If you couldn't use your thumb...

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by rickreyn, Dec 20, 2001.

  1. rickreyn

    rickreyn Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2000
    Lutz, Florida
    what would you do? This is a legit question. Because of an operation early in childhood, my playing thumb lacks the mobility to slap. I am interested to know how you all might compensate in this situation given the prominent use of the thumb in modern bass playing.
  2. Abe Laboriel uses his thumb to pluck the note almost like he's fingerpicking. That might work for ya.
  3. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    Use your forefinger. John Entwhistle calls it the typewriter method. Its very difficult to pop at the same time cos your hands in the wrong position but you will get a 'thumb' sound.

    I have subscribed to this thread. Please try it and let us know what works.
  4. punkfunkfreak


    Dec 16, 2001
  5. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Way back when(the '70s?), Stanley Clarke would sometimes pop with only his fingers(no thumb) by playing between the neck & the neck pickup. Pluck 'harder' than normal(to get the idea, try playing Larry Graham's bass figure to "Thank You").

    Chuck Rainey has a technique where he holds the plucking hand in a karate-chop manner. The 4 fingers of the plucking hand slap the strings(for me, this works pretty good on the "E" & "A" strings).

    Good luck.
  6. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Unless you do the Wooten double-thumb thing, you don't need much mobility in your thumb to slap. Practically all of the motion for conventional slapping comes from rotating the wrist and forearm.
  7. rickreyn

    rickreyn Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2000
    Lutz, Florida
    I will try all this out.
  8. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings

    This is very true. Wrist mobility is much more important.
  9. frankencow150

    frankencow150 Guest

    Oct 17, 2001
    just play with ur thumb,put get it stiff.ive noticed that whenever i slap my thumb is very stiff,its more in the wrist as others said.
  10. ldiezman


    Jul 11, 2001
    Yes. slapping is really alot of wrist movement.. now if you have no mobility at all in your thumb and it causes you lots of pain when you use it.. then thats a horse of a different kind. If I didn't have a thumb, it would suck b/c I do enjoy slapping some. but it would be ok because Slap bass is only about 20% of what I do... but try what the other guys/gals have suggested...
  11. rickreyn

    rickreyn Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2000
    Lutz, Florida
    I also have to deal with a little less mass on the slapping part of the thumb. What I am doing is more of a snapping action with the thumb. I tried that this week using the same left-hand fingering action that you would use with a slapping technique, with some success. I agree that you'd have to be playing pure funk to slap most of the time. I don't so a modified technique gets the job done. Most of the technical stuff gets two-fingered anyway. When you stand back and listen to a song as a whole, it's a matter of providing the percussive accents at the right time, no matter how they are accomplished. I snap or pop. While others slap. I just can't get a rhythm thing going. At least this is how I am learning to compensate for the handicap. Again thanks for the pointers. They inspired me to take another run at developing new techinques.
  12. tmt


    Nov 10, 2001
    Jakarta, Indonesia
    Uh.. I'm a very lazy slap player , I used left hand slapping :rolleyes:

    But it works !!!:D
  13. ColdYinTiger


    Jul 15, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    I sometimes use my mother's old finger brace things from when she tore the tendons in her fingertip.It stays just around the last joint your fingers so you can still play fingerstyle to a certin degree. I put them on my index and middle of my right hand and rip of tony levin. When I'm bored I'll use my fingertips to slap rather then my thumb.
  14. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    If it's a matter of less mass you may want to try what Mark King does... he tapes his thumb.
  15. tmt


    Nov 10, 2001
    Jakarta, Indonesia
  16. patrickroberts


    Aug 21, 2000
    Wales, UK
    y dont u use you're whole hand 2 slap. i use it very often on the bottom string for fast bass lines, but i do use it on the other strings, it just means that i have 2 mute them.Give it a go, and hey it may sounds ****e at 1st but it looks good!