Not using left thumb?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by queisser, Feb 23, 2006.

  1. This is kind of a follow-up to the fretting thread. I'm also a beginner (and I will get a teacher shortly) but I have a question about the advice of not squeezing your thumb on the neck: if I'm not using my thumb, what keeps the bass from twisting around me? Should my elbow or right hand supply the necessary counter-force to keep the bass in its position?

  2. I think that may be a yes and a no - also more experienced players than myself may differ on this. As technique improves (and also the instrument or setup improves) less force is required to fret the strings (I have started to experience this) so there is less twisting force but I find that I also am sometimes applying a little counter force with the plucking/picking arm. GRAVITY is also your friend - having the headstock up higher toward your head not only relieves the angle of your fretting hand's wrist but means that the mass of the basses' body will counteract the force used to fret the note. How you wear the bass and having the right strap for your needs can have a big effect on both your comfort and technique.

    One funny thing I have noticed recently, when I have to move my thumb out from behind the neck to reach some notes in the upper register sometimes I am playing halfway back toward the headstock before I remember that I am supposed to put my thumb back behind the neck.

  3. Yeah, you've got to stop it from twisting with your other arm/hand, but that only takes a very tiny amount of force. Just resting your hand there like you do when you pluck anyway should be plenty. If it's not, you probably need to fret more lightly.
  4. Dbassmon


    Oct 2, 2004
    Rutherford, NJ
    Everything should be relaxed. Nothing should want to twist. Make sure your bass is sitting correctly and is balanced. Efficiant use of energy is a huge part of good technique. Use only enough energy to make a beautiful sounding note. You need a teacher. You need to see what I am refering to and you need coaching. It cuts the learning curve expodentially.
  5. grygrx

    grygrx Lookout! Here comes the Fuzz! Staff Member

    Dec 24, 2003
    Columbia, MO
    I've been playing seriouslly (aka: actually practicing) for about a year now and went though this issue not to long ago. I found out that I was clutching the bass to tightly with the left hand when I started getting shooting pains in my left hand/wrist..

    After taking a break, I did three things. 1) Lowered my action. 2) Changed my bass/body/strap relationship to ease the angles. 3) Focused on my evil pressure thumb until I rooted it out.

    It's been about 6 months since and I'm pain free. Woo :)