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Thumb on pickup? Why?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Quzumm, Sep 25, 2000.

  1. Quzumm


    Sep 25, 2000
    Trondheim, Norway
    I just the thread about right hand thumb positions. Everybody is talking about keeping the thumb on top of the pickup when playing the deepest string. Is there any reason for that, or is it just a matter of taste?

    When I play the deepest string, I let the thumb "rest" at the body instead.
  2. It's just a matter of taste.. whatever works for you is correct.
    I plant my thumb on the pickup to play the E, but other than that, it floats.
  3. Nate Dawg

    Nate Dawg

    Apr 8, 2000
    I think my thumb placement is a little weird, but it works great for me. The only time it floats is when I'm playing the E string. If I play anywhere on the A string, my thumb rests on the E string to mute it when I'm playing hard. The same goes for the D: I mute the E and A when I'm playing the D, and I mute the E, A, and D when I'm on the G.

    My action is really high (not by my personal choice - I prefer a low action but my neck doesn't want to comply), so I don't have a problem with any buzzing or anything while my thumb is on the E, A, or D.
  4. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Early Fender bass guitars actually had a thumb rest device attached to them above the E string near the neck. I'm not sure why such thumb rests were present, but evidently bassists who switched from upright to electric bass found them useful. As electric basses evolved, many basses (maybe MOST, in fact) no longer had the device. My guess is that it could really get in the way of slapping technique.

    Jason Oldsted
  5. MJB


    Mar 17, 2000
    I like to have an "anchor" for my thumb, either on top of the pup or on top of a string. I also find it helps with muscle memory for how far to reach with my fingers to the desired string. Use whatever works best for you. :)
  6. Brook


    Sep 24, 2000
    I don't know why but I rest my thumb on the end of the neck.
    I think I do this because I like to go from fingerstyle to tapping to slapping.
  7. thayer182


    Oct 1, 2000
    I agree w/ nate dawg. I use the same technique as him. it works really well for me, although all the other bassists I've seen never do the same thing. that's one advantage I think there would be to a 5-string bass. if nothing else I could use the low B string as a rest, while I play on the other 4 strings. a lot of the time I just rest my finger on the low E string while I play the other strings, especially while I'm playing chords.

  8. 150! lol

    no on a better topic. When i play the other strings to my 5 string bass, I rest my thumb on the B. its more comfortable. The when playing B i rest on the pick up. Simply for the fact that i don't want to stretch. Its so much more comfy than resting on the body and has a ridge where the thumb sits in rather than sliding on the body.
    all a matter of preference :D


  9. Hmm, I thought that the rests were below the G string, and their purpose was to provide the player something to grab onto with his fingers so that he could pluck with his thumb or a plectrum.

    In any case, I play near the bridge anyway, and I put my thumb on the bridge pickup itself (not the side) when I'm playing the low B.
  10. [​IMG] <p>Early fenders actually had the thumbrest below the G string so bassists could rest their fingers on it while they plucked the bass with their thumb. <p>Later as bass technique evolved the lower "finger rest" became unneccesary as most bassists began plucking with their index and middle finger. Some players found resting their thumb on the pickups uncomfortable because of the sharp edges and installed the finger rest on a position where they could use it while they play with their fingers.
  11. Dragonlord

    Dragonlord Rocks Around The Glocks

    Aug 30, 2000
    Greece, Europe
    i rest my thumb on top of the pickup when i play all strings.just thought i'd mention.
  12. wolfmn26


    Sep 11, 2000
    Where you rest your thumb is completely up to you and what you are comfortable with. No matter what string I'm playing I keep my thumb anchored on the pickup. Thats what I am comfortable with.
  13. camtheman3x6


    Nov 4, 2011
    Taste, I just play with my thumb on the pickup whatever string i'm playing. unless i am slapping ofcourse
  15. slaphappychappy


    May 25, 2011
    i put it there cost there is nowhere else to put my thumb.
  16. jabsys


    Mar 30, 2011
    I like my thumb anchored either on the pickup or E string, I've tried playing floating thumb but the notes always sounded weak compared to anchoring my thumb.
  17. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    Yes, the early P's had the tugbar on the G side....


    Some I often brace on the pickup (or the pickup cover), while sometimes I use the base of the neck for a less percussive sound.

    Others pontificate that the thumb should never be braced (harrumph, harrumph) and should instead be used "floating" style.

    Me, I brace it in an appropriate location and I'm a happy camper.
  18. john grey

    john grey

    Apr 19, 2011
    Oracle, Arizona
    "Repeat-ability" of plucking pressure can be vital in some situations. An anchor is a useful aid to maintaining hand position so that control can be achieved with consistency.
    16th notes, less need for muting, alternative plucking techniques are only some of the demands for consistency. Most all rhythm based instruments place emphasis on this issue.
  19. AmadeusXeno


    Mar 8, 2011
    Holy dead thread! Did anyone else realize this thread went 11 years before getting new posts today?
  20. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    Hee, hee, look at that. I hadn't noticed, myownself.

    It's all like a boat---sometimes they float around, sometimes they're anchored. That's the way I am anyways. You can do it however ya like.

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