Thumb (Not the bass) Postion.

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by PollyBass, Oct 26, 2001.

  1. Strait.

    6 vote(s)
  2. Curved.

    7 vote(s)
  1. PollyBass

    PollyBass ******

    Jun 25, 2001
    Shreveport, LA
    Where do you keep your Thumb? Ive always read in books that you should have your thumb strait on the back of the neck, but mine raps around and peaks out by the e string. Ill move my thumb to the back if im making a 4-fret strech or somthing. But keeping the thumb in that postion would give me problems. i heard keeping your thumb like im doing will kill your joints. but ive seen MANY bassists that do this with there thumb, most of them have the strap down low, like me, but even when im sitting down i do this. so, who here keeps it strait, and who doesnt? i say, do whatever is comfortble.
  2. Wrapping the thumb around the top of the neck severely limits your reach. It keeps the wrist straighter, allowing you to keep your strap lower, but it can cause excessive stretching in your finger tissues.

    Thumb on the back of the neck, fingers arched, bass at a reasonable height is the way to go for maximum comfort and playing accuracy. It's also not "rock and roll" looking, but whatever.
  3. Bass Guitar

    Bass Guitar Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2001
    Read this about right-hand technique and thumb position and see if it helps. I place my thumb in the middle of the back of the neck like he says, and it works for me. Mind you, I have a wiiiiide neck to contend with.
  4. lo-end


    Jun 15, 2001
    I have a bass with a J bass neck so I always hold my bass with my hand like a fist so the thumb is curved around the neck. I wear my bass very low so it is next to impossible to bend my wrist at a 90 degree angle to get my thumb on the back of the fingerboard. I dont care much for proper fretting hand technique because I can play well enough this way, and it is ergonomic because my wrist never hurts.

    And if I ever *do* need to have my thumb on the back of the fingerboard, Ill just shift up the neck so its pointed in the air at about a 45 degree angle and its easier to get my wrist in that position.
  5. Take that palm off the neck! Believe me, that's why your thumb's misbehaving.
  6. PollyBass

    PollyBass ******

    Jun 25, 2001
    Shreveport, LA
    Hmm, i was looking though the bassplaer issue that had the G3 bassists interview. see the picture of stu-hamm? with his bass that he,,,,what he calls low? see his fretting hand? that thumb is peeking up over that board if im not mistaken. and he is ...well,,,,there is no doubt hes a good bass player. so could it be all in the way you learn? will it hinder you that much? i dont know if his hand is like that all the time,,,i was just pointing out a picture...........i do keep my palm off the neck, but sometimes you HAVE let that thumb sneak out.....
  7. Stu's basses have a very thin asymmetric neck profile designed to be gripped like a baseball bat. He also has much bigger hands than anyone here, I'm sure.
  8. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Stu has pretty short fingers, and keeps his thumb behind the neck most of the time.
  9. You're right. I'm looking at the liner notes for Joe Satriani's Live In San Francisco and he does have short fingers, and keeps his thumb behind the neck.

    That puzzles me--why would he have that kind of neck profile if he uses textbook thumb position technique? The asymmetric-neck basses I've played (MTD Grendel/Beast/Kingston) have really seemed more conducive to a baseball bat grip.
  10. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    Wtih an asymmetric profile, you can wrap your palm and wrist around a little easier, so that people with short fingers can easily reach all of the strings without going flat-fingered.