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Wheres your thumb at?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by themajorrager, Jun 21, 2005.

  1. Howdy TBers,

    just wondering where everyone else positions their fretting hand thumb whilst playing? the reason i ask is i have seen people playing with their thumb hooked over the neck above the E string. i tried using this posi but just cant get my fingers to operate properly with my thumb like that! the photos bellow show the two positions my thumb attains whilst i play - the first is used mainly for the E and A strings whilst the second photo shows my thumb whilst i play the D and G strings.

    is this normal or am i a freak?
    how does everyone else position their thumb?
  2. lamarjones

    lamarjones Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2002
    Raleigh, NC
    Like the bottom pic. The top pic makes my think that your hand is resting on the back of the neck, you'll find some problems either with reaching and moving the hand around or some other issues dealing with being nimble and having good form.

    BUT........if you aren't that concerned with being a very dextrous cat on the bass, then do whatever feels comfortable. I fall into bad traps every now and then, but I try to make sure that the left hand is ready to move wherever, and that my fingers are curving over the bottom pretty much perpendicular.
  3. Jonas.


    Jun 2, 2005
    i always use the bottom position, how the hell you can fret ANYTHING with the top picture is beyond me..
  4. Minger


    Mar 15, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    Like the bottom one, more or less.

    My SX's neck is a little sticky when its humid or my hands are, so it gets hard to go up and down the neck if theres a lot of skin on it.
  5. i use the top postion but i have BAD BAD BAD BAD technique.
  6. thanks for the feedback. i have no probs at all fretting anything with my thumb as it is in the first pic as long as its on the E or A string. when i play the D and G strings i just pivet on the top of my thumb to get to the second pic and any position in between. i have no problems with dexterity - with my index finger on the 1st fret i can fret the 4th fret comfortably and all the frets in between with my other two fingers. :cool:
  7. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    Moved to Technique.
  8. Funky Tune

    Funky Tune

    Apr 28, 2005
    Puerto Rico
    my thumb is right at the midle of the neck in vertical position.
  9. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass **** Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    The bottom pic definately looks better. Having good fretting hand position really starts with having your bass in a good position. A couple of basic tips I give out(not directed tward anyone posting above, just general tips) are: #1-Your neck should always be in the same position with or without your fretting hand on it, you can't depend on your fretting hand to hold the bass in position, ever! #2-Get a GOOD strap. It helps distribute the weight evenly and does wonders for keeping the bass in position. #3- Angle the neck up a bit and try to keep your fretting hand's elbow out away from your body. #4-If you must wear your bass low for consmetic reasons(I fully understand) forget everything except the part about the GOOD strap and just do what is most comfortable, but try experimenting when no one is looking :ninja:
  10. Jazzin'

    Jazzin' ...Bluesin' and Funkin'

    I'm very close to that top picture. But I have long fingers. I would still call it bad technique.
  11. WillBuckingham


    Mar 30, 2005
    There's more to this issue than you guys are adressing. The bottom picture shows a healthy technique, as a bass or guitar should be played. With the thumb on the back of the neck, the rest of the hand is supported in a natural position. Other techniques, like pressing the palm of your hand against the neck, can cause pain and even tendonitis.
  12. Kaboom


    Jun 13, 2005
    yarh i do the bottom one (but i've only been playing for a week) but my thumb rides slightly higher than the middle of the neck.
    After an hour of screwing around improvising with scales it gets tired, but that's just because i'm a wimp and have no endurance...
  13. ERIC31


    Jul 1, 2002
    Maricopa, AZ
    Mostly toward the bottom picture but sometimes the top one depending on how I'm moving on stage. Whatever is comfortable for whatever I'm playing.
  14. protoz


    Nov 30, 2000
    I use the bottom tech.
  15. Funkateer


    Jul 5, 2002
    Los Gatos, CA
    As I move up the neck, I find my left hand moving away from the lower pic toward something like the upper pic. Palm of hand does not touch the neck, but the thumb starts pointing back up the neck and not sitting behind your LH 2nd finger like it normally is supposed to.
  16. unrealrocks


    Jan 8, 2004
    I think it really depends on what your playing, I find it much more comfortable to use the lower picture if your playing fast with your bass at a correct height. Although much more fun if your just playing along root notes with your strap low using the top technique as it allows you to move the bass as you need as you body/strap doesn't exacly support it at all. :rollno:
  17. Thanks heaps for all your feedback guys :)
    i love this place :hyper: :hyper: :hyper: :hyper:
  18. ladros2


    Jun 2, 2005
    use the top one strictly, and you'll run into major problems getting at the top frets.
  19. The Clap

    The Clap

    Jan 5, 2004
    Scottsdale, AZ
    Aside from how it'll make you sound, that first picture makes my left hand hurt to look at. Even if you can execute in that position for a certain style, it'll never be as good/healthy for you as playing in the more accepted position, not unlike what's shown in the second picture.
  20. Mine is neither. Peek-a-boo thumb sticking up above the neck. Sometimes waayyy above. BAD, BAD, BAD, but after 30+ years of doing it...

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