signed up on this site today.

    Anyways, I noticed below under the "thumb gard" thread there was a little discussion on who bridges, or "anchors" as you guys were calling it, their thumb while they play bass.

    I used to, and i did for a little while. Then i went to not anchoring it, and it took a little to get used to it and build more strength, but i can do it fine.

    How long have all of you non-anchorers been playing bass for? and how long have you been playing as a non-anchorer?

    I've been a bassist for almost 14 months now, and i've been a non-anchorer for lets say about, hmmm, only 5 months or so...but i can do it like a pro!
  2. theJello


    Apr 12, 2000
    I personly have never seen a "pro" who doesnt anchor their thumb. How would you mute the strings?
  3. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Actually a lot of pros use the "floating thumb" approach (e.g. John Patitucci), where you lay the thumb lightly on the lower strings to mute them.
    So they're not actually anchoring their thumb on a string or pickup.
    Achoring your thumb means that you have to pivot your hand around the "anchor point" (tip of your thumb). This changes the angle of your fingers when you pluck the strings, which makes it harder to get a consistent tone.
  4. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    i've been playing bass for 17 years, and i've never anchored. i've always layed my thumb across the lower strings to help with muting, and to allow for easy thumb-plucking access.

    it was essential when i moved from 4 to 7 in '93.
  5. trainyourhuman


    Apr 12, 2000
    I am usually moving my hand position quite a bit for different tones, and thus have never anchored my thumb. I actually think anchoring the thumb may hinder finger sppes and mobility. Somebody back me up on this...
  6. cb56


    Jul 2, 2000
    When I first started I anchored my thumb on the end of the pick up. I thought it gave me more stability. When I switched to 5 string I had to learn how to damp the lower strings with my thumb so they wouldn't ring when I was playing on the higher strings. I guess this is called floating thumb. I now prefer this because it also allows me to play close to the bridge or up by the neck if and when I want.

    btw it took about 5 min of practice at the most to feel comfortable with this technique. So I would advise giving it a try. I just worked on the string crossing exercises in Rufus Reid's book while concentrating on damping with the thumb.
  7. theJello


    Apr 12, 2000
    Yes, thats what I do. I guess anchored is not the right word. How bout resting the thumb? I might have misunderstood what he was saying. I thought he was talking about having his right hand thumb completly off the bass. Not in contact with the strings at all.
  8. I just got a new p-bass and was thinking of putting a thumb rest on it...

    I was at the store a while back checking out some j and p basses. They had a p there with a thumb rest and it was THE most comfortable thing I ever played.

    Is it a real disadvantage to get used to something like this? It was just SO comfortable!!

    Thanks -
  9. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I do the same for similar reasons and have been playing for over 20 years.
  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.

    Mar 6, 2021

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