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Geezer Butler technique

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by BklynKen, Apr 1, 2014.

  1. Saw Sabbath last night in NYC. So so awesome. And such a treat to be able to watch Butler and Iommi play. Something I've always been curious about is why Butler sometimes plays all the way up at the neck, resting his thumb at the base of the neck. Anyone know?
  2. pedroims


    Dec 19, 2007
    I am sure it is because he likes the sound he gets playing there. He plucks very aggresive so he gets a alot of fret noise.
  3. Datsgor

    Datsgor Supporting Member

    Jul 29, 2000
    I think I remember reading (or seeing) an interview where he states that he did not know you could take off the pickup cover, so he played on the neck.
  4. Fair Warning

    Fair Warning Deliverin' the Goods! Supporting Member

    Geezer hits the strings where he wants......he is the king!

  5. That would be interesting. Last night he played mostly off one of the pickups, but I think on Paranoid he was at the neck.
  6. Korladis

    Korladis Supporting Member

    I think he likes the thwack of the strings hitting the frets. It's easier to make that happen if you play up there.
  7. Tom_RCJ


    Jan 4, 2010
    Cardinal, Ontario, Canada
    Band is sponsored by Trinity Amps and Sennheiser.
    The tone is also "boomier" up there. On the rigs I've played anyway, Ive never played stadiums so maybe it's different in that kind of setting.

  8. Or just set your action super low. :)
  9. Korladis

    Korladis Supporting Member

    Or both.

    I prefer hitting hard north of the bridge pickup, with medium action, for myself, though.

  10. I hear you. I always loved super low action and playing at the bridge pickup.
  11. callofcthulhu


    Oct 16, 2012
    And here I am playing with low action up by the neck so there you go!

    One of my bands has a song with a bridge section inspired by the outro to Iron Man. I got a pretty mean Geezer tone for it on my old bass by playing up over the 12th fret - sometimes jamming my thumb under the lower strings to keep them out of the way while I galloped.

    No need for that technique now... I will miss it though.
  12. elBandito


    Dec 3, 2008
    Rotten Apple
  13. Korladis

    Korladis Supporting Member

    I usually play a Ric, so I tend to play right between the two pickups (most of the time... I'll play between the bridge and bridge pickup when I want to keep a lid on the volume).

    I like my action medium rather than super low because I can hit the strings harder that way. Super low action can be really comfy, though.
  14. I dunno. I usually play up there. I like the sound and it feels faster. I just might be crazy. But crazy like geezer might not be that bad!
  15. Boom762

    Boom762 I AM the one who Booms! Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2013
    Lubbock, TX
    I thought that's how everyone plays when wanting a smother sound. I don't usually put my right thumb on the neck because then it would interfere with the lowest string but Ill finger over the neck when I want the opposite effect of the bridge pup.

    Also, the string tension is super low and springy there. If someone has sore fingers from playing a lot or arthritis it would be ideal to play there.
  16. willeb


    Jan 27, 2014
    Hartford, CT
    I play with my right hand on the neck as well. More power there. You get less control, but the attack is way more aggressive and totally worth it to me. It's not for "subtle" bass players :)