Switched to 5 string, need better technique?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Ian_Currie, Mar 6, 2002.

  1. Which method do you use (if at all) to anchor your thumb while playing?

    a) anchor the thumb in one place (e.g. top of pickup)

    b) combination of top of pickup (when playing notes on E string) and E string (when playing notes on other strings)

    c) completely mobile : anchor on top of pickup, E string, A string (perhaps even D string) depending on strings being plucked/picked

    d) don’t anchor the thumb at all

    e) other

    The reason I ask is that I’ve always used method b. I like to have one anchor position, but find it somewhat necessary to move the anchor to the E string to reach the G string.

    However, I've just switched to a five string... and now I’m finding I need to make a change and am wondering which way to go. I tend to use the B string as an anchor (which is fine since I don’t often play that string – at least not yet – and can easily move to the top of the pickup when I do need to play it), but reaching the G string is awkward.

    I did read about a technique (perhaps even here on talkbass, not sure) where the thumb is mobile, giving you better access to the higher strings (and also mutes lower ones not being played), but during fast runs, I find this incredibly hard to do. I’m wondering if I should force myself to learn this or just build up the strength to reach the higher strings from the B string anchor. Any recommendations?

  2. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Try using method c and mute the lower strings with the side of your thumb.
  3. cb56


    Jul 2, 2000
    yes, C. Then try some string skipping exercises on open strings muting the strings lower than the one your plucking with the side of your right hand thumb and the higher strings than the one your plucking with your left hand. assuming you're right handed of course.
  4. Thanks guys.

    I don't find it easy to move my thumb. I guess during faster runs, that momentary lapse of anchoring (while moving the thumb) throws me off, but if you think this is the way to go, I'll work on it.

    It certainly makes sense from the muting standpoint.
  5. mpapi


    Sep 9, 2001
    Hamilton, NJ
    I use b mostly. I will use c if I'm doing some high string runs, but if it's one or two notes I can usually reach without a problem. I've also read that c is a better way to play, but it seems that I can't build up any speed doing it that way.
  6. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    Well, I've only been playing 5 stringer for like 2 months now but I found it most effective to use the pickup when playing B/E, Use B for A, E for D/A/G. That is what I like. Most comfy.
  7. Mr_Pink


    Nov 30, 2000
    That's the way I do it too. In the beginning you wil need to become a little used to it. In the long end you'll like it. i now
    play that way on four string to.

    It might fasten switching between slap and normal to.
    (not sure for that: saw Mark King switching between slap and fingers at increddible speed, on a four string)
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