Movable Anchor / Wandering Thumb Muting Technique

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Leon Damjanov, May 18, 2018.

  1. Leon Damjanov

    Leon Damjanov

    Apr 19, 2018
    So i have a few questions about my muting technique.
    I just started playing the bass a month ago and my muting technique seems to be not that common amongst other bassists.

    Movable Anchor / Wandering thumb (similar but is NOT FLOATING THUMB)
    is a technique where you mute by placing your thumb below the string that you are playing so for example :
    Playing E String : Thumb is on Pickup
    Playing A String: Thumb is on E String
    Playing D String: Thumb is on A String
    Playing G String: Thumb is on D String

    Unlike the Floating Thumb Technique with the Wandering Thumb you place the thumb on (behind) the string and not above the string
    Should i keep using this technique or is it bad?
  2. Most players anchor their thumb in one spot, using the gap between thumb and finger to gauge which string they are on by feel. In this arrangement, mute lower strings with trailing 3rd and 4th fingers; mute higher string with fingers of fretting hand.
    Leon Damjanov likes this.
  3. Lee Moses

    Lee Moses

    Apr 2, 2013
    The moveable anchor technique you are using is fairly common. I used a fixed anchor for years then went to the floating thumb technique 5 years ago when I went to a 6-string bass. I prefer the floating thumb to the moveable anchor, but that's mostly subjective. There's certainly nothing wrong with it.
    Leon Damjanov likes this.
  4. Muting is just one of the things we have to work out for ourselves. Yes there are accepted ways we need to learn. Five years from now muting will just happen. You will have found which way is best for you. Course to get there will be a journey with many side tracks.

    How you mute depends on how you sound the note, fingers, pick, thumb, or slap and we all end up doing it our way.
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  5. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    I change between movable anchor, fixed anchor, and floating thumb depending upon what I am playing. I usually don't think about it unless I experience a technical problem...then I might have a eureka moment where I realize I should consciously choose one technique or another.

    Oddly my use of floating thumb evolved from trying to integrate double thumb and finger pull offs with index, middle, ring fingers. This put my hand into the natural position for floating thumb. Prior to this I was anchored.

    Anchoring still feels preferable with quick repeated jumps across non-adjacent strings...octaves, fifths, etc. Otherwise, I believe I primarily use floating thumb at this time.

    I play a six string and both hands are involve in muting.
    Last edited: May 19, 2018
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  6. rufus.K


    Oct 18, 2015
    It's only wrong if it slows you down
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