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What is this technique called?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Fito Moreno, Feb 24, 2008.

  1. Fito Moreno

    Fito Moreno

    Dec 8, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    My (new) band mates are making fun of me because I play with my thumb on the E string. I saw the bass player from The Call do it so I tried and liked it, I play low.

    Attached Files:

  2. fenderhutz

    fenderhutz Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2007
    Harpers Ferry WV
    Stratavarius Octavian Technique Number 4.

    (I actually think the good ol' boys from the 50's and earlier have been doing this on guitar and bass for a while)
  3. Lesfunk

    Lesfunk Supporting Member

    Thumbus Maximus
  4. mutedeity


    Aug 27, 2007
    Personally, I call it bad technique. The position of your fingers as a result is less than ideal, judging by the pictures.
  5. Fito Moreno

    Fito Moreno

    Dec 8, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    Next time I'll take the pic while live/I'm playing, it ws just a reference pic.
  6. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    It's the Richie Havens thumbover reacharound. Sorry 'bout the big pic.

  7. El-Bob

    El-Bob Supporting Member

    Oct 22, 2006
    Hamilton, ON
    i know that every teacher and pro would agree with you, but I've met bassists who play like that who are much better than I'll ever be.
  8. Mark Wilson

    Mark Wilson Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    Toronto, Ontario
    Endorsing Artist: Elixir® Strings
    But, if you have good technique, you'll be playing much longer than they will.
  9. 20db pad

    20db pad

    Feb 11, 2003
    I been everywhere, man...
    None. At all.
    Jimi Hendrix and Louis Johnson fretted notes on the neck using their fretting hand thumb as well. It's probably not the most efficient or comfortable technique out there, but it worked for them.
  10. El-Bob

    El-Bob Supporting Member

    Oct 22, 2006
    Hamilton, ON
    well, one of the guys in question is easily in his 50's, and do i have "better technique". i'm only 17, and this guy's been playing (and gigging) for longer than I've been alive, and he's still going strong. i'm not saying that "bad technique" is good, or that I'd ever risk trying to play like that, i'm just saying that some people do it without any problems.
  11. mutedeity


    Aug 27, 2007
    There is no need. It's bad technique because having your thumb over the top like that creates tension in a part of the hand that restricts the movement of your other fingers. The photos are a perfect example. I have tiny hands and when I play over four frets I can have every finger sit on the edge of the fret as though I were intoning the note on a fretless.

    Granted some bass players play like this, even high profile ones. It is bad technique all the same.
  12. BackwaterBass


    Feb 18, 2008
    Van Halen used to play sometimes with his whole hand over the top of the fretboard, and it looked and sounded cool, but that doesn't mean its good technique. Thumb is better used as a pivot for your hand and a reference point for playing in position. But hey it looks from the pic like you have big hands so if its comfortable and you like to do it, more power to you. Just be careful if it starts to cramp your hands, that's a sure sign of problems in the future.
  13. Brian May uses the technique and it helps him fret chords that I struggle to get close to. It may be poor technique, but look at the results people like him and Steve Harris (appalling right hand technique) get from their instruments. Both of them have been gigging longer and harder than many of us on here.
  14. palm grease

    palm grease

    Dec 10, 2007
    totally agreed!

  15. Just get another finger. With five fingers, and a thumb, you can keep your thumb on the back of the neck, keep your palm away from the neck like it should be, and still reach all those crazy notes all at once.

    In all seriousness, the bass only has 4 strings, what's a thumb going to reach that one of your fingers can't? More importantly, how strong/graceful is the placement/fretting of the thumb going to be?
  16. Sahm


    Dec 18, 2007
    Delaware, OH
    +1 on it being bad technique.

    Examples of longtime pro's using bad technique is not any reason to start down that road! A lot of famous musicians could play better than anyone while being drunk or high, doesn't mean you should too!

    Besides, most of the examples are guitarists, which as we all know, is a smaller neck requiring less pressure to get the proper tone. It's wrong on a guitar too, but they can get away with it more. If some bassists have done it for 30+ years the wrong way, more power to them. I wouldn't risk getting cramps and other side-effects, just because you'd have to take time to learn the proper technique!
  17. I call that the:

    ChrisSquireAnnoysThe Heck OutOfSteveHowe Technique

    Apparently, that caused quite a few quibbles between the two members, as CS's thumb would put the E string out of tune. I read that CS would tune the E a little flat to compensate.

    Check your thumb notes with a tuner.

    Look he's just about to annoy Steve again:

  18. zazz


    Feb 27, 2004
    the big question is ...

    a/ am i doing it because i cant do it the proper way..

    b/ or am i doing it because im cool and laid back..

    now all your keefs and jimmys are in group b

    and a whole lot novices without a clue are in group a

    ...so which group are you in ??
  19. its called the fixed thumb technique lol

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