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Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Jiro, Oct 12, 2005.
Is this bad technique?
Typically, it's not a GOOD technique, but like any technique it does have its place. There are some chord/melody lines I can't do without thumbing the bass note, ultimately, as long as it doesn't HURT you, you're fine.
A lot of people think I'm anal because I absolutley hate seeing a bass player with his/her thumb up over the neck. By putting your thumb up over the neck you are decreasing your hand spread, dexterity, and your speed. Try playing a scale in the same position with your thumb over the neck and your thumb on the back of the neck. Which one gave your greater control and allowed you to play clearner and faster?
As WR said, there are times that I think that it's excusable. For example, I'll often mute strings with my thumb if I'm playing with a pick. (I mute with my right hand, so it's no longer free if I decide to use a pick)
I know someone will come along and say what matters is that you're getting your music across, and I agree: That is the most important thing. What I'm saying is that you should do it in the easiest and most efficient way possible.
I kind of knew it was bad technique and i tend to force myself to bend my wrist down and thumb in the middle of the neck, but it seems unnatural to me especially in that position cause it doesnt hurt. Maybe I just have the bass too low.
That's usually the culprit.
Thumb over neck is bad technique in that it does decrease speed and dexterity. I never do it when I need to play trickier passages. However I sometimes do it when I'm laying back and groovin', because it feels good.
I wasn't going to admit this until I read the recent BP interview with Darryl Jones, in which he said he used the "monkey grip" a lot during Rolling Stones songs because it felt right, and the bass lines aren't a technical challenge for him (or many other bassists for that matter).
You know this thread is kind of interesting. Technique is so varied that it is almost like 'What Bass should I buy?'. Chris Squire from YES has made a career of the Thumb over the fretboard for the E-String. He has some of the most wicked basslines ever. No it is not a typical technique, but neither is playing with your thumb for all 4 strings like they played back in the 50's and 60's. They made that work to.
If you watch the Louis Johnson instructional video you will see he uses the thumb over technique as part of his slappin' style. Doesn't slow him down at all. It's kind of eerie looking 'cause his thumb is so flexible it looks like another finger snakin' over the fingerboard.
I usually have my thumb in the middle of the neck but will occasionally let it flop over if I'm holding notes or pedaling just to give my wrist a little break. Good for muting the lower strings as well.
I'm pretty sure I've seen Geddy do it... So.....
I know I use my thumb all the time for muting, but I'm not Geddy
that's not low
It's not too high either. Raising it wouldn't hurt.
Usually my thumb is about dead center, but when I get up around the 10th fret I rest the neck on that crook between my index and thumb, but I don't wrap my thumb. It just sticks out past the E.
Sometimes, I'll hit a note on the E string with the thumb if it's up past the 10th fret.
...So I can hit the notes on the G string without too much movement.