Free-Float vs Anchor Finger Technique

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by FeedBack, May 16, 2004.

  1. FeedBack


    May 12, 2004
    Just incase you guys dont know what these are, free floating is when your thumb moves around while you play and anchored is when you keep your thumb in one place (ex: Thumb on pickup or b/e string)

    I was wondering, which do you use, and what do you think is the advantage?
  2. TheAmpNerd


    Apr 25, 2004
    Dallas, Texas
    Actually I'm glad you brought that up, because I'm new to plalying bass. I was wondering the same things.

    On people that I've seen/know they move the thumb one string lower (physically above) than the one played. I've got the
    Bass for Dummies book and I work through the Left Hand Permutations (p78). My question is when I do this, do I just
    slide my thumb down (physically) when I play on the next string?
  3. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I use the floating thumb technique. By this i dont mean that i always keep my thumb suspended in air. What i mean is i move my thumb as i move which string i play on. Some people with thsi technique alway s have their thumb on the immediate next string to what they are playing. I like to leave a little more room than that. I have it 2 strings away. IE: if im playin on G, my thumb is on A. If im playing on D, my thumb is on E. If im playing on A, my thumb is on E unless its a riff that involves the E, in which case my thumb is on a pickup.
  4. DaemonBass


    Mar 29, 2004
    Sacramento, CA
    Floating thumb is something I am working on out of necessity. I don't mute with my 3rd or 4th finger, so when a line uses notes on say E string, up to D string, back to E, up to D, over and over, I use the floating thumb to mute that E string, or A string. If I'm playing something in more fixed position (ie, easier to control errant string noise, like with my left hand) then I anchor pickup. But then again, that's just me. I'd say advantages of floating thumb are easier to mute strings with thumb and advantages of fixed anchor are a more solid foundation for playing anything very quickly.
  5. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Right now it may seem that you cant play stuff very fast with floating thumb but eventually i bet you'll be able to play with it as fast as anchoring thumb.
  6. DaemonBass


    Mar 29, 2004
    Sacramento, CA
    Heh, I sure hope so because I think this is my biggest weakness now. I will just keep practicing the floating thumb seems like a good deal to me.
  7. I personally play with my thumb either on the neck pickup or on the E string over the neck pickup. I consider this to be anchored. I don't know if there's any advantage to it. I can say that this leaves me totally unable to play a five-string bass. Since I don't like to move my thumb, I can't really reach the G string on a fiver. At least not comfortably. That's okay with me, though, as I really happen to love four-string jazz basses. Mmmmm.... Lakland Skyline Daryl Jones.....
  8. DevinI


    Apr 1, 2004
    i play with a floating thumb, it just seems easier to switch strings faster
  9. I use the floating thumb tecnique. The biggest advantage with a floating thumb to me is that it is very easy to mute and control string noise. I don´t know wich is faster floating or anchored. If someone here playes both styles please enligthen me.
  10. bogart


    Dec 11, 2003
    big bear, ca
    O.K. Here's my typical answer for technique questions. IMHO, there is no right or wrong way. You need to spend some time expeirimenting. I go all over. I'll pick right next to the bridge with my thumb on the p/u. Or I also move towards the neck and free float, ala Geezer Butler. It all boils down to what works for you and what works for the song.
  11. tww001


    Aug 13, 2003
    Telford, PA
    just like everyone else has said, you should experiment and adjust to what suits you best. for me personally, when I play a four string I used a fixed thumb, always on one of the pickups (though I change which pickup I rest on depending on the tone I want). I allow my pinky and ring finger to do the muting. However, when I play my a five or six string, I use the floating thumb for muting, because i don't have enough extra digits to mute all those strings!
  12. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    I use both, not sure what situation I do for what but whatever my mind decides to do float or not, whatever it takes to play the part.
  13. Float. I never knew it was something special until a friend pointed it out one time. I realize now that plucking hand technique is a valuable tool.
  14. mark beem

    mark beem Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
    I use the floating method as it helps me mute the strings on the 7 and 8 string basses I play.
  15. Groove_Master

    Groove_Master Guest

    Feb 29, 2004
    i use floating. if your bass has more than 4 strings you should use floating tecq. no matter what
    use can mute strings,reach to strings easier and ist easy 2 play faster with floating.
    sor ex. your thumb is on B string and you are playing fast sumthing on G string. than put your thumb on D string and play same thing on G again. you'll get what im am saying. floating is more comfortable. but if you look at john patitucci he is not using floating tecq.
    it looks it is a choice. try both and choose the best for you
  16. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Just to be the voice of desent, I anchor - even on 6 and 7.
  17. Lovebown


    Jan 6, 2001
    I always anchor, never float.

    Reason being I play primaly upright, where floating isn't an option (to me). Like to play forcefully on EB too, with the thumb anchored, except when playing the E string.

  18. SlavaF


    Jul 31, 2002
    Edmonton AB
    I pretty much always anchor my thumb either on the PU or the lowest string, I get the most control that way. However, if I'm playing something really fast on the lowest string(s), I've always got the tendency to pick my thumb up and float. But I don't find that actually helps me play faster... I've never really gotten used to floating, even though I have a 5 - a wide 5 at that.