Thumb Pivot (positions)

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Shellac, Feb 18, 2003.

  1. Shellac


    Feb 10, 2003
    What hand position do you use when you're playing your bass (fretting and walking hand)? Do you grip or pivot your thumb (behind the neck) or such? Do you play over the neck pickup, etc? Are your wrists at rest and the elbow at angle, get what I mean......(hopefully). =)

    I just need a reference to make sure I've not developed any bad habits that will cause fatigue and discomfort later on.

    If you can illustrate your methods, the correct method, or point me to a good viewing'd be greatly appreciated. =)

  2. Get a teacher, he or she will help you find those things in your technique that hinder your playing.
  3. Shellac


    Feb 10, 2003
    Hopefully I'll get a teacher soon, right now though all of my money is being saved to go toward paying my way through art college (I start soon) and the extras on gear (bass, strings, etc). So no such luck right now. No complaints though. =)
  4. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well the problem is that this sort of thing is very easy to correct or advise about, when the person is in front of you with their bass - but almost impossible via the net!!

    So - just one short lesson with a decent bass teacher, could clear this up for you, but you may spend hour and hours and pages of discussion here, which won't help at all as we can't see what you're doing wrong! :(
  5. Shellac


    Feb 10, 2003
    Thanks for the advice, I'll just have to work harder so that I can get an instructor, finding a decent one is half the battle. =)

    This is how I learned to play, almost at least. The thing is, I learned by watching, never had anyone sit down and tell me if it was right or wrong. But, I do look forward to finding a teacher. Maybe I can even find a good Jazz one, I'm skeptical about learning from a rock bassist (no pun), even if that's what I'd like to play in the end.

    I found that site by accident, which sparked the question at hand.
  6. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    The above is spot on... but the following general guidelines should help

    A) ALWAYS keep the wrist of your fretting hand straight and NEVER grip the neck tightly.
    (Imagine the tendons s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d accross your wrist joint when the wrist is bent - like string accross the corner of a brick, eeooou! :eek: )

    B) Don't press your palm flat against the bass neck.
    You should have a loose claw like grip on the neck with your fingers relatively evenly spaced.
    As a guide of how much pressure to use, you should be able to play without actually pressing your thumb on the back of the neck at all.

    C) Use all four fingers on the fretting hand and keep them vertical where possible.

    D) Keep your thumb level with your first or second fingers in every fetting position.

    E) Don't use too much pressure on the plucking hand.
    You can bend the wrist of the plucking hand on the basis that you shouldnt be plucking too hard.


    This is the general rules I follow and I have no problems whatsoever since I rasied the height of my bass.
    Check yourself agaisnt the above AND definitley get a teacher!!!