Where do YOU place your thumb on your fretting hand?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by XIbanez4lifeX, Nov 19, 2005.

  1. XIbanez4lifeX


    Nov 15, 2005
    Wish I had some pics but I am sure you know what I am talking about.

    Is your thumb(fretting hand) :confused:

    1. resting on the top of the fret board(visible to some one sitting in front of you)

    2.pressed on the back of the neck (about midline) pointed upwards(not visible to someone sitting in front of you)

    when you play bass.

    I see alot of #1 but I am told #2 is the correct way to play.

    What advantage does #2 have over #1? :help:
  2. Option # 2, with the thumb in line with my (fretting) middle finger.
  3. I've found mine rests between the "skunk stripe" and the fretboard.

    I've seen a lot of people use both, whatever works...
  4. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    2, and tahts how it shouold be.
  5. Alternate between both, I really dont pay attention but I have caught myself doing both.
  6. cb56


    Jul 2, 2000
    Central Illinois
    Just like Carol Kaye taught me.
    In the middle of the back of the neck.
    shouldn't this be posted in the technique forum?
  7. d8g3jdh

    d8g3jdh Guest

    Aug 9, 2005
    yah, technique

    i try to use 2 as much as possible, i amy sneak up to 1 every so often but its bad

    its bad because it limits you mobility and power when fretting the notes, especially on the E string. if you got into more strings it would be even worse

    or thats my interpretation of it
  8. Kristopher


    Mar 13, 2005
    Tempe, AZ
    Thumb pointing up? If you mean up as in towards the headstock, then yes, but if you mean up pointing towards the sky, then no. At least for me, and I have major small hands and play on a baseball neck Precision.

    From what I've been told by a number of qualified and unqualified sources, #2 is the "correct" way, giving the player a lot more movement possibilities, and #1 is sloppy and only good for getting half the use you could have out of your fretting hand.
  9. Vox Populi

    Vox Populi Reggae Loving Honkey

    Jan 27, 2004
    Poulsbo, WA
    I was always told to keep my thumb relaxed and on the back of the neck.
  10. Ian Perge

    Ian Perge Supporting Member

    May 11, 2001
    Evansville, Indiana
    #2: Back of the neck, parallel to the length. I made a major focus on this a few years back as I was self-taught in technique and use to go "over the top", and it's made a large difference in my range, speed and accuracy, and comfort.
  11. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    #2...no way to effectively play double bass in position 1.
    Position 2 allows much fuller range of motion, broader reach, better abilty to effectively stop the notes. You'll also find it more ergonomic/comfortable after you adopt it. You need to adopt correspondingly proper arm/elbow postions to go with this...
  12. Templar

    Templar Supporting Member

    Door #2...always.
  13. #2 is the way you are meant to play, but i use #1, my hands are big enough even with 6 string bass for it not to be a problem at all, also like to use the thumb to mute the lowest string because i always have a habit of hitting it, poor technique all round, but it works for me and thats what matters
  14. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    The most technically correct way is towards the sky.
  15. adouglas


    Jun 23, 2003
    Bridgeport, CT
    2, with my thumb pointed not directly at the headstock, but usually at a bit of an angle.

    I don't necessarily keep it rigidly in the center of the back of the neck, either.

    Sometimes I'll have my thumb a little above or a little below the center, depending on what I'm playing. My point is that a "rule" that goes something like "ALWAYS keep your thumb in the center of the neck" can lead to problems of its own, especially if you have small hands (like me) and play a bass with 5 or more strings (like me). Consider it a strong guideline.

    I never put my thumb on the top.

    Something else that hasn't come up in this thread is how high you wear your bass. It is pertinent.

    If you're into slinging it down around your knees (many beginners wear their basses way too low IMHO because it looks and feels cool), you'll find out in about 3 nanoseconds that it's pretty much impossible to fret the lower (thicker) strings if you put your thumb on the back of the neck, because your wrist won't curl that far. Wear your bass higher and you'll get all sorts of benefits...faster, easier playing, more fluidity, etc. etc. etc. Try to find a position that lets you keep your wrist as straight as possible.

    If you look at pro bassists, you'll see the ones playing more complex stuff tend to wear their basses fairly high. Here are Tony Levin and Victor Wooten. Note also in these photos that the thumb is in back of the neck....

  16. Number 2 is the correct way to play, it might be a bit harder to keep it that way but its better, you get some advantages that way like the ability to strech your string further, and more strength in fretting the note.
  17. My thumb is either on the very corner of the neck (supposing its a bolton bass) or on the E string somewhere around the front pickup

    I like my strings close and loose
  18. Juniorkimbrough


    Mar 22, 2005
    Mississippi / Memphis, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland Basses
    I use both, just really depends where on the neck and what string I'm playing. On my six string I only do #2, but my 4 strings I do both. I personally find #2 to sometime put extra strain on my wrist. I'm 6'3" and have pretty large hands so when playing frets 1-5 on my 4 string basses it so much more comfortable to not put my thumb directly on the back of the neck.
  19. My thumb moves all over the place. it is many different position depending on my fretting. Just playing I noticed how much it actually stays off the neck aswell... only for a few microseconds but often