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Let me see your thumb, please...

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by Damon Rondeau, May 23, 2005.


  1. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    How far back does your left thumb bend? Another way of asking the question: is your left thumb double-jointed?

    The reason I ask is I've recently been told that my thumbs are double-jointed. Naturally and easily, my left thumb bends back from the vertical about half-way: 45 degrees or so. I've got an issue with a small amount of tenderness in there -- not right to call it "pain" -- from bass-playing.

    It's not so much an issue of gripping too hard when stopping strings. I know about that and my teacher and I have been working on it and progressing in normal ways. I really don't think that's the right tree. The issue is simple anatomy -- any amount of pressure when the thumb is in that position (i.e., bent back) over time creates a kind of downward stress on the thumb.

    What I'm wondering is: how common is this condition and do folks have any thoughts to share about managing it? I know Jaco used to be real proud of his "double-jointed" thumbs but I could never figure how that helped him any...
     
  2. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    Hang on a minute, lemme pull it outta my....okay, I'm looking at it, and it doesn't bend backwards at all when I'm playing. Actually, it curves the other way just a bit. I think I'd be getting some stress in that joint if I bent it back. I'm trying it, and it feels like it tightens up in my wrist, at the base of my thumb.
     
  3. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    Thanks, MJ, you can put it back now...

    BTW, to be clear: I'm talking about the knuckle joint on the thumb. First joint south of the fingernail.
     
  4. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    Jaco did have quite a bend there. I don't know how long he could've survived on DB with that thumb.
     
  5. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    AL/GA
    Mine won't go any further back than vertical. I'd take a photo, but I don't want anyone to see the hair in my palms..
     
  6. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    So that's where it went :bag:

    Mine went to my ears and my back.
     
  7. tsolo

    tsolo

    Aug 24, 2002
    Ft. Worth
    My kids play a game...

    "look up, look down, look all around, see my thumb, gee your dumb"

    so...

    Mine curves back, but not at 45 - more like 20?
     
  8. Eric Rene Roy

    Eric Rene Roy Supporting Member

    Mar 19, 2002
    Mystic, CT
    President: Upton Bass String Instrument Co.
  9. Quality

    Quality

    May 7, 2003
    Long Beach, CA
    Mine goes back at about a 90 degree angle.
    These are the best pics I could find without taking new ones:

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  10. VTDB

    VTDB

    Oct 19, 2004
    VeeTee
    My thumb bends back approaching 90 degrees. If I keep only the tip of my thumb on the back of the neck and concentrate on not sqeezing it will usually not collapse, but when I am playing a long time or am not aware enough it will bend back and get sore.
     
  11. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    This is pretty much the same approach I take, using the tip of the thumb when possible. But I have to allot brain bandwidth for that, and bandwidth ain't that easy to come by. After the gig I usually wind up with a somewhat sore thumb.
     
  12. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    Now ain't that somethin'! Homozygous recessive, huh? I'm sure there's a support group for it somewhere...
     
  13. tsolo

    tsolo

    Aug 24, 2002
    Ft. Worth
    Mine looks more like the picture (with all the other genetic traits). So, I guess it is more like 45 degrees.

    Damn, that hurts.
     
  14. Arrghh, I've got hitchhiker's thumb and short index fingers. Doomed!
     
  15. oliebrice

    oliebrice

    Apr 7, 2003
    London, UK
    I've got the same 90degree problem, and find it quite painful if i try to keep my thumb from bending back against the neck.
    A problem when playing in thumb position as well, its difficult to keep a proper shape, and unless I concentrate on it the whole time my thumb shoots back into the 90degree bend again