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Old 04-07-2013, 10:03 AM   #1
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Thumb position when string bending.

I understand it's important to put your thumb over the neck when you're bending a string. I always do so for whole step bends...but what about when you're just doing a small, say, quarter-step bend?

Seems like the thumb over the neck just gives you more support but isn't 'necessary'
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Old 04-07-2013, 10:10 AM   #2
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Lots of people can do big bends with it behind, I never thought it had as much "feeling" though, can't say I've ever seen a really emotional bender who didn't get a good hold of the note. For half step and vibrato it's fine and easy, but to really bend you gotta get that thumb over IMO
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Old 04-07-2013, 10:28 AM   #3
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Behind the neck is generally better. If you're doing a lot of bends thumb-over you can strain your wrist.
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Old 04-07-2013, 12:20 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdgraves
Behind the neck is generally better. If you're doing a lot of bends thumb-over you can strain your wrist.


Wait, what?

Thumb-over is generally what's recommended for bending since it allows you to get more power behind your fingers without having to strain at all...

Watch this:

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Old 04-07-2013, 12:20 PM   #5
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I'd suggest you try it a bunch of different ways. For small bends you can do it a bunch of ways but they sound subtly different. It's not "wrong" to do it any particular way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tempoe
Lots of people can do big bends with it behind, I never thought it had as much "feeling" though, can't say I've ever seen a really emotional bender who didn't get a good hold of the note. For half step and vibrato it's fine and easy, but to really bend you gotta get that thumb over IMO


Check this out!



(it's definitely easier to do this with the thumb over if you don't have IRON FINGERS though)
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Old 04-07-2013, 03:20 PM   #6
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Quote:
Wait, what?

Thumb-over is generally what's recommended for bending since it allows you to get more power behind your fingers without having to strain at all...


Being on a YouTube video doesn't make it correct. Try doing a 4 hour gig with tons of thumb-over bending. It kills the inside of your thumb because it's pressed into the neck. The leverage you get from it is only necessary when bending at the bottom of the neck.

That Chris Poland video shows his thumb behind the neck entirely.
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Old 04-07-2013, 04:41 PM   #7
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^ yes, but Chris is still an exception. He proves that it's certainly possible to be excellent at bending with that hand position, but most of the best rock guitar players bend consistently with the thumb over the top (or at least high on the neck in a kind of hybridisation of the two postures).

If you watch the youtube vid I'm meticulous about providing examples of top tier professional guitar players using thumb over the neck for bends consistently.

Here's three for example -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYFYWKgkyZM#t=13m30s





(all of which would be quite comfortable with long gigs with many bends)

Can you cite a few top tier professionals bending predominantly from behind the neck? Or recommending it?
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Old 04-07-2013, 06:35 PM   #8
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I agree with Free power, whatever is comfortable. Most of the 'shredders' out there use thumb over.

Somewhat related; I was at a music school audition and the one comment made was to keep my thumb behind the neck, but when I watch most players the thumb is over the neck the majority of the time other than sweeps and sometimes hitting Low E or A. Anyone else heard this/ agree? It is a pain for me to get into that habit.
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Old 04-07-2013, 08:01 PM   #9
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^ that comment sounds like the classical approach, those they stick to that theory always bash the thumb over...wrongly for most any other style. I was told the same thing by my first teacher and used to think it true, till I watched a bunch of amazing guitarists on youtube then decided I was doing it wrong. I remember doing a thread asking what was right about 5years ago

Last edited by Tempoe : 04-07-2013 at 08:03 PM.
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Old 04-08-2013, 06:02 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ToneMasterDelux
I agree with Free power, whatever is comfortable. Most of the 'shredders' out there use thumb over.

Somewhat related; I was at a music school audition and the one comment made was to keep my thumb behind the neck, but when I watch most players the thumb is over the neck the majority of the time other than sweeps and sometimes hitting Low E or A. Anyone else heard this/ agree? It is a pain for me to get into that habit.


I didn't say "whatever is comfortable". I mean, it's true, but the fact is that almost everyone will do a lot better bending strings with the thumb over the neck. Both the best classical and rock guitarists I've spoken to agree on this, and they've had thousands of students between them. In the last five years, all but one of my students has found it more comfortable (and effective!) to bend with the thumb over.

So, while it's certainly possible to do bends with the thumb behind, the "standard" is thumb over and you should probably learn that style before trying others.

Equally, lots of things are possible with the thumb behind the neck that simply are not with the thumb over. You need to be proficient with both postures in modern guitar playing.

Have a watch at this for more detail -



Quote:
Originally Posted by Tempoe
^ that comment sounds like the classical approach, those they stick to that theory always bash the thumb over...wrongly for most any other style. I was told the same thing by my first teacher and used to think it true, till I watched a bunch of amazing guitarists on youtube then decided I was doing it wrong. I remember doing a thread asking what was right about 5years ago


The classical teachers that understand rock playing certainly don't bash it. I studied with Alan Grundy, primarily a classical guitarist, who certainly has nothing against it for bending. Jamie Andreas also recommends thumb over for bending, who is another classical guitarist. Martin Goulding, rock monster, says "thumb behind except for bends". Which is a good guideline, although both have advantages and disadvantages.

Neither posture is incorrect but you can use them incorrectly.
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