Proper thumb position on the neck.

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Usul, Mar 15, 2002.

  1. Every book I have read shows the proper position of the thumb as being on the back of the neck,not reaching over the top.This is how I play my bass.
    Just wondering now...So many pictures I see of famous or well established bassist show them with their thumbs curving over the the top of the neck(like a guitar player does).Why is this I wonder?Doing that is uncomfortable on my wrist.

    To be fair I do notice a small number of pics of bass players using the "proper technique".Any thoughts on this? :(
  2. I think the 'thumb behind the neck' technique gives you the best access to the notes on the fretboard and you don't have to move your hand as much for finger stretches. This is most useful when you reading a piece of music and aren't quite sure where the next note is going to be. If you know the song your playing, and have a well defined bass part, I'm not sure it's as big a factor. I'd be willing to bet the bass players you saw in those pictures weren't reading music.

    Personally, I use the 'thumb behind the neck' technique most of the time if only by habit. I don't really think about it too much. The key is making sure your hands stay relaxed and your causing the least amount of strain as possible. Otherwise you'll probably be screwing up the parts no matter what technique you use.;)
  3. Bassin

    You are right.All the players in the pictures I have seen are mainly just on stage jamming from memory
    as in a concert setting.

    I,too play with my thumb in the middle of the back of the neck from habit.Just more comfy for me and since I read in the instructionals it is correct form...
    ;) I get a gold star in my book,right? :p

    Thanks for your input!

  4. Playing with you thumb at the back of the neck enables you to stretch further and is a far more natural position for ther hand to be in. Relax your hand without a bass and see.
  5. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    A friend of mine plays with the thumb curled around the top of the neck. He wonders why he doesn't have the ease of facility that I do when playing. I've tried to break of this habit, but to no avail.
  6. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    Louis Johnson does this on occasion too, but he does it when sliding up the E string to do some slap riffs in A.

    I myself place my thumb in the middle of the back of the neck paralel to my middle finger.
  7. kasuals


    Jul 20, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    I started out with the thumbover technique, and it was comfortable, but I didn't have much range of motion. My wrists are very bad, and holding it with my thumb parallel to my hand seems to bend it too much. The only way to avoid this is to have my bass sit at the middle of my chest. Only problem with that is, it's not comfortable for my picking fingers.

    It's kind of like being stuck between a rock... and a rock...
  8. I press the pad of my thumb into the back of the neck. I don't think I have ever curled my thumb when playing. I have a pretty wide stretch on the fretboard from this position. I don't know if this is the "proper" position, but it feels right to me. Thats all that really matters.
  9. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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