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Left hand technique

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by SLiGhTLy_STooPiD, Oct 15, 2000.

  1. I had bass lessons last year for a month or so, when school was out. the instructor said some stuff about keeping the thumb at the back middle of the neck. Well everytime i play now, i have my thumb hanging over the top. Much like geetarists. Is this bad?
  2. Flatwound

    Flatwound Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2000
    San Diego
    Keeping your thumb in the middle of the back of the neck is classical technique, but a lot of rockers do it, too. It will probably help you with faster passages, because your fingers will be arched more, and your reach will be better. On the other hand, on slower stuff, and when I want a really solid thumpy sound, sometimes I grab the neck with my thumb wrapped around it. I don't know if it sounds any more solid, but it FEELS more solid. Generally, though, my thumb is somwhere near the middle of the neck, just like your teacher recommended.
  3. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Yes - this has come up a few times before and there has been general agreement that it can lead to undue strain on your wrist and cause fatigue or repetitive strain - type injuries.
  4. Tarquin


    Oct 9, 2000
    I don't know about all that stuff, but I use my thumb to dampen my E string, I don't think it'd do me any good to have it behind the neck. This could be my bad technique though.
  5. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    The wraparound position is okay if you wear your bass high and angled, or if you have exceptionally long arms. It will slow you down, though, if you have to make fast position changes. If you wear your bass low, the wraparound forces your left wrist to bend excessively; this is not a good thing.
  6. DarkMazda


    Jun 3, 2000
    uhmm, i do that back of the neck thingie, then that muscle around the thumb aches after awhile ( u know what im talking about) .. anything to streghten that muscle? :)

  7. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    Playing with your thumb over the neck can create a bad habit that'll limit your development in the future.

    As for Tarquin, try to rest your thumb on your E string so you don't have to reach over with your thumb to mute it. You're not only playing the notes. you're also playing the spaces in between.

    Will C.:cool:
  8. lump


    Jan 17, 2000
    St. Neots, UK
    I play a lot of stuff in F and Bb, which can be killer keys on the fretting hard (at least on a four string). The technique that helped me that most is actually a double-bass technique. Instead of using your thumb to squeeze your fingers back into the strings, pull your fingers back into them using the larger muscles in your back and shoulder. A way to practice this technique is to try to play without using your thumb AT ALL, just your upper back. If you can't do it, you're probably relying on your thumb too much. Ideally, you should use a combination of the two, although if my hand still starts to give out on me (say at about verse 12 of "La Bamba"), I can use just my upper back at least long enough to give my thumb a quick breather.

    Of course, this won't work if your bass is hanging around your knees...;)

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