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Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by assteak, Nov 16, 2000.

  1. assteak


    Nov 3, 2000
    ive read a ton of posts here that say you need to keep your thumb on the middle of the neck. Well i wear my bass very low, near my knees. i've always had my thumb hanging over the top. then i tried to keep it in the middle but it hurts. is this "thumb in the middle of the neck" thing just for players that wear their bass high?
  2. oh sorry i saw your name and the name of your post and expected to see something diferent here.

    but while i am here i would say yea that is more for people that wear there bass higher, gives you better precision and speed, or at least for me. if your wearing your bass that low i wouldn't try in, i would have to guess it doesn't feel that good. you don't want to have your wrist that bent, unless you want to be posting about carpal tunnel
  3. Deynn

    Deynn Moderator Emeritus

    Aug 9, 2000
  4. assteak


    Nov 3, 2000
    :D LOL

    thank you...that cleared it all up.
  5. Then again...if you have your bass hanging that low, but you angle the neck up so it's at like...I dunno, a 45 degree angle? Then having your thumb in the middle of the neck isn't all THAT bad...
    At least not from what I remember. :p
  6. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    There are two problems here - if you have your thumb over the top of the neck and are "grasping" the bass in this way, you leave yourself open to repetitive stress injuries, as a result of the tension created.

    If you are bending forward all the time while playing to reach over to the neck, then you are putting extra strain on your back and are at risk of back strain. If your position is such that you can't play with your back straight, then you will be in trouble after a few years of playing like this. Of course if you don't intend to play that much, then none of this matters, but the more you play the higher the risk of permanent injury.
  7. Player


    Dec 27, 1999
    USA Cincinnati, OH
    The following is an opinion expressed by "Player" and should in no way be construed as judgement or criticism.

    Why do you wear your bass so low? Is this the most comfortable position? If you want to be a serious player you need to forget fashion and think function.
    Try this: Strap your bass on and play an 'E' at the 12th fret on the 'E' string. Is this uncomfortable or do you have to manipulate the bass to reach it? If the answer to either is "yes" then you probably want to adjust where your bass hangs. Do you ever practice sitting down with the bass in you lap? Is this comfortable? Again if the answer is 'yes' you may want to mimic this position with the strap. I've known a lot of players that started with the bass hanging at their knees and as they progressed through they're careers the bass moved up and into a more comfortable position. You should wear your bass in a position that reduces fatigue as much as possible and promotes good posture.
  8. Steve S

    Steve S

    Jul 26, 2000
    When I first started playing, I had my bass at my knees too. Now it's slightly below my rib cage.
  9. assteak


    Nov 3, 2000
    i never really had it any higher than this ever since i started about a year ago. but after trying numerous heights, i now have it about 5 inches higher than before.
    i never noticed that my back was bending so far back when i had the bass low.
  10. MJB


    Mar 17, 2000
    It's certainly your choice as to how high you want to wear your bass but think about this. Look at all the really great players. Now look at how many of them wear the bass real low. This should tell you something. If its about image instead of music then this is all a moot point.
  11. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    More on what MJB said. The bassist who wore his bass lowest of any I have seen in big name bands was Duff McKagan of Guns 'n' Roses. I used to wonder how he played in that position and, yes, he was leaning forward. I just don't see how that can be a really effective way to play complex lines. Maybe Duff could show us a thing or two about how he managed to do it.

    When I played in bands in which a lower hung bass was "cool", I had to have the neck nearly vertical, not as much as Fieldy, but nearly as much. In the heat where I played, leaning forward made me dizzy. It is darned nearly impossible in heels, too, because your balance is so awkward.

    I eventually moved the bass up higher, though not as high as, say, Paul McCartney. Given a choice between looking cool and playing well, the answer should be clear. And right off hand, I can't think of any excellent bassists who play with the bass nearly at their knees like Duff McKagan did.

    Jason Oldsted
  12. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    I think the lowest-position bassist is Rob DeLeo of Stone Temple Pilots. How can he play that way?

    When i started fourteen years ago, i had my Peavey T-40 at my waist. I played that way for a long time, until i saw the first Stuart Hamm video. Even his bass position was an inspiration to me. I started to play my bass up to my chest and it's really more comfortable. These days I'm giving lessons to a boy who is a real beginner. When i told him how to wear the bass and the basic hand positioning, he told me "i play punk with a band and i wear the bass low. It's too uncomfortable to me to wear it so high". I told him: "OK. I can't tell you that it's the wrong position, since there are so many great players who wear the bass the way you do (Flea is a remarkable example), but you must correct your dreadful hand positioning, so go home, try several positions and make your mind about it. If you decide to keep your bass low, go look for another teacher, since i don't play that way." Two days later he came to me and told me. "I've thought about it and have found that a higher positioned bass puts less strain in my left hand when placing it the way you taught me (one finger per fret), so i'm gonna keep practicing that way."

    I laugh at those non-bassists in my town who think that my bass positioning is weird (i'm famous here for it). Some pianists, trumpeters, etc. tell me: "Why do you wear your bass that way?", "You wear your bass as a tie!", some ones look at me like "You're wrong", etc. Ignorance is bold, definitely. :)
  13. DarkMazda


    Jun 3, 2000
    I think the lowest holding bassist is that guy from Sevendust.. have you seen him!??! watch the video of Denial by Sevendust, he has bass almost touch his foot!! I was like "What the?!?!!" The guy from Godsmack has it pretty low too!!! pretty sickening..

  14. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    If you have questions about where yer thumb should be you need to go see a teacher. All the advise anyone can give you without seeing how you play is not necessarily gonna cover what your problems may really be. The point is to achieve maximum mechanical efficiency in getting the musical effect you want. ie. if you wanna play Donna Lee like Jaco, yeah, yer thumb needs to be well back from the edge of the neck. For some things I find myself attempting playing solo though like sliding from one root/tenth to another with a phrase on the G string in between my thumb will hang over the edge of the neck because mechanically it is the most efficient, relaxed way and it _sounds_ like I want it to. Experiment, use a mirror, don't be afraid to change what you thought you knew.
  15. Ben Shepherd from Soundgarden used to wear his bass low. (I don't watch MTV any more, so I don't know the newer players.)

    Robert Trujillo of Suicidal Tendencies/ Infectuous Grooves played his bass low, but when he played more demanding bass lines and slap grooves, he would have to raise one leg on a speaker and rest his bass on his leg just to be able to play it.

    THere's no way I'd be able to solo if I wore the bass too low.
  16. DarkMazda


    Jun 3, 2000
    3 words for you guys "John Norwood Fisher" hehe of the Fishbones :) I heard he wears his bass all the way to his shins and look at him!! he slaps like no one else does :)


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