I just don't understand Double thumping.

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by IAMERICCOCHRANE, Jan 28, 2004.

  1. Ok, is it slapping the string like normal, but instead of bouncing off you go through it and pull back up? Or is it that you take your thumb and go left and right with it? I've watched Victor wooten but he is going so fast I can't tell what he is doing. Thanks.
  2. Well, from what I've seen from the "Learn Electric Bass" video on Kazaa by Victor Wooten and from some guy on here (WR or someone?), here's the deal:
    To start with, lock your wrist with your hand paralel to the bass in the 'thumbs up' position. Then, move your elbow down, so you hit the string with the edge of the joint of your thumb. Then, when you hit the string, keep moving down, and "rebound" off the next string down and move your elbow up. It's handy just as a guide, you don't want it to ring out or whatever. Kinda imagine that you're using your thumb as a pick, but in a really exagerated movement...

    Personally, I've never really managed to get it to fit in to any song I've played or sound good, so I've not done much with it, but if it does it for you "power to ya" :p


    PS. 'cos that's a fairly tripe description, talk/e-mail me at an_acquired_taste_@hotmail.com for more...
  3. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    It's very simple.

    Thumb Down (hits string) Thumb Up (pops string)

    I find the easiest way to do it is with your thumb parallel with the strings, and then you slap a string, say the A string, your thumb goes THROUGH the string, and rests on the D string, then simply move your thumb back up, catching the A string with it so that you get a slap sound(technically a pop sound)

    Experiment with having your hand in different places. Personally, I do it over the fretboard, Victor wooten does it above the fretboard, Bill dickens does it above the pick-ups...etc.

    The video Home-spayed Referred to is called "super bass solo techniques" it's kind of hard to find, but if you look hard you'll find it.

    additionally, "live at bass day '98" by victor wooten, DVD, is great, and could probably help you out a lot.

    In This Thread by The_Baste_doofoo He posts some audio clips of him doing double thumb triplet techniques. and as a supplement to that, I posted a couple videos outlining the Double thumb + pop technique.

    that might help, I dunno.
  4. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    If you noticed, on amazon "usually ships in 3 to 4 weeks"

    that means they don't have any in stock, this is what I meant by kind of hard to find.

    www.audiophileimports.com might have it.

    maybe www.basscentral.com too

    Just because it's listed on amazon.com doesn't mean that you'll be able to get it from them, Michael manring's book of flame was listed, I ordered it, but they were out of stock(something like 2-4 weeks ETD they said) then due to a distribution problem with michael's distributor, they never got new copies till MONTHS later, well, I had since cancelled my order, but just goes to show you that amazon can't do everything for you ;)

    Live at Bass day '98 is an EXCELLENT video, and it's regularly available, in DVD format too.
  5. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    Eric, Trust me on this, I'm in the same sitch... You and I understand the concept, but can't make it sound good. We'll stay there for a while I hear.
  6. It may help if you can find a bass with wide string spacing and very low action to mess around on. It's certainly not necessary to play w/ wide spacing or low action to do the technique but it may be easier to start getting the idea with a bass configured that way. For me, it was one of those things that you have to experience to begin getting the hang of it. After you know how it's supposed to feel it comes along fairly quickly.
  7. with the double thumb technique you dont really want to move your whole arm, just keep your arm still and do the movement with your forearm and wrist, you dont need a whole lot of power to slap a bass.For the double thumb, Make your thumb parallel with the strings, and when you go to slap it, instead of doing the traditional bouce, go through the string so that the next string stops it. Then just hook it under the same string and pull your finger back up. Its just like using a pick, but with your thumb. if this is complicated, watch his bass day 98 video, and also he has a super solo bass or something like that(i always forget the name). He does a waaaay better job explaining it than i do.
  8. Just for reference, when we say slap "through" the string we mean slap downward towards your feet but inward towards the bass to catch the string.
  9. HaVIC5


    Aug 22, 2003
    Brooklyn, NYC
    I was stuck with double thumbing for a long time, but one of the biggest obstacles to learning to thump it up like the Buddha or Wooten is thinking of it as slapping. It sounds like slapping, it looks like slapping, but it isn't. Like thebassmuchacho said, think of it more like picking with your thumb than slapping. Once you get the hang of it, it becomes pretty natural, but that was what tripped me up, trying to do it with conventional slapping.
  10. KidNamedFord


    Aug 17, 2003
    how do you pop it, do you put your nail under the string and pull up or what... thats what confuses me
  11. This might help. Wrong robot has some videos you should check out if you can.

