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What in the world is this "finger rest" used for?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Jacob M, May 17, 2005.

  1. Jacob M

    Jacob M

    Aug 28, 2004
    New York
    I've seen these kind of finger rests on random basses forever, and I have never really been able to figure out what they are used for.
    When I think of a finger rest, I think of something to rest my thumb on while I use my other fingers to play the strings, but with that kind of "finger rest", it seems that you'd have to rest your index or middle finger and play all the strings with just your thumb? But if that were the purpose, you'd have to bend your hand in such a weird way to actually rest any fingers on that and effectively play with your thumb.

    I'm so confused, will someone elaborate upon this insane devices purpose?
  2. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Back when a LOT of BG players were converted guitarists and they used to play bass with their thumbs, that's when the finger rests came in...IIRC. Of course, I could be BLATANTLY wrong. And probably am.
  3. John Ruiz

    John Ruiz

    Oct 9, 2000
    Plano, Tx
    That's about what I've heard, but I actually heard that Leo put them there because he wanted folks to play with their thumbs to get a more upright-ish tone. You could put your fingers on the rest, and hang your thumb above the strings.
  4. DubDubs


    Aug 23, 2004
    Los Angeles
    I think it should really be called a finger anchor not a finger rest or thumb rest. When you play with your thumb you put your fingers on that to help with leverage much as you rest your thumb on a pickup when you play fingerstyle. I too wondered what that thing was for the longest time and only recently found out.
  5. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    If you want to see an example of someone playing with their thumb like described above, take a look at some recent footage of Sting playing live. He plays with just his thumb LOTS, and does a pretty good job at it, too.

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