Where does that blasted left thumb go

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by bobqwer, Dec 16, 2002.

  1. bobqwer


    Oct 10, 2002
    Ok guys I need some advice, where should that left hand thumb be? I usually keep it at a diagonal angle, like halfway perpendicular from the strings, but everyones been telling me this is wrong, so where do I put the blasted thing? Perpendicular to the strings? or parrellel?
  2. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    in the long run...do what you want its your friggin thumb.

    "correct" thumb position is having it parallel to the other fingers, generally keeping it behind the Left Middle finger. This is How I play when I'm doing fingerstyle stuff(and some slap stuff) but generally when I slap I use my thumb to fret notes on the E string(sometimes at least) its not good technique, but whatever works. the way I see it, if you keep in mind what the correct way to do it is, then as long as you keep that up a little bit and can do it competantly(at least) then do whatever you want. I may get slammed for this, but its just how I personally see things.
  3. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    when i used to give lessons i used to tell my students to use the thumb as a guide as opposed to squeezing the neck between the thumb and forefingers. instead of squeezing with the hand, which can cause cramps, slow the fingers down and even contribute to repetitive motion injuries, i would always suggest using the muscles of the shoulder and back to provide the necessary counter balance to the finger pressure on the strings.

    given that premise, the thumb's position is not that important, imo, as long as the only surface of the thumb in contact with the neck is the tip. you don't want to let the neck settle into the palm of the hand, or you will increase the possibilities of cramps and injury. thumb tips all the way.

    most of the time that i'm playing my thumb settles into position parallel with the middle finger like wrong robot suggests, but sometimes when i am high on the neck, the thumb comes out to the side and supports the side of the neck or comes around to the front completely - sort of like double bass thumb position, but not quite - i don't usually do any stops with the thumb unless i'm just showing off ;).

    remember, though, the key isn't necessarily where the thumb is, but rather what it's role is - don't grab the neck with the thumb, just use it as a guide.
  4. Benbass


    Jan 28, 2002
    Yup, pointing up towards the ceiling behind the middle and pointer fingers.
  5. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    That's what I was going to say;)

    My thumb may end up being ahead of, parallel to or behind different fingers on my fretting hand. It merely acts like a guide. Just luck on my part I guess, I'm self-taught.