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Thought On Thumb Bar On P-Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by SurferJoe46, Apr 29, 2010.

  1. A zillion years ago I had a X-brand guitar - no, really - it had NO name on it.

    But what it DID have was a small rail, if I can call it that - that you used to pull the strings and held on to it with your fingertips.

    I think there was a model of Fender that had this rail on the pickguard near the G-string or some were on the E-string side too, maybe.

    I just wonder if anyone knows the name of that 'rail' and if they have a picture of one on a P-bass that I might copy. Maybe I'd like one on my rejuvenated P-Bass.

    Someday I'd also like to find a WHITE/RED/WHITE pickguard for the P too: haven't found on yet through Google.

    Nostalgia is, as nostalgia does.
  2. Below the G-string, it was called a tugbar .... above the E-string, a thumbrest.

    The tugbar moved (on Fenders) from under the G-string to over the E-string in '74, some say late '73.
    My '75 P below.

  3. JimB52

    JimB52 User Supporting Member

    May 24, 2007
    East Coast
    Like this? Fender sells 'em. Five bucks at GC.

  4. Hmm - Thumb rest, huh? I like the looks - really retro!

    I think I'll not buy one and make one from a very close match to the fretboard wood that I have here ::: Cocobola.

    That way I can make it any shape or size I want.
  5. Lo-E


    Dec 19, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    Some people use really long ones that run the length of the playing area to give themselves lots of positioning options. I'm guessing those are home made.

    If I'm remembering correctly, Mark Egan used to have an arrangement like to that.
  6. AgIdoc


    Nov 17, 2008
    Huntsville, TX
    i LOVE the feel of a thumbrest, but hate the look of it. i think they're ugly. i "rest" my thumb on the top of the neck pickup. i probably should just suck it up & get a thumbrest cuz i really do like the way it feels.

    i don't understand how anyone could even use a tugbar. it just doesnt add up in my mind. maybe cuz i rarely slap? dunno. same with p/u covers. that'd get in my way big time. maybe i'm just weird
  7. Lo-E


    Dec 19, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    Back in "the day" (you know: that day), it was assumed players would use the side of their thumb to play bass. I don't know who made that assumption, and it probably wasn't a bass player, but you'll still see the occasional player who plays that way. I'm not talking about "thumb style" slapping, here. I'm talking about just playing with your thumb. I'll play that way once in a while for that particular sound, but the tugbar is hardly necessary. I think Fender called it a finger rest.

    FWIW, I just put p'up covers on my '51 P reissue - just 'cause I thought they'd look cool (which they do) - and they get in my way a lot less than I thought they would. It was a pleasant surprise!
  8. Tim C from RATM/Audioslave has one that runs from the neck to the bridge pup that I want to recreate on my bass. I pluck close to the bridge, but not as close as I would if resting my thumb on the bridge pup, so this looks like it'd be mighty comfortable


    I debated putting one on for a while in the "classic" position, but it would be useless to me as I rarely ever play that close to the neck. I thought putting it closer to the bridge would look silly but it doesn't look bad on Tims basses
  9. Open Google - search for "p bass tugbar" and you'll have a few hours of happy reading.
  10. Yeah - since I played Old School-Surf in the 1960s, it was the way I learned to play --- with my thumb. All thump and no twang. It was the right way (I feel) to get that Motown sound I desire by just using my thumb for the picking.

    I find that using my thumb, depresses the strings more and they oscillate at about a 45º angle to the pickups and the pups are usually designed to pick up the string moving across them at a more parallel angles - the more parallel, the better for cutting the magnetic fields and inducing a strong, brassy signal.

    eg: If the string moves up and down at right angle to the magnets (90º), then the sound is shallower and less 'dynamic' although that may not be the right term. Somehow, the Motown sound is a combination of that 45º string plane interacting with the pups, I believe. Some attenuation is what I believe the patented Motown sound is while also keeping the sustain going.

    Just my thoughts on the subject.

    Thumbing's a hard habit to break really, and I want to learn to use the finger tips more and I feel the thumb rest is a good idea to help persuade me to go that way. If I had a solid place to anchor my thumb and take it out of the picking-loop, then that's what I want to accomplish.

    The hardest part in playing with my fingers is that I find I cannot muff the strings when my hand's hooked over the strings and the finger tips are all that makes contact.

    It's prolly just my lack of technique, and that's something I need to work on - ergo, the thumb rest which will really be a training aid for me.
  11. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    while i don't mind the look of the orignal fender ones on the treble side, they are just in the way for me. and the ones on the bass side are not where i want one. rather than disturbing the look of the bass, i make my own out of clear plexiglass and either use an available screw hole, or use heavy duty clear 3M (gel type) double stick tape onto the pickguard so i'm not drilling any additional holes on my basses, and using the clear plexi makes them almost invisible. making my own also allows me to make them the size, shape, heighth smoothness and location that is the most comfortable for me.

    here's a couple of examples:



  12. I was looking for a way to get one of these attached without having to drill. Does the double stick tape hold it securely?
  13. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    yep, they haven't budged a bit, even after sweating on them. you just have clean the thumbrest and the pickguard with some isopropyl alcohol and use good double stick (3M) before you attach them.
  14. Essthreetee


    Aug 19, 2007
    Visalia, CA
    Double stick tape is the only way I put them on now. I used to try to minimize the holes that were screwed...but always had to add at least one new hole to the bass. With the DS tape, no holes, no movement, thumbrest wherever I want it.

    It is usually one of the first things I do. I have been making them out of the plastic cutting boards you can buy at Lowes for like 4 bucks. It cuts to any shape fairly easily, sands nice and smooth, is flat so that it attaches to the guitar nicely, and can be had in several different colors if you need.

    Here are some images of the ones I have used/made in the past...these didn't use the DS Tape...
    This one was a Fender Thumbrest
    This one was custom shaped out of the cutting board to use existing screw holes...
    This one was made out of wood and stained to match the guitar...
  15. FunkyWilly


    May 10, 2006
    Chicago, IL
    I have an ATK too. I love the clear thumbrest idea. Can I pay you to make one like that for me?
  16. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    back in "the day", the first thing "hip" players would do is remove the thumbrest and the pickup covers. I've always found they get in the way - that the pickup makes a perfectly fine thumb rest.

    That pic of the MM with the mod on the p'up.... I've always really liked how a MM pickup felt with my thumb - seemed like between the screws was the *perfect* place to put it...
  17. Essthreetee


    Aug 19, 2007
    Visalia, CA
    I don't know if that message was to me or not...if so, that one was actually black...and I no longer have an ATK...but I can tell you how I did it. It was very easy. Send me a PM if you would like.
  18. out of curiosity, have you attached any like this with ds tape? that's pretty much exactly where i'd put mine.. would i have an issue with tape since the pickguard being higher than the bass
  19. Essthreetee


    Aug 19, 2007
    Visalia, CA

    I had the same issue with the screws, so I marked where I wanted it to be and then sanded down the portion that would be on the PG (notched it out to fit on the PG). It worked great and laid flat. And, yes it would have worked with the DS Tape...had I known about it then.
  20. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    whenever mine's location 'straddles' the body and pickguard, i notch mine too.

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