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Question on Todd's Floating Thumb angle vs. John Myung

Discussion in 'Ask Todd Johnson [Archived]' started by steverpeterson, Jan 6, 2007.

  1. steverpeterson


    Jan 5, 2007
    Greetings! I have just received Todd's Technique DVD and it's wonderful. I highly recommend it. The Friday Nite Jam DVD is also very useful to see how he uses the floating thumb throughout many songs.

    Here's my question. I notice that Todd keeps his "floating thumb" fairly perpendicular to the strings and on TOP of the strings. Now, I was comparing Todd's thumb method to that of John Myung's. Note the following 2 videos. John seems to be using a slightly different approach to the floating thumb...arching and pointing the thumb more up the neck and he doesn't rest the thumb on TOP of the strings, but anchors it on a previous string (and moves that anchor back and forth). At first glance, this looks like it would be more readily available to pluck a note with the thumb.

    Check this out:

    Todd: Gary Willis - Bowlegged

    Also, I note that John doesn't give attention to keeping his wrist straight like Todd does (I like Todd's idea much better). And notice how John anchors his thumb 2 strings back from the string he is plucking. Thus, when plucking the 1st string, he anchors on the 3rd, while his fingers come to rest on the 2nd string (muting them)... thus no need to mute the 2nd string with the thumb.

    Why is Todd muting this string that is already silent from doing a rest stroke with his plucking fingers?


  2. I play with free strokes thats I why I find Todd's method to be superior and "mutes" the strings better
  3. steveb98

    steveb98 [acct disabled - multiple aliases]

    Mar 15, 2006
    Venice, CA
    I see what both John and Todd are doing are floating thumb, each is going to do it as it works best for them. Physically we all are slightly different and we adjust things so they work for us, the end result is what matters.

    Gary Willis is another story Gary has his own approach to right hand as you can see from the video. He almost plays like fingerstyle guitarist. His thumb mutes, but at times he is striking notes with his right hand. Gary just has amazing control of his hands and they do anything he thinks of.

    I would say don't get hung up in looking for details, try different approaches to floating thumb, keep what works for you and practice it till you internalize it. Then you don't think about it, it's just happens.
  4. Wraithwrider


    Nov 8, 2005
    Kendal UK
    I do the John Myung thing with the inside edge of my thumb muting the strings. It's more of an definite anchor for me.

  5. spindizzy


    Apr 12, 2004
    Myung is using what is commonly referred to as the movable anchor. I know they are very similar but I draw the distinction this way, if the thumb is resting against the string not on top of it (as you can see in the Myung video) than it is floating thumb. If the thumb is moving from string to string landing on top of the string as if you were anchoring on a pick up or thumb rest than it is movable anchor.

    Certainly with practice either style will accomplish much the same effect overall. However I can see from the video (Myung's that is) that there is not quite the economy of motion with movable anchor as there is with FT. I prefer FT myself but again I have played like that for twenty years or more so I am biased. I am sure Todd will be polite about the Myung way (he is a fine player so you can't argue with that) but he is as sold on FT as I am and will most likely suggest that the greater fluidity and independence provided by FT trumps movable anchor any day.
  6. steverpeterson


    Jan 5, 2007
    I have been practicing both methods over the last few days and my observation is that Todd's floating thumb is more relaxing on my right forearm. I find my hand and whole arm are just very relaxed and comfortable.

    The process of arching my thumb for use in the movable anchor puts a bit of continuous tension in my forearm.

    Does Gary Willis put his thumb on top? It looks like he is always keeping it anchored and ready to pluck.

  7. Todd Johnson

    Todd Johnson

    Sep 27, 2005
    Anthem, AZ
    Hey, sorry I've been out of contact lately... I've been BLESSED with an abundance of work....PLUS...I just finished filming for my VOLUME 2 "SCALE MODULES" DVD....(Look for a MARCH release date!!)

    The bottom line is this....

    The bass is a noisy...clanky....buzzy....string noise filled...string ringin' machine.

    The goal is to reduce or get rid of as much of this stuff as you can.


    It's not about pitting my method against someone elses.... Ultimately, if you accomplish the goal....then it's a legitimate method....at least in my humble opinon!!!

    My goal in all of this is to present to everyone what works for me......But, realize that I've checked out a lot of methods and techniques....and what I present is what I've concluded to be the "best" method....at least for me.

    I love to see your posts....it's beautiful!!!....You've all got it pretty much figured out!!

    What I've ALWAYS recommended to my friends and students is this.........Check out as many methods as you can...put some time and effort into the ones that make the most sense to you....PICK SOMETHING....work hard at it....develop it....MOVE ON to the MUSIC!!!!!

    On a personal note: John Myung is a VERY nice guy....GREAT BASS PLAYER.... I met him once at a Yamaha fucntion... He obviously gets GREAT results. So if that makes the most sense to you....then give that a try.

    GARY WILLIS was MY teacher....best teacher I've ever had!! He's BRILLIANT!!!! Gary is a GREAT guy...I'm proud to call him a friend!! His methods speak for themselves... His playing is unsurpassed!! Definitely check out his stuff....

    My methods are greatly influenced by Gary... no doubt about that... I've grabbed as much as I can from him and then applied it to my own thing....Make sense???

    I hope this helps everyone!!!

  8. SmittyG


    Dec 24, 2003
    Texarkana, Texas

    You just made my day. :)

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