1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Hand Thumb (thumb position)

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by bwsailer79, Aug 6, 2005.

  1. bwsailer79


    Aug 5, 2005
    Laurel, MD
    I have a question... maybe two even.

    Where does everyone put the thumb of their right hand when they play? I put it on the neck pickup. It's the most comfortable for me, but I was wondering if there were any other methods that people used and to find out if they found any advantages to doing it that way.

    Also, how do you normally shape your fingers on the right hand. Mine are more curved; like a claw (but when I played the upright it was more strait).

    I've been playing bass for over twelve years now. I took lessons in highschool, but that was on the upright bass. So I've never taken a lesson on the electric and I've finally decided to work on my technique... hehe.

    I'm just curious about what other out there are doing.
  2. Correlli


    Apr 2, 2004
    New Zealand
    rested on of of the P pickup, on top of the E string, on top A string, I have a thumb rest mount by the neck joint, and along the neck.
  3. hello!


    Aug 7, 2005
    hey i been putting my thumb on the pickup when i play ( using a jazz bass) and i thought of changing to a sting ray.However the sting ray pickups are like near the bridge and i would probably have to change the habbit i play right?
  4. Suckbird

    Suckbird Banned

    May 4, 2004
    My thumb is floating.
  5. bwsailer79


    Aug 5, 2005
    Laurel, MD
    Do you rest any part of your arm or hand on the bass?
  6. Suckbird

    Suckbird Banned

    May 4, 2004
    Yes, the forearm.
  7. I semi-float.

    On my four string for the E and A strings i'll usually have my thumb just not on anything, but i only do that if its a note or two. For anything more than that i'll put it on the pickup. If i'm playing off the D and G strings then i usually put my thumb on the A string. If i'm moving all over the place my thumb actually goes on top of the string sideways but bent so its almost parallel to the pickup. Its hard to explain.

    On my five string (EADGC) My thumb is positioned pretty much so its never more than two strings away from whatever i'm playing, So if i'm playing on the C string i'll be based off of (usually) D.

    My technique with the thumb pretty much depends on what i'm playing.

    Oh, and the sideways thumb thing helps to mute the open strings. :)
  8. Suckbird

    Suckbird Banned

    May 4, 2004
    Yeah, that's the main reason i use floating thumb..

    i dont really know how to mute without it, is it the index finger or?
  9. brothertupelo

    brothertupelo Guest

    Aug 7, 2005
    when i'm on the e or a string, my thumb's usually resting on the curve of the body. when i'm on the d or g string, my thumb's usually on the e string.
    that's, of course, when i'm not playing with my thumb.
  10. Whafrodamus


    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    I rest my thumb on the E string and float it when using the E string.
  11. bwsailer79


    Aug 5, 2005
    Laurel, MD
    Outside of being able to mute the strings if you float your thumb just over the string... do any of you think that it helps with speed or ergonomics to float your hand?
  12. Suckbird

    Suckbird Banned

    May 4, 2004
    I dont know why but, to me it feels like i play faster when i'm resting the thumb but also sloppier...

    i noticed that when i practice scales the string i previously played(if i go from A to D for example) the A usually rings out after i have played it, very annoying even though it's pretty quitet...

    that's why i use floating thumb... i dont know any other muting techniques, for example pick playing is awkvard for me...
  13. hello!


    Aug 7, 2005
    u cant rest ur forearm when u are standing. can u play as fast when ur thumb is in mid air? i dont i feel its takes to get some used to its also quite difference when u stand? can u get the speed when u play songs which require to change the stings alot? :eyebrow:
  14. whoapower


    Jul 14, 2005
    Austin, TX
    I prefer more than just a P bass setup. J/J or something similar in order to give my thumb a place to rest. This also allows my fingers to attack the string directly over the pickup. I do not prefer to put my thumb over a particular pickup. It depends on the song and style. I actually move around quite a bit, even within a song. Near the bridge: very tight and punchy; near the neck, very loose and a deeper tone.
  15. Suckbird

    Suckbird Banned

    May 4, 2004
    Well, i can play scarified if that's enough speed and string changing for you.
  16. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI

    ...So these guys who always anchor on one spot don't want any other tone than from that one spot on the string?

    ...and like Suckbird said; there are many tunes I do that I wouldn't imagine how to mute - how to play it clean - if my thumb weren't muting.

    Generally speaking:
    I mute the strings ABOVE the one I'm playing with the side of the thumb. Often the string directly above the one I'm plucking is at-least immedeately and momentarily muted from the upward-going rest stroke from the string below, of course, but I'm also talking about 'general muting' of sympathetic vibrations.

    The strings that are physically BELOW the one I'm playing are muted by 'precision slop' from the flesh on my fretting fingers - I usually play fairly 'flat-fingered'.

    Besides all this, I most-often run a big hair tie mute right up by the nut to clean it up even more!

    I'm pretty much a nut about muting; I use high gain, much compression, and a middy, growly tone; all that adds-up to a setup that sounds pretty horrendous when some guys pick up my bass (especially if I don't scoot the mute up onto the fretboard for'em - snicker-snicker!). I've heard this about Tiger Wood's driver too...