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floating thumb

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by firehose reel, Feb 14, 2003.

  1. i've been learning bass for two years through my school, and this year the school has changed bass tutors.
    the new tutor has very different technique to my old tutor and expects me to change how i play too.

    the main difference is that i'd normally rest my thumb on my the bridge pickup of my bass, but he has the base of his palm on the body of the guitar and uses his thumb to mute the E or A strings when he's playing the D or G. is this actually useful and should i learn it, or should i just tell him i'd rather stick with what i already know?
  2. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    At least try it.
    I agree, it's actually harder to do on a 4 than on 5, 6 or 7. But when you go multi-string, you'll appreciate that you already have some experience.
  3. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Are you sure the new instructor is resting his palm on the body of the bass? My take on the 'floating thumb' is that the whole hand is free to move, with the thumb muting lower strings and the fingers on the other hand muting higher strings. However, if your hand is still anchored in position by the palm, I don't see how it's going to be able to do the necessary dancing :bassist:

    I would explore this with your new tutor. Assuming that he can play in a way you respect, work with him to learn what he's doing - even if you reject his particular technique in the long run, it's unlikely to harm you. The most dangerous thing is falling into the trap of thinking that there's only one valid way of playing the instrument (although I'd be hesitant of approaches that are painful - no pain, less liklihood of long term damage :eek: )

  4. thanks guys. i'd decided to give it a few months to try and learn the new style and if i'm still struggling i'll go back to my normal style
  5. check out adam nitti's site - he's a bass instructer who clearly spells out the floating thumb technique on his site so even idiots like me can figure it out.

    btw: he's a chill cat with tastey MONSTER chops, he did an swr clinic up in rochester last year, i walked away with some great stuff.

  6. amac


    Oct 9, 2002
    Commerce, Georgia
    I agree with thunderBoltz to check out Adam Nitti. Pretty impressive.

    Another thought. I've watched Oteil Burbridge play and he kept his thumb planted on his B string when soloing on his 6. So...do whatever is most comfortable without comprimising clarity (muting).