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hooking my R.H. thumb under fretboard in TP

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by mike_odonovan, May 25, 2003.


  1. when playing in thumb position i seem to have to hook my right hand thumb under the fretboard to give myself something to push against. what i am trying to say is that when playing closer to the scroll the thumb is behind the neck and the fingers are freting notes against this opposing thumb. up in thumb position the thumb is no longer behind the neck so i seem to want to compensate with my right hand. this is kind of OK pizzicato but a complete disaster when bowing. my teacher is classical and sits with back of the bass facing him ala. cello and i have tried it that way and there is no problem anymore. but this position is rubbish for jazz which i mainly play. thoughts?
     
  2. Could you clarify?
    Are you playing in a left-handed position?
    You refer to your RH thumb, which for a righthander typically holds the bow or plucks the strings. If you're righthanded and somehow find the RH thumb behind the neck, you are doing something seriously wrong.
    Are you playing a double bass or a bass guitar?
    You refer to fretboard and fretting notes. The double bass does not have a fretboard.
    Not to be a weenie, but is the shift key on your keyboard broken? Little things like this make your thoughts appear clearer.
     
  3. i will try to be clearer:

    when in thumb position (left hand) and playing piz. (right hand) I seem to have to hook my right hand thumb under the fretboard. This is to give my left hand fingers something to push against. This is because the left hand thumb is no longer behind the neck for the left hand fingers to push against. I seem to want to compensate for this lack of something to push against by hooking my right hand under the end of the fretboard. This is kind of OK pizzicato but a complete disaster when bowing. my teacher is classical and sits with back of the bass facing him ala. cello and i have tried it that way and there is no problem anymore. but this position is rubbish for jazz which i mainly play. thoughts?
     
  4. Sort of like using a C-clamp to squeeze the string down to the fingerboard? Then, when you get to thumb position, making a giant C-clamp from your whole body just to press an ittybitty string down to the fingerboard?
    I hope you solve your problem because it is of fundamental importance to your playing.
    The solution is to learn to play without squeezing the string down to the fingerboard, regardless of position. Perhaps your teacher could help you first with that, before you move to thumb position. Once you solve the problem in the lower positions, the thumb position problem will solve itself.
    Here's a hint. Try playing some scales in half position, pizz or arco, without touching your left hand thumb to the back of the neck. Try with just the lightest pressure, just using the thumb as a guide. How does it make your shoulder feel? Start here and you're moving in the right direction.
    Best of luck.