That other use for your thumb

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Matthew Fisher, May 7, 2020.

  1. The plot thickens. Someone else mentioned that Brian Wilson played with his thumb, but the credits for this Beach Boys track say Ray Pohlman, bass.

    Edit: micguy explained the situation in his comment. Brian Wilson didn't play on all of the Beach Boys' material. It was just a funny coincidence that Pohlman was one of the session pros for the Beach Boys.

    Last edited: May 8, 2020
  2. Aha! I love talkbass. Thank you.
  3. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    I didn't invent Talkbass, I just happen to have listened to way too many podcasts about such things. So, you're welcome for my little part.
    Matthew Fisher likes this.
  4. Here's Caldwell doing a nice solo. It was actually Tommy on bass and Toy on guitar, as I just found out. Talk about confusing names.

    Edit: Wait a minute. He switched to pick halfway through. Heresy!

  5. The clean attack could be attributed to Carol Kay who played on several of their recordings.;)
    Les Fret likes this.
  6. Sid Fang

    Sid Fang Reformed Fusion Player Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2008
    I played several other instruments, including acoustic and electric guitar, before picking up bass. So I started out playing bass with a pick. When I got tired of my jazz purist buddies making fun of me, and decided it was time to learn to do without one, I went through a period of playing bass classical guitar style, with thumb-index-middle-ring playing E-A-D-G. It's a pretty natural technique, but I found it too hard to match the dynamics and tone of the thumb strokes to my fingers, and I evolved to my current, floating, middle-finger-leads, no-thumb-notes technique. But I could easily have turned out otherwise. There have to be a lot of guys out there who play bass "flamenco style".
  7. Les Fret

    Les Fret

    Sep 9, 2009
    Yes it is very common to play octaves on guitar like that by muting the middle string.
    Matthew Fisher likes this.
  8. Les Fret

    Les Fret

    Sep 9, 2009
    Do you have a clip of that bass player showing that technique? There are so many ways to play with the thumb so it is hard to know what you mean exactly.
  9. ZB5


    Sep 6, 2019
    Los Angeles
    Mad respect for Carol Kaye!
    Matthew Fisher likes this.
  10. ZB5


    Sep 6, 2019
    Los Angeles
    If I’m not mistaken, Ray played the part on I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times, which I love and is such a great representation of how Brian composed his bass parts. I also respect Brian for recognizing that to do the music he wanted, he was cool with other more technically skilled musicians to realize his written part.
  11. I definitely respect that insight on his part as well.
    There weren't a whole lot of ways to use a thumb in the tug bar era but I'd be curious to see any alternatives that people have invented. But I guess the question needs to have some parameters, so the idea is you pluck the strings of a bass guitar with just one digit, and that digit is your thumb. The old school way was a lot like the way a thumb is used in fingerstyle guitar.

    I'd post the exact video but Los Dos Carnales have a lot of videos and it turns out he doesn't play that way all the time, so I'm having trouble finding the exact video.
    ZB5 likes this.
  12. 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.

    Jul 29, 2021

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.