Thumb Technique Poll

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by BusyFingers, Nov 27, 2016.

  1. Anchor on thumbrest, never any issues with pain.

    43 vote(s)
  2. Anchor on thumbrest, causes pain, but this is how I play.

    2 vote(s)
  3. Left the anchor on thumbrest for floating thumb because of pain

    9 vote(s)
  4. Always used floating thumb technique

    92 vote(s)
  1. BusyFingers


    Nov 26, 2016
    I'm just curious how many people use a thumbrest and how many have stopped and began to use a floating thumb technique. I've committed myself to playing with my fingers and have been using a thumbrest, but I'm getting some pain in my wrist and hands.
  2. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    Does a pickup count as a thumb rest?
    Herrick, jnewmark, El-Bob and 3 others like this.
  3. I started out finger-style so naturally I use the floating thumb technique...
    Helix likes this.
  4. BusyFingers


    Nov 26, 2016
    Yes, if you anchor it there like a thumbrest. I'm really wondering about ergonomics, as any anchor will then create angles with the wrist as one plays.
  5. Engine207

    Engine207 Losing faith in call at a time.

    Jul 10, 2008
    Higley, AZ
    I never floated my thumb until a teacher got me to play open notes when it works. The float makes that sound a whole lot cleaner.
  6. Kmrumedy


    May 12, 2004
    Montreal, Canada
    Not if you angle your arm, move from your shoulder, use your fingers as a single unit, and keep your wrist straight. No pain, very comfortable, and safe. Here is video to help. Explanation begins around the 5:15 mark. Then somewhere in part 2,3, or 4 he discusses using your right hand fingers as a unit. Really good stuff and works well.

  7. BusyFingers


    Nov 26, 2016
    The poll is at a dead heat. I can't believe no one has quit anchoring on a thumbrest because of discomfort.
  8. BusyFingers


    Nov 26, 2016
    Yes, I agree with his notion that players should not bend at the wrist. I found another bassist with a good video on how he overcame carpal tunnel by adjusting his technique.

  9. Lejdestad


    Aug 13, 2015
    I move my thumb (anchor) as I play, I tend to keep it on the string above the one I'm playing :)
    osonu and AL_BASS like this.
  10. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    I use thumb rests, but mine are shorter and located closer to the E string than most thumb rests - mine are more like an extension of the fretboard. I anchor on the top of the thumbrest or the fretboard damping the E string when I'm not playing the E string, and on the side of it when I am playing the E string. Kind of a very slightly floating thumb technique. At least for a 4 string, it works well for me.
  11. basslayer


    Jan 3, 2008
    Beaverton, OR
    I used to anchor on the neck or a pickup before switching to floating for speed, not really pain.
  12. Geri O

    Geri O Endorsing Artist, Mike Lull Guitars and Basses Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 6, 2013
    Florence, MS
    When I started playing again, I used thumbrests, but quickly developed cramping in my right-hand wrist. I searched YouTube and found several videos such as the one posted earlier. Since then, I've learned a combination of movable-anchor (from an Adam Nitti video) and floating thumb techniques. Pretty much pain-free now. It took some time to be comfortable with the new techniques, but well worth the effort.
  13. BusyFingers


    Nov 26, 2016
    Yes, I've begun the process of forcing myself to float my thumb. I took off the thumbrest, and I'm being very aware of how straight my hand is with my forearm.

    There's no more pain, but my forearm is getting pumped. It may look like Popeye before I'm acclimated.
  14. Geri O

    Geri O Endorsing Artist, Mike Lull Guitars and Basses Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 6, 2013
    Florence, MS
    Doncha hate those screw holes left from the removal of the thumb rest?...:D
  15. Clef_de_fa

    Clef_de_fa Guest

    Dec 25, 2011
    In my case going from 4 to 5 did it naturally. I quickly found out that the B strings resonated. So it took some adjustment but now it is a mix between floating nad movable anchor, for some stuff I need to rest my thumb on the string above the one I'm using but I would say 85% of the time it is floating and actually contributing to playing now.
  16. I moved from anchored to floating thumb technique but not because of pain (for better speed and to avoid unwanted harmonics). I'll still anchor my thumb if I'm spending a lot of time on the E string for a particular riff, otherwise I lay it across the strings below the one I'm playing on to mute them. It became natural pretty quick.
    Lee Moses and MVE like this.
  17. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Inactive Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    Other: I rest it on the pickup, the bottom string or even the side of the neck, depending where I am playing. I never use a "thumb rest", per se.
    Bob_Ross and Nev375 like this.
  18. MVE


    Aug 8, 2010
    I have always used the pickup as a thumb rest. But only recently, last two years or so, have been working on floating my thumb. Not because of pain, but because playing solo fretless I needed it to silence the open strings to clean up the sound.
    I still anchor the thumb most of the time, but can use that thumb when it's needed.
    Lee Moses likes this.
  19. jwr

    jwr Supporting Member

    Jun 28, 2010
    Overland Park, KS
    That's how I do it as well.
  20. Nev375


    Nov 2, 2010
    I move my hand around a lot and use several techniques. Sometimes I anchor, sometimes I use the thumb or thumbnail or thumbpick to pluck notes. Never any pain from any of it.

    You really should have included a carrots option.
    Arion likes this.
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    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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