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Rest your thumb on the E string?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by JohnBarr, Apr 19, 2006.

  1. JohnBarr


    Mar 19, 2004
    Central NY
    Just curious to know how many guys do this.

    Not a floating thumb. Just regularly anchoring your thumb on the E.

    I started out on an ABG, no thumb rest, no pickup, no choice. Though I could have used the end of the neck. So I got in the habit of resting my thumb on the E.

    It's easy to do, just move the hand up a bit to play on E, and it does help reduce the sympathetic vibration of the E string.

    But I'm practicing more on a "normal" electric for the past year. I continued to use the E but lately I've started resting on the pup. Odd how such small changes take some getting used to.

    In fact, I seem to get a bit better tone that way, probably because of the angle my fingers cross the strings.

    Thoughts or comments?

  2. Matthew Bryson

    Matthew Bryson Guest

    Jul 30, 2001
    I started out resting my thumb on the p/up, but lately I've been resting my thumb on the E string a bit and I want to do it more - reasons:

    1) I like the freedom of being able to place my right hand anywhere to get different tones and not being stuck with just one right hand position. I like to play closer to the bridge sometimes where the strings are tighter and the tone is brighter, but not all the way back at the bridge p/up on my Geddy. (meaning - I like to play between the p/ups)

    2) I've found that when I play around with chords, something I hope to do more of in the future, that "floating thumb" is the way to go to get a nice clean sound... AND - IMO - Floating thumb only involves floating your thumb between, the A string, E string, or floating (when playing the E) ...so, resting on the E = 2/3 of the way to floating thumb.

    IMO - resting the thumb on the E is the way to go. YMMV
  3. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    I rest on the E string most of the time. That way I know where it is... and it isn't ringing.
  4. I used to rest my thumb on the pickups all the time but my bass teacher is trying to get me used to shifting my thumb around and resting on the E string (or B string) if I'm not actually playing those strings.
  5. ArwinH

    ArwinH run rabbit run

    Dec 1, 2005
    Southern California
    Yup, I dig playing back near the bridge and resting on the e string, sound very tight and funky when I want notes to percolate out, or I'm doing a joco-ish finger funk syncopation, that's a tone I dig.
  6. just let my hand float in the air
  7. Minger


    Mar 15, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    Mine is usually on the pup or the E.

    Although, when I was playing some stuff on the G and D strings the toher day, my friend was like 'why are you bending the E so much?' - didn't even realize it.
  8. Johnny Mac

    Johnny Mac Riff-finder General Supporting Member

    Sep 28, 2005
    Springfield, MA
    Speaking of anchoring, are their any negative affects of anchoring on bass like their is with guitar? I know anchoring your pinky on a guitar while you pick is bad for your wrist (probably the same for pick bassists), but most of the people I've heard say anchoring your thumb on the pickup/string/thumbrest doesn't cause any problems or restrict playing at all.
  9. If I'm playing a line that centres around the 'E' string, I'll rest my thumb on the pickup. If I'm playing something with most/all the notes on the A/D/G strings, I'll usually rest on the E string. I will sometimes rest on the A string, but not very often... I need more work on floating thumb before I start to use it more regularly in my playing.
  10. CrazyArcher


    Aug 5, 2004
    Well, for me it's pretty random. Yeah, I rest my thumb on the E string most of time, moving to A when playing mostly on D and G, or to the p.u.
  11. I usually use my pinky and 2nd finger? finger next to the pinky, to deaden unused string while my thumb, index and middle finger are going at it, unless I am using all five. I dont know, I had to get the bass down off the wall to see what you are talking about. I played bass in a band for a long time with distortion. So I had to mind my Ps and Qs about open and symapthetic strings or else the power chords would garbage out.
    But I also use my left hand to deaden strings a lot
  12. Ostinato

    Ostinato Guest

    Feb 7, 2005
    Toronto ON
    Yeah I do that too. I tried anchoring on one spot but my right hand is pretty much right over the strings.

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