LH thumb by RH players

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by TribalisticBass, May 11, 2005.

  1. I find myself useing my left hand thumb to reach interavals that aren't in my normal range. I will elevate the neck of my bass to get my left hand on the front side of the neck, anchor my LH thumb in the lowest fret needed and then I will usually use my index and middle fingers to reach further up the neck. I don't usually use this technique except when I'm on my G-string. I saw this while watching the BETJAZZ channel. It was used on a Double bass but I seem to have worked it into my functional arsenal. Just wondering if other players have used this technique? It took a little practice. And I think it is a little showy. Is showy even a word. :oops: Ah hell, you know what I mean.
  2. Ozzyman


    Jul 21, 2004
    hmmm... i've only ever used this for chords. Thumb on E string for the bass note and chord another three notes higher up with 3 of my other four fingers.
    I would try and drop the technique because if you have to do anything technical afterwards your gonna need to reposition your thumb and that will take time. How small are your hands? Try considering a shorter scale bass (32-30")
  3. on a 34" scale I can reach at max 6-7 frets between index to and pinky in normal position depending on where I am on the neck. I can reach up to 8-10 frets in this extended thumb position if I'm past the 12th fret. I don't acctually have much of a problem getting back in to normal position, but it took a good bit of practice. I just left a post earlier today on the importance of thumb position for a beginner who was looking for info on developing his pinky finger. If I do this technique, I use it in a original song, and I will usually tend to write around it. But, I don't really have problems going back to normal position. I might also use it in a solo to play say 15th fret on D string and the M7 and 8va above on the G string in 22nd and 23rd frets. I know I could play the F in the 20th fret on the A string, but I like the way it looks as far as th show of things go. I have pretty descent thumb position otherwise.
  4. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    This is indeed an upright technique, and it is called 'thumb position'.

    Steven Bailey does this on his 6 string fretless, if he does it, then don't let anybody tell you that there is anything wrong with it.:)
  5. Thanks embellisher I didn't think that it could be that bad if I saw a jazz expet doing it, on the BETJAZZ channel. It did take some practice to get it down though. Acctually alot of practice but once you learn it, it'll look pretty cool. Word of caution to begginers LEARN TO PLAY YOUR BASS FIRST.
  6. WillBuckingham


    Mar 30, 2005
    Embellisher, thumb position is when you're playing above the octave harmonic on an upright (the 12th fret on an electric). The thumb is used to sound the harmonic, not to reach around and depress the E string. I don't anything about this other thumb technique, but it sounds like a pretty bad idea, is it used exclusively for chord voicings, or for lines, as well?

    The best, and physically healthiest way to play either instrument is with the thumb firmly supporting the rest of the hand from the back of the neck.
  7. adam on bass

    adam on bass Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2002
    New Braunfels, Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Spector, GK, EMG and D'Addario
    If it feels ok then do it. Don't let anyone tell you how to play. Look at Quentin Berry, he smokes and he is no technique fiend.
  8. I originally developed this hole technique becuase, I had spent two year playing my Takemine Acoustic Bass that happens to have a very shallow cut away. It was extremely difficult to access frets above the 15th. I did't think I was going to start a contraversy here I was just asking if other players did this. When I saw this on BETJAZZ the guy was clearly fretting notes with his thumb. :bassist: Play how you like guys this was evolved from nessecity, and is now more for fun.
  9. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    For those who don't follow what we are talking about, here are a couple of pics. The first is of a cellist playing in thumb position. The second is of Steve Bailey playing an electric in thumb position.


  10. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    And that is the same reason that double bassists, cellists, and some other musicians use the technique, to reach areas of the fingerboard that cannot be utilized with normal technique.
  11. Right on, some one had to agree with me. Also to embelisher I just checked out your iste. pretty cool. :cool: did you just recently start playing acousticly. My band actually started as an acoustic band but felt limited in what we could do so we amped up and went elec. If anyone acctually reads this I will say Embelisher's group isn't always acoustic so don't get that impression. When my group was acoustic even my bass was acoustic, which I heard was rare even for an acoustic group. :cool:
  12. CJK84


    Jan 22, 2004
    Maria Stein, OH

    If you find it beneficial, keep doing it!
  13. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    Hmmm...I've seen that done on double basses and cellos, but never an electric. Looks like I have something new to try! :)