My left thumb position

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Venturella, Dec 22, 2016.

  1. Venturella


    Feb 10, 2016
    I used to be a mediocre guitar player but i moved on to bass 2 years ago. So ive been playing bass for about 2 years now. But my teacher told me that my left thumb should always be on the middle of the neck. But when I play, my thumb goes up nearly to the side dots. Also, he told me that my thumb should point up vertically to the frets but my thumb slants to the left when I play. But when I was learning guitar, my teacher did not tell me anything about it. Is this is problem that needs to be solved? or is it just a matter of preference?
  2. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    I do the same, but you're better off listening to your teacher. Proper left hand position not only improves playing, but decreases the probability of hand / nerve injuries. I'd say your previous guitar teacher should have mentioned it.
  3. Yep, thumb - middle of the back side of the neck.
  4. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    Worth watching all the way through :

    Dennis Perez, 12BitSlab, INTP and 2 others like this.
  5. Howlin' Hanson

    Howlin' Hanson Lighter cabs, please.

    Sep 3, 2007
    Austin TX
    Mine moves a bit, but usually gets back where it belongs. Sometimes it just needs a bit of relief from staying in the middle position.

    More folks would get the benefit of your question if it were in Technique, rather than General Instruction, but close enough, I guess.
  6. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    "Vertical thumb in the middle of the neck" is one of several perfectly valid playing styles. I'd encourage you to learn all you can from this teacher, all you can from other teachers, all you can from performances/videos of great musicians, etc. and then, at the end of the day, make your own style from the best bits of all your influences. :)

    A personal note: I will say that, through the years, I've gotten away from the "spider" hand technique, and find myself agreeing very much with the video posted above by fearceol. I now like to keep my left hand relaxed and open, using the minimum of force, like I am burping a baby. ;)
  7. Jloch86


    Aug 1, 2016
    Nonsense. As long as you can play your part correctly, it makes absolutely no difference what you do with your thumb.

    When your part calls for it, sure. It might be easier to have the thumb in the middle of the neck for certain passages, but it's very fatiguing to keep your hand in that goofy position when you play rock or riffing on some Zeppelin or Sabbath.
    fearceol likes this.
  8. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006

    ^^^^ This....

    The subject of.."where do I place my thumb.." comes up regularly.

    IMO, the above is the definitive answer, and should be made into a sticky. :)
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2017
  9. INTP


    Nov 28, 2003
    Dallas, TX
    I suspect that the author of this video has put more thought into it than your current teacher. I don't want to undermine a qualified instructor, but at the same time a lot of teachers just repeat the way they were taught.

    I generally avoid overly dogmatic statements about technique because we're not all made the same way. And I certainly cannot play with my thumb in the middle of the neck and pointing perpendicular to the strings in the lower frets. If I tried, I'm sure I would injure myself.

    My advice would be to watch this video and use it as a starting point. It's somewhere between what you've been doing on guitar and what your teacher is suggesting, and it should allow you to play relaxed and proficiently.
    12BitSlab likes this.
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    Primary TB Assistant

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