Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by nick_uk, May 14, 2005.

  1. nick_uk


    May 5, 2005
    ok i know this is probably the oldest and most widely known bass question in the whole wide world......but... can someone tell this ageing, ignorant englishman why leo put the thumbrest below the strings? :meh:
  2. Hounddog


    Dec 2, 2004
    Southern, Illinois
    Sadowsky Featured Artist

    I have always wondered this myself. I am glad you asked. Now if we could get one of the Fender experts to answer.
  3. waxcomb


    Jun 29, 2003
    Martinez, CA
    Ever seen Sting play with his thumb?
  4. nick_uk


    May 5, 2005
  5. FireAarro


    Aug 8, 2004
  6. Turock

    Turock Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2000
    Leo didn't put a thumb-rest below the strings, he put a finger-rest down there.
  7. :cool: Just as a side note, it wasn't always a "finger rest" either. Even in the beginning, a number of bassists used it as a "tug bar". You placed your fingers under it, pulling up with light pressure as you used your thumb on the strings. I know, I was one of those that did that.
  8. rockdoc11


    Sep 2, 2000
    Check out old Beach Boys videos. You'll see Brian Wilson playing bass using his thumb, with several fingers under the tug bar.
  9. DanGouge


    May 25, 2000
    On a whim about a month ago I tried playing thumbstyle with my fingers on the rest. I was pleasantly surprised that it can be a very useful tone in the right context.
  10. PolkaHero


    Jan 5, 2002
    Okay, so why did Fender move it to the other side in 1974?
  11. remo


    Jan 15, 2005

    Great big whips? :D :D
  12. rockdoc11


    Sep 2, 2000
    Playing styles had changed by the 1970s, with fewer players using thumbs with the other fingers anchored below the strings.

    More players were using finger styles.
  13. Caca de Kick

    Caca de Kick Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    Just as the other guys said, you rest your fingers and pluck with the thumb.
    The first fenders were built to replace upright basses, and Leo wanted the P bass to sound exactly like an upright, just louder. He wasn't a musician and figured people would play it in that position (of course he was wrong). But if you ever get a chance to play a 50's or 51RI in Leo's original intended position with the finger rest, flatwounds and a mute installed, it will sound exactly like an upright.

    To answer the "why did they switch it in '74" question...isn't it obvious? They realized people needed to anchor their thumb somewhere while playing fingerstyle.
  14. I-Love-Ratm


    Feb 24, 2003
    The inventor of Marshall amps was a drummer

    :bag: :rollno:
  15. PolkaHero


    Jan 5, 2002
    Okay, fair enough. So then why did Fender eliminate the thumbrest altogether around 1980? Did it take them 6 years to figure out the pickup itself makes a decent thumbrest?! :meh:
  16. peabody

    peabody Supporting Member

    Oct 31, 2002
    La Crosse, WI
    Leo Fender and Freddie Fender are not related. Amazing, huh? :rollno: