Playing fourths in thumb position

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by Mike Goodbar, Jul 10, 2002.

  1. Mike Goodbar

    Mike Goodbar Supporting Member

    Jun 6, 2001
    Charlotte, NC
    I'm playing a gig that requires some really EXPOSED arco thumb-position passages, including an eighth-note passage that begins with a fourth interval (E-A). After the "E", it's bassically a scalar thing in A minor.

    I've tried a couple of ways to finger the first interval: Using my index and middle fingers for the E and A respectively (on the D and G strings), and holding both notes down simultaneously with the thumb. The latter solution seems more elegant, but the tone really sucks (my strings are on the high side, and I have really stubby thumbs). With the former, intonation suffers and there's a clumsy shift.

    Any hints?
  2. nickchalk


    Jan 30, 2001
    I'd my 2nd on the E and my 3rd on the A. I find that more comfortable than 2 and 1.

    You could also push down the A with your thumb and push the E with the side of your thumb: pushing the D string to the side. That's not always the best technique, but in fast passages it's sometimes all you can do.

    I'm impressed you can pressed down both string with your thumb. That seems awfully uncomfortable and weird to me.
  3. One other option you can try is thumb on the A and 1st finger on the E. I think I came across that in a Rabbath edute.
  4. Mike Goodbar

    Mike Goodbar Supporting Member

    Jun 6, 2001
    Charlotte, NC
    Thanks Marc & Nick.

    I'll try thumb on the A and 1st on the E.

    Yeah, I can do it -- just barely -- which accounts for said crappy tone. 1st and thumb is a much better alternative.
  5. If you have to play it across the strings 2 on E, 3 on A makes the most sense, but depending on the phrase, you might consider playing it all on one string. Thumb-3 on the D string is easy.
  6. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    I'd use the first and second fingers for the E and A, respectively. Keeping the thumb at the D octave lets you maintain your bearings and can actually help with intonation.

    Where are you shifting to?