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Left hand thumb

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by metaphor, Dec 30, 2012.

  1. metaphor


    Nov 10, 2011
    Working on tone and technique.
    Here's a question:

    Is it better to relax the left hand thumb and play with the fleshy part agaist the neck or is it better to employ the thumbtip like a claw?

    Iv'e been trying the later and it seems really hard to get a good tone and it seems unnatural and makes my hand tired. Will this change over time?

    I'd really like to get a tone like Brian Torff. Any suggestions would be great.
  2. Rockin Mike

    Rockin Mike

    May 27, 2011
    Relaxed is better for health reasons. I dunno about tone.
  3. GrowlerBox


    Feb 10, 2010
    Nude Zealand
    Check here for Chris Fitzgerald's video lesson on the left hand.

    You will not be disappointed.
  4. megafiddle


    May 25, 2011
    Possibly you are using the gripping force of your hand too much. You don't want to rely
    entirely on your hand to get pressure on the strings. You need to also use your whole
    arm. Using your thumb to provide much of the pressure is more appropriate to instruments
    like electric bass, where the instrument itself offers no resistance to fretting or stopping
    a note.

    You don't want to "squeeze" the strings down to the fingerboard, but want to "pull" them down.
    Of course you need to provide some force from the thumb, but it should be relaxed.
  5. megafiddle


    May 25, 2011
    metaphor - Also make sure you are not standing to the side of the bass. You need to be
    at least partly behind the bass so that you can pull back against the fingerboard.

    GrowlerBox - excellent video, best I've seen.
    Any idea what kind of bass that is?
    I want one
  6. GrowlerBox


    Feb 10, 2010
    Nude Zealand
    Chris is a moderator on this forum, and there's a thread devoted to his YouTube videos here. He has discussed his bass(es) somewhere, but I'm sure he'd respond to a question on that thread.
  7. John Clayton has a series of bass lessons also. Here are his left hand tips.

  8. metaphor


    Nov 10, 2011
    Wow, really great info. I love the videos. Thanks guys!
    It's been a struggle. I've been playing for years with bad technique and little attention to tone. I feel like I'm having to relearn the instrument.
  9. chicagodoubler


    Aug 7, 2007
    Chicago, that toddling town
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland, Genz Benz
    We're all relearning the instrument, every day.
  10. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    It's probably one of Chris' New Standard La Scalas.
  11. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Mar 6, 2021

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