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Double thumb

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Bassking09, Apr 1, 2009.

  1. Bassking09


    Mar 23, 2009
    Hello fellow bass enthusiasts! I've been playing bass about 4-5 years now, mainly self taught aside from the extreme basics like "this is an e string the fifth fret is an a" etc... I've taught myself to slap cleanly and quickly without sounding like jumbled garbage. Now I'm looking to learn the double thumb technique, I've seen a few videos on it and it just doesn't feel quite right the way I'm doing it. If there is anyone knowledgeable about the technique reading, any explanation and conversation about it would help I'm sure. Thanks
  2. santucci218


    Jan 26, 2007
    this video helped me a lot.

  3. Mesa XI

    Mesa XI

    Feb 25, 2009
    I've been trying to figure that out, it's just not consistant with my general technique so I gave it up. I figure it's not worth changing the way I play to learn
  4. quale213


    Sep 17, 2008
    The only way to learn it is to practice the motion for what seems like forever, and then a little more. I would just sit and watch a movie and do the motion over and over and over again. The song I learned it with was "Power" by Marcus Miller. He does a quick pentatonic blues scale to open the song where he is doubling. Just dont give up and you will get it down.
  5. Absentia


    Feb 25, 2009
    sit on the porch with a beer and do scales with it to the tune of a metronome.
    There are many ways to do it play around and find your own way of doing it.

    personally I'm working on the *pop* on the up stroke.
  6. +1

    if it werent for the history channel- i wouldve never learned to play bass- plus- my unconscious side probably knows all kinds of miscellaneous hitler facts (this was before the history channel got obsessed with bigfoot and crop circles). so- ya- its going to be boring until its fun.

    only additional advice i have: try letting your thumb nail grow a little bit- and see if playing over the fretboard helps. less friction and less travel may help you get into it- and then you can cut the nail down- play wherever- etc- like training wheels (helped me).
  7. Jerose


    Nov 28, 2005
    Syracuse, NY
    I learned it to Same Thing by Sly and the Family Stone. I played that riff to friggin' death, but I loved it so much that I never got bored with it.

    Don't do it to scales if you can help it; you will get bored to death. Practice it to something musical so that its entertaining to you or else it's very easy to lose your way and say "why the hell am I practicing this technique in the first place?" You'll get so much more enjoyment and improvement figuring out a cool line than being able to speed up and down the major scale!

    But that's just my $0.02!
  8. Bassking09


    Mar 23, 2009
    Haha not old enough to drink yet, maybe il do that tho
  9. OrangeSun


    Jun 26, 2005
    Boston, MA
    Learning the double thumb was tricky for me as well. Particularly because I started playing slap the wrong way (if that can be said about any technique that doesn't cause pain). I.E My thumb was bouncing off the string instead of sliding across and through it. Then I got the proper slap down, and started to understand how the double thumb worked. I tried to get it for awhile and failed repeatedly, so i gave up for a bit. Then one day I took another shot at it and got the motion. My problem now is that the gap between the end of my neck and the pickups isnt large enough to accomodate the double thumb double pop (24 frets). I don't really use the technique much but it is good to know. I find that first video interesting because I have always done what that person says not to do as far as popping goes. Why is his technique better? More streamlined, less movement? I guess it doesn't matter too much as I'm never really going to have to be able to do straight 32nd notes, and if it ever comes up, I can do the tap double thumb pop thing. Now I'm trying to find more ways to apply it musically.

    Advice for you : If you get frustrated, just work on your regular slap technique more. The key to learning the double thumb is having a very smooth regular slap technique.

    The important part is too make sure your thumb is going past the string you slapped to rest on the string below. If you get your thumb "underneath" the string too much when you try to pull back up for the double thumb it wont sound right and will probably hurt the side of your thumb. Your aiming to hit the same general area of your thumb, but on the opposite side.

    I myself am still not 100% there. I revert back to my old form at high speeds, but sometimes I do it intentionally to get a heavier sound. I self taught myself the "incorrect" form because it doesn't cause a clicking sound on my bass the way it would on many other basses. The way the neck / pickups are set up and the style of pickups make it so the strings dont hit the pickups when I slap that way.

    Hope that helps in some way, I only recently picked this up myself so it is very attainable! Good luck!
  10. chicagodoubler


    Aug 7, 2007
    Chicago, that toddling town
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland, Genz Benz
    I'd highly recommend doing what Vic did- learning the traditional thing inside out first.

    Learn a couple COMPLETE Graham Central Station or Brothers Johnson albums, Glide by Pleasure, and a bunch of the 1980's Marcus Miller i.e., Tutu, David Sanborn's Run For Cover, etc...

    The foundation is extremely important here. Nothing wrong with sounding like a greasy Mofo! There is however something wrong with learning technique purely for the sake of technique.

    Is a great jam to work on. Notice how much he plays without doubling- really only the descending pentatonic lick.

    FWIW Victor showed me his whole bag when I was a kid, and I practiced it til my thumb bled. To this day, I've never needed it on a gig. Great for copping Marcus's last three albums, though. :)

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