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THUMBS

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by ninthwondernj, Sep 3, 2004.


  1. [​IMG]

    I know this picture is really blurry....if u can see, do you see how his thumb is placed? is this wrong? from my one bass lesson so far, my instructor didnt recommend placing my thumb like it is in this picture. could i get some opinions on what u think? do any of you guys place your thumbs like this when playing?
     
  2. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Sure - Louis Johnson plays like that, doesn't he?

    I think a lot of thumpin'-slappin'-poppin' 4-string players do that. I believe they mute AND sometimes PLAY the E-string with their thumb. With a five-string, I think the neck width makes that technique less usefull.

    Like I've said in another TB post recently: The pictured bassist very probably snaps that hand open into a big'ol taranula, and moves his thumb to right where your instructor reccomends whenever he needs to do a conventional melody or run.

    Joe
     
  3. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Definately not the best use of hands. Could lead to problems later on.
     
  4. Schwinn

    Schwinn

    Dec 4, 2002
    Sarasota, FL
    it's bad technique. Your thumb should be pressed on the back of the neck, not over it, but what do I know...most people have what I'd consider bad technique.
     
  5. Schwinn

    Schwinn

    Dec 4, 2002
    Sarasota, FL
    I think you are right. That's the only way I can imagine him playing any kind of run.

    BTW, thanks for visiting my bands website earlier Joe P!!!
     
  6. Figjam

    Figjam

    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I think if you raise your strap it would be easier to play with your thumb correctly behind the neck. It allows for easier finger movement and fret access.
     
  7. so what your saying is that during a heavy run its best to play like you stated above with fingers spaced out for speed?

    another question is, can you play like the above picture at any point during a song?
     
  8. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Not exactly - I guess I'm being picky about the 'heavy' and 'speed' part. I'd think that you'd especially want the classic and more 'proper' technique for smooooth, tasteful runs!

    You should definately make it a habit to play one finger per fret. the bass is made for that - you know about scales and positions, right?
    Sure you can! One time when I play (maybe something) like that is when I need to REST my arm! If you've been playing for three hours, and there's a part in a song that's one or two repeated notes, then just a dozen bars of lazy position like that (especially along with being able to play an open string for a measure while you shake your hand down at your side) can be a real godsend. (Admit it, you 'only perfect form allowed' bassists. Admit it!!)

    If you learn from the Johnson video that I saw, he might have you playing that way all the time - of course then you may be one of those irritating people that plays incessant slap all the time.

    The most important thing I can say is that you pretty-much can't play buttery-smooth, tasty run - slow or fast - with your hand like that.

    Joe
     
  9. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Heeeey! I just noticed something...

    We're sort of repeating ourselves, here - this 'other TB post' that I mentioned is in YOUR 'two questions' thread from just the other day!

    Are you trying to justify not practicing the excercises your teacher assigns you???? Ha!

    Nope - face it, man: You should listen to your teacher, and faithfully perform those boring, painful excersises. You'll be glad you did.

    I'm tellin' ya, Man.

    Joe
     
  10. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    If I knew who your teacher is, I'd send him these threads, and have him wrinkle his brow and wag a calloused finger at you at your next lesson!
     
  11. HAHAHAHAHA...NA I KINDA KEEP POSTING SIMILAR TOPICS CUZ, IN THE OTHER FORUMS, IT WAS EITHER I NEVER REALLY GOT MY QUESTION ANSWERED OR THE TOPIC GOT ALL SCREWED UP AND ENDED UP SOMEWHERE ELSE. I WAS JUST MAKING SURE MY INSTRUCTIOR WASNT TRYNA KILL MY HANDS NEEDLESSLY IF THERE WAS NO NEED. BUT NOW THAT I KNOW THAT THERE IS A NEED, I'LL CONTINUE LOL :bassist:
     
  12. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    There ya go.

    I'm glad to have been some help.

    Joe
     
  13. well how about this one......if im playing with one finger per fret with my fingers spaced out? how am i supposed to mute with my fretting hand, if they are all spaced out
     
  14. Ozzyman

    Ozzyman

    Jul 21, 2004
    Watch Victor Wooten slap. He usually uses his middle finger to hold the "E" string and his other three for popping. He'll move the middle finger down when needed.
    And you don't NEED to have one finger per fret, but it's a much cleaner and smoother technique. Don't kill yourself for not have one finger per fret. (in some tunings it's impossible)
     
  15. Don't sweat the thumb position too much either. The real issue is the curve in the fingers. The more you have to curve your fingers, the less you can spread them. Your hand position affects how much you have to curve your fingers to make the tips meet the fretboard. Thumb position controls your hand position: thumb over the neck creates a hand position that requires more finger curve, which in turn limits your reach. Thumb behind the neck creates a hand position that allows straighter fingers and greater reach. Keep your thumb mobile so that it doesn't stick you with a hand angle that doesn't suit the playing situation.

    I don't think of my thumb as having a position. I don't anchor it to the back of the neck, and I don't even require it to touch the neck.

    Be aware that your hand position also affects your wrist angle. Too much angle, and you'll hurt your wrist from the strain. As long as your hand position doesn't prevent you from making stretches, and doesn't strain your wrist, it's okay. If you're straining your wrist with a thumb behind the neck position you need to rework your whole bass position so you can get at the neck with a straight wrist.

    I'm starting to ramble (tired.... ), so I'll just stop typing and go to bed.
     
  16. cowsgomoo

    cowsgomoo gone to Longstanton Spice Museum

    Feb 8, 2003
    UK
    I momentarily have my thumb like that from time to time, probably because my bass is fairly low down... if a position is temporarily more comfortable than the textbook correct one, I'd say go for it... at a longish gig, conservation of movement & comfort are factors worth considering...

    your instructor is right to mention it
     
  17. Only while left hand slapping or playing a bassline involving one. Can be useful for a few lines every now and then, but overall its not something you want to use regularly.

    Leigh