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where do u rest ur thumb?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by chips, May 23, 2004.

  1. Hello badgers,
    just curious as to where u rest ur thumb and ur fingering thumb while ur playing?... front or back pick up?... finger rest?...
  2. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile

    anyway, I float my thumb. The top of the neck pickup is a general starting/default location... but I also move between the 15th or so fret to just north of the bridge depending on tone I need
  3. Gard


    Mar 31, 2000
    WInter Garden, FL
    Well, this is a two sided question, and also one that I believe will end up in the Technique Forum in the near future.

    Here's my answer:

    As far as where I rest my thumb along the string, it depends on the tone I'm going for. For brighter more agressive sound, closer to the bridge; for warmer rounder tones up over the fingerboard; and for anything in between...well, anything in between. ;)

    Typically, my "basic" tone/thumb placement area us near the front edge of the back pickup of my Lakland, or the front pickup of my Zon Sonus Special (they both work out to being the same place).

    Just as important, to me, is where my thumb rests as I move across the strings. I move my thumb in a particular way, unless the line absolutely precludes me from doing so. I even call it the *Rule Of Thumb* for my students. Here's how it breaks down:

    Playing on the B and E strings: Thumb is on pickup
    Playing on the A string: Thumb is on B string
    Playing on the D string: Thumb is on E string
    Playing on the G string: Thumb is on A string
    Playing on the C string: Thumb is on D string (for when I break out one of my sixers ;) )

    The logic is that this way, the thumb is muting the strings that are lower than you're playing, and once you get past the lowest string (E or B), you are using EXACTLY the same hand-shape for each string, so you are using the exact same motion for EVERYTHING. If you anchor your thumb in one place, i.e. the pickup, and never move it, you will have no control over the open strings (say you are playing something on the D string, the B [if you have one] and E strings are uncontrolled), and also you have to learn a new set of motions for each string, which is highly inefficient.

    This seems to work very well for my students as well, once they get comfortable with it.
  4. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    In one of three places: front of neck pickup, front of bridge pickup, or at the end of the neck, right about the 24th fret.
  5. I am generally at the neck pickup unless I need a different sound.
  6. FaBu-


    Jan 16, 2004
    I always thought that I always kep my thumb on either of my Jazz pickups, but a few days ago I notised that I was holding my thumb on the A string! (I was playing Donna Lee) So when I'm playing fast and hard songs, my thumb is floting, but otherwise it's on a pickup...
  7. With the P-bass pickups being lower near the ends, its a small place for my thumb, so I let it float around. But, I usually anchor it on the E, or on the neck if I play close enough.
  8. Gia


    Feb 28, 2001
    heh, on my thumbrest :p
  9. fastplant


    Sep 26, 2002

    Same for me, I usually rest on the neck pickup.
  10. neck pickup when i need that fatter sound, but im usually over the bridge pup...but i also rest my ring and pinky fingers on the A and E strings when playing on th G,D or A strings, i move the ring up to E first when on A string or higher then move One string up and bring pinky to E, but when im tapping and not using my right thumb its on the top edge of the fingerboard
  11. Like other people have said, it depends on what kind of wound I'm going for and how my pickups are balanced. If both pickups are on full, then I'll generally be in between the two pickups, with my thumb resting on the neck pickup. If I'm favoring my bridge pickup, then I'll often play closer to the bridge, with my thumb anchored on the bridge pickup. Also, usually my thumb is only on the pickup when I play on the E string. When I play the A, D, and G strings, my thumb is usually anchored on the E string.
  12. Rest? That's not fair to the other fingers! I keep my thumb busy.;)
  13. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Down here...they float... :smug:
  14. ondray


    Jun 3, 2004
    I play a precision bass so I rest my thumb (fully straighten) on the right side of the pickup. (the side nearer to the bridge)

    I got it from my teacher. That's how he does it.

    Before that, I was putting my thumb on the left side of the pickup.

    Placing the thumb on the right side of the pickup has a couple of advantages for me.

    1. When it is properly straighten and rest on the pickup, I can reach the higher strings more easily.

    2. I find it easier when switching to slapping and back.

    Some might use the floating thumb method for muting purposes but I use my plucking hand's ring and pinky for E and A string muting and fretting hand for D and G muting.

    I do that because one day, I might need to mute that G string in rapid succession.

    I have been wanting to screw in a thumbrest near the end of the neck like those old precision basses to get a warmer sound but haven't got the time to do it.

    Hope that this is a great help to you.


  15. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    I am a floater. Like Speddling, I could be anywhere from the 15th fret to 1/8" from the bridge, depending on the tone I need. And I use my thumb for muting the lower strings when they are not being played. So, if I am playing on the G string, my thumb is up against the D string, laying across the B, E and A strings.
  16. adam on bass

    adam on bass Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2002
    New Braunfels, Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Spector, GK, EMG and D'Addario
    bridge pickup for groovin', neck for rockin'
  17. bill_banwell

    bill_banwell Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2002
    when playing live i use the fretboard pickups... the Two splitted ones.. and when im playing in my room, i wud use the jazz, just cos i play a lot of harmonics, and i turn it up quite loud.. and i like punchy sound in it..
  18. I used to play on the pickup closest to the fretboard, but now I rest my thumb on the bottom part of the fretboard itself, It was kind of a different sound to things. Oh, and also, sometimes I find my thumb resting on the G string ;-)
  19. shredhead


    Apr 25, 2004
    i rest my thumb on the pickups or sometimes the top string, whatever feels comfortable is cool with me