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Double Thumping

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by iwearpumas, Jan 8, 2014.

  1. iwearpumas


    Aug 12, 2011
    Middletown, NY
    I've tried, and Ive tried. I can't get that Victor Wooten double thump thing. I find it rather painful to be honest. Maybe because for years, I've been slapping the bounce style, and now this technique is different. I play Ken Smith basses, so sometimes I think it is because the 18mm spacing. I dont know. I really want to learn and effectively use that technique in my playing.
  2. chicago_mike


    Oct 9, 2007
    Chicago - LA - Rome
    Endorsing Artist : Genz Benz
    It's gonna hurt a little when you first do it. Because your thumb is not used to the pressure against the string that way.

    What works for me is not a true UP in the sense. But an upwards snap. I keep my thumb a little stiffer than normal when I thumb up.

    I started by double thumbing octaves in a triplet format. Instead T T P. It would be Tdown Tup Pluck.

    There a couple ways to get into it, but you'll get it. Also the "greas'in" technique is a lot like double thumbing, but youre much closer to the bridge and your index finger is used for the up pluck...to a point.
  3. Wait, why would 18mm hinder you? I thought tighter spacing was worse?? Huh.
    It's normal for your thumb to hurt. I mean, your fingers hurt after playing too long as a beginner, no? Same sort of thing.
    I'm working on double thumb too, and i'm in your same situation. Bounce since I've started, it took a while to actually get my thumb to do what I wanted it too. Worse yet, I have 15 mm spacing.
  4. iwearpumas


    Aug 12, 2011
    Middletown, NY
    Whoa. I definitely have to be more diligent at trying to learn it.
  5. LakeEffect


    Feb 21, 2013
    A light gauge E and A string go a longgg ways with the technique
  6. Roy Vogt

    Roy Vogt Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2000
    Endorsing Artist: Kiesel, Carvin, Accuracy, Hotwire, Conklin Basses, DNA, Eden
    What I sometimes tell students is to play up and down strokes with a pick first and then replace the pick with the thumb. Also, I am pretty much always playing right at the edge of the fingerboard, so the strings are pretty loose and can strike the fingerboard (the real slap tone) easily. I first saw Doug Rauch using this technique with Bill Cobham in 1976 and Larry Graham in 1973 so it's been around a long time.
  7. bass12

    bass12 And Grace, too Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    Whenever I decide I'm going to work on this technique I lose interest after a really short while but maybe one day I'll lay into it and make it happen. Strings make a big difference in how easy it is. Try some light gauge strings or some DR round cores and you'll notice a big difference compared to the alternatives.
  8. iwearpumas


    Aug 12, 2011
    Middletown, NY
    I've been using Smith taper cores.
  9. Wooten uses .095 .075 .055 .040 that's about 35 lbs of tension on each string. Try tuning your bass a step flat just to see if that helps.
    I'm using a Circle K .090 for my E-string :rolleyes: that will change how you play ;)
    Garret Graves likes this.
  10. Jamerman


    Apr 8, 2013
    One important thing is make sure the up and down thumb sound the same. Then you can do things like a quieter up thumb, I think there's a video of victor talking about it

    Try doing classical thump, that'll get you doing it in no time :D You can also do scales, and try doing triplets and popping an octave or something
  11. BritFunk


    Jan 8, 2009
    My friend,

    I had basically the same problem as you describe when I started double-thumbing: it was REALLY uncomfortable (I hail from the "Mark King" school of bass, BTW).

    As an alternative, I started doing a variation on the double-thumbing technique - instead of using the thump-through-the-string-and-catch-the-string-with-the-thumb-tip-on-the-upstroke that most players use, I tried thumping with a slight up and down-stroke, almost like using a pick. Basically you're thumping with a slight upward or downward motion rather than straight inwards, moving your thumb in an arc (think: crescent moon or parenthesis shape with the string contact at the apex/highest point of the curve). I promise it's way easier to actually do than to explain. :D

    After some time passed I started double-thumbing in the more conventional manner and eventually I got my thumb up to the task. I still use both techniques, as there are times one is just smoother than the other, and the sound is essentially the same.

    BTW - string spacing isn't generally a big factor until it gets *really* tight. I can double-thumb on an old Aria pro Avante 6-string bass with 16.25mm spacing with no problem. Getting my fat fingers between the strings for plucking is another story, however... :meh:

    @BioWeapon: 15 mm spacing? Just...wow. :confused: You're a brave soul - I can't imagine playing anything that tight.

    Good luck thumping!

  12. brakkum


    Aug 27, 2012
    It's all about practice! I've been shedding the technique since last February, and my thumb even hurts today, probably because I was doing it too strong yesterday. You'll find the right pocket for it once you get it down enough. Try learning to intro riff to 'Scratch & Sniff' By Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, it's simple and could get the technique more in your hands.
  13. iwearpumas


    Aug 12, 2011
    Middletown, NY

    Thank you so much for the insight.
  14. Spfairchild


    Oct 23, 2005
    Endorsing Artist: MTD Basses, Genzler Amplification, Tsunami Cables, Sonic Nuance Electronics Contributing Reviewer: Bass Gear Magazine
    It's an older thread, I know, but I just made a tutorial on double thumbing - here you go, hope it help!

  15. enricogaletta


    May 21, 2011
    Probably your problem to incorporate the double thumbing in the regular slap style could have more than two reasons.
    One of these probably, as correctly you said could be the string spacing.

    Unfortunately, the tight strings spacing on 5 and 6 strings basses, as 16.5, 17 and also the 18 mm are not the best fit for advanced slap styles, probably on 18 mm several players can adapt some type os techniques but nothing is better than the regular 4 strings spacing, the 19 mm.
    It's just the most versatile spacing on the bass, for this reason, the Smiths with the wide fingerboard are so wanted from the KS fans ;-)

    The second reason could be the way how you approach the technique. In my personal opinion, the success to incorporate a new skill on your playing is making it more personal possible.
    I realized that using it as “accessory” in my opinion is more versatile than just play everything with it.
    Be careful not to get trapped in it.
    The goal is to have the double thumb perfectly integrated with your regular technique without affecting your playing because it won’t force you to always use it.

    Another reason that can influence your DT playing is which part of your thumb you will use, Vic uses the left side of his nail, some people use the top of the nail, I use the side of my thumb, no nail, in my case was less painful.
    The fact is that you need to find the way that fits best for you, it's just like fingerstyle, everybody does differently, the important is the result if you close the eyes if the tone and the time is good and you play easily than you reached your goal ;-)

    I attached some videos of mine where you can see different style scenarios.
    If you need more help feel free to contact me, I will be happy to help you.
    Keep grooving ;-)