    This is the downstroke when hitting the A string

    This is the position my thumb "falls" to after striking the A string. I bring it back up through the A string again for the upstroke.

    This is just an example, you probably don't need that much of your thumb under the string. Just trying to give you a basic idea.
  12. Lockout


    Dec 24, 2002
    I've been working on this technique a little over the past few days, but I've been having trouble getting a good slap tone on the downstroke. I'm used to slapping towards the fretboard, so this downward motion feels a little strange to me. I can't get that same nice clank that I can get slapping the other way, I always get more of a muted pluck sound.

    Those of you who use this technique regularly, what part of your thumb do you strike the string with on the way down to get this sound?
  13. ok now I have a good impression as to what to do. Thanks for the visuals ole jason, that was what helped me the most, but all the posts also helped. I just didn't understand what to do on the upstroke, but now I get it, now all I have to do is get it down :bassist:
  14. I went to a Wooten concert and I noticed that when he double thumped he pumped him arm up and down like a jackhammer almost. Is that what I should do? I'm having such a hard time with double thumping, I've had to re-learn it like 3 different times. I've found that most people double thump off the fretboard and that you should have your thumb parallel to the fretboard but how far into the string should you go? Should your thumb go like under the string or just graze the top of it? Also what about the arm movement?

  15. I think it just depends on the person... I've seen people move their whole forearm and I've seen people just use their wrist. Both seems to work equally well if you practice it. As far as how much string to hit, just hit enough so that it still 'slaps'. Economy of movement is very important when you start getting the speed up. Have fun :)
  16. I think that I remember reading somewhere that Vic uses light strings to help him along the way. When I double thump, I tune my bass down a whole step to compensate for heavier strings. If you're having trouble getting it to go smoothly, try lighter strings or detuning.

    If you want some more help, I taught myself double thumping off of the website below. Hope it helps.

  17. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA

    NO, Wooten has confessed that he does that mostly for show. If you watch him when he's doing the fastest stuff, he's barely moving at all.
  18. hieronymous


    Nov 28, 2002
    Northern CA
    I learned how to do it by watching Mark White of the Spin Doctors before they got big so you could easily stand right up by the stage. The way I did it (I don't use the technique much anymore), I tried to get the same sound whether I was going up or down. I would practice it by copping lines that were originally played with fingerstyle, like some of the stuff Bobby Sheehan played on the "Travelers and Thieves" and "Save His Soul" albums by Blues Traveler.

    Also, although Victor Wooten often uses it for really fast stuff, it can also be great on groove stuff as well. I found that the natural up-down movement gave lines a different feel than if played with the "normal" slap technique, let alone pick or fingers. MAKE SURE YOU PRACTICE WITH A METRONOME!!! Especially at slower tempos. Playing fast actually itsn't such a big deal - if you can play slow then you're getting somewhere... ;)
  19. Byron Santo

    Byron Santo ByronSanto.com

    Jul 8, 2003
    New Orleans, LA USA
    I've played around with the technique for about two years and could never really get it to work. I tried the u/d motion from the elbow, rotating forearm and combos of both. Then I tried just the wrist, in the same way that a guitarist uses a pick and that worked.

    Now I use the wrist for the up & down, the elbow to change strings and when you use the wrist it setsthe 4 fingers up in alignment to pluck. The rotating forearm approach only works when plucking with the index finger. It puts the middle, ring and pinky out of reach to pluck.

    Byron Santo