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Rest stroke/floating thumb problem/question

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by suicas, Apr 27, 2004.

  1. suicas


    Mar 12, 2004
    Having lots of trouble trying to understand how to play rest strokes (and yes, I've used the search function :) ).

    I'm using the floating thumb technique, and have my thumb resting on the string below the one I'm playing (D if I'm playing G, A if I'm playing D, resting on the pickup if I'm playing E).

    Are rest strokes still necessary for muting in this case?

    Since my thumb's already on the string below the one I'm plucking, it also feels incredibly unnatural to perform a rest stroke. Half the time my finger comes into contact with my thumb, the rest of the time I have to tilt my hand more so that the finger goes towards the lower string rather than into the palm of my hand.

    In addition, I cannot seem to perform a rest stroke without my nail coming into contact with the string. I pluck with the pads of my fingers, and have my nails as short as possible (no nail white left, although they still overhang my fingers), but the movement directly from one string to another causes the nail to contact the string I'm plucking after I release it.

    My bass teacher used a pick and can't really help either sadly... Can anyone offer any tips or descriptions of how to perform a rest stroke in fine detail?

    Thanks in advance for any help!
  2. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS
    In that context, no because you are muting the next lowest string already with your hand placement.

    One thing that I would advise is not dig in to hard, only the very tip of finger should touch the strings. Also if you have really long fingernails that could be preventing you from sliding through to the next string.
  3. CJK84


    Jan 22, 2004
    Maria Stein, OH
    I'm new to the rest stroke, but I think that it might still be beneficial to use even if you employ the floating-thumb approach and muting's not an issue.

    My guess is that the constant use of the rest stroke makes one's plucking faster and increases control because it limits the motion of the plucking fingers.

    If your index finger is striking your thumb, try to move your plucking fingers to the right while keeping your thumb where it's at.

    Good luck.
  4. Jeff Moote

    Jeff Moote Supporting Member

    Oct 11, 2001
    Beamsville, ON, Canada
    The statement that rest stroke is faster because of limiting the range of motion is not really true.

    That said, I play rest stroke 80% of the time and the rest is usually a mixture of a number of things. The proven fastest/most efficient method though is a free stroke using 4 digits in the order p-a-m-i although the standard is p-i-m-a

    All I say is to do whatever works really well for you. For me that is usually rest stroke. As long as your current technique is not tiring out your hand too fast and is producing the sound you want, then it's good. A teacher that has suggestions and insight on the topic is indespensible though.
  5. Bennet Pullen

    Bennet Pullen

    Aug 31, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    I know what you mean about rest strokes feeling uncomfortable when your thumb is right behind. I have trained my thumb to follow two strings behind my plucking rather than one, so playing on G thumb is on A, playing on D thumb is on E and playing on my E or A strings the thumb is on the pickup. This works the best for me, but don't be two strict about it, for example if I'm playing and there is a leap from the G string to the A string I might only move my thumb from the A to the E string so it's a little bit variable.
  6. suicas


    Mar 12, 2004
    Thanks, I've started using rest strokes since my last post, and the sound is considerably better.

    My plucking hand seems to get less tired too, as my fingers seem to be moving a lot less.

    Nail noise seems to be diminishing too, since I've started cutting my plucking fingers' nails extremely short, the tips of my fingers seem to be slowly taking over more.

    Still got a long way to go though, sometimes my plucking fingers hit the string they're resting on too hard and make noise, other times they're quite uneven in the sound they produce.

    And I've got a long way to go until I get my third finger performing adequate rest strokes too ;)