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Dropping my thumb? Wrong technique

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Dougie1316, Mar 5, 2014.

  1. Hey guys, completely new here but I've been lurking for some time.

    I've been thinking about my right hand technique lately. I started playing bass a number of years ago, I'm largely self taught but at the start of my journey I had some lessons for a short amount of time. When playing I was told that with my right hand I could either rest it on the top pickup or E string and use my fingers to play all the strings down below, like most of us do. BUT I was also told that I could float my thumb to play the E, rest my thumb on the E to play the A, rest my thumb on the A to play the D etc. I took up the second technique. I've never ever seen anyone use the same technique and when I watch myself back playing bass, it feels like I'm playing 'wrong'. I can play fast runs completely fine and stuff and I don't feel like it's hindering my playing. Does anybody else play like this or should I try and change what I'm doing?
  2. Nashrakh


    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    I think your technique is one of the standards in the bass world, if I understood your description correctly that is.

    If it doesn't pose a problem - is it one? Maybe you're overthinking it.
  3. I'd say this is the best example I could give you:

    This is me playing, and if it looks like I'm struggling, it's because I played it kind of wrong (should of started on the octave for each phrase in the beginning). And I didnt warm up before recording haha.

    And I'm not sure it really poses a problem, I've just not got another technique to compare it to, to see if it is an actual problem. I do admit I'm slightly paranoid in that I've not seen anyone else use it.
  4. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    The technique you are using is generally called the movable/floating anchor. Here it is demonstrated by Adam Nitty :

    In your clip, your wrist seems to be straight and you are not resting the forearm on the body of the bass, so from a potential injury aspect, you are relatively safe. My only comments would be to try to keep the ring and pinkie still, and relax the hand a little more.
  5. Bassisgood4U

    Bassisgood4U Banned

    Jan 30, 2014
    A technique like that shouldn't be toyed with, after years of doing so. It's a better way, anyhow.
  6. Nashrakh


    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany

    Lose the tension and you're good.

    Personally I've switched from trailing thumb to floating thumb because I sometimes have the feeling my thumb 'sticks' to the string it rests on. Feels weird at first should you give it a try. But the advantage is that you don't have to make big leaps with your hand anymore, jumping from string to string.

    And good on you for not resting your forearm on the bass. I never understand why so many people drop their elbow - it's like they're asking for trouble. Still, it's a habit I sometimes find myself going back to so I'd think you're doing great avoiding it!
  7. Ronbassman


    Jun 1, 2011
    If your technique is hurting you in any way or it makes you sound aweful, change your technique. If not, I don't see a problem here.
  8. Yeah the whole ring and pinkie thing, I addressed that a while ago (videos pretty old and like I said, didn't warm up >,< !). Cheers for the feedback!