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Old 01-22-2013, 07:45 AM   #1
MattyPS
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Questions about floating thumb and alternate finger-plucking

Hello everyone,

I have been playing guitar for 3 years now and last week-end I started playing bass. Therefore I know that muting and alternate picking are important matters (something which I wasn't aware of when I started playing guitar). So I am questioning myself not to take "bad habits".

What are your views on the thumb floating technique ? Do you recommend it ? Also, how do you pluck the strings depending on the length of the notes and when you pluck different strings in a bass line ?

So far I have learnt 2 main bass lines : "The adventures of rain dance maggie" and "Come together". I tried to use the floating thumb technique and pluck alternatively each note.

Thank you very much in advance.
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Old 01-22-2013, 08:16 AM   #2
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The floating thumb is one way of doing things, moving or static anchors are different. I would say it comes down to preference though. I tend to use either a moving or static anchor (My bass has thumb rests built into the pickups which make a great anchor) but I know another guy who exclusively uses a static anchor, and another who prefers a floating thumb, and a girl who prefers the moving anchor, and they're all really good solid players so I don't think it would matter.

I don't quite get your other question, I usually just cut off a note with the next finger I am going to pluck with, or if I'm fretting a note I lift my finger off the fret but still touching the string for faster stuff.
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Old 01-22-2013, 08:51 AM   #3
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What Chatterbox said.

Actually didn't James Jamerson only use one finger?

I change up between floating thumb, and a static thumb depending on what I am playing. Sometimes, and this is a real butt clincher for some. I use all four fingers on my plucking hand. I will also use my thumb to pluck at times as well, especially when I want a good sounding 50's/60's vibe. or when I play Flamenco.
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Old 01-24-2013, 04:27 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chatterbox272
I don't quite get your other question


Let's say that I want to play the 5th fret on the G string and then the 5th fret on the D string.

I pluck the G string with the index/middle finger and then that same finger will rest on the D string so I feel like plucking the D string with the same finger. Is it a "good" thing to do ?
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Old 01-24-2013, 05:47 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MattyPS
Let's say that I want to play the 5th fret on the G string and then the 5th fret on the D string.

I pluck the G string with the index/middle finger and then that same finger will rest on the D string so I feel like plucking the D string with the same finger. Is it a "good" thing to do ?


That's perfectly fine.
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Old 01-24-2013, 09:29 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MattyPS
Let's say that I want to play the 5th fret on the G string and then the 5th fret on the D string.

I pluck the G string with the index/middle finger and then that same finger will rest on the D string so I feel like plucking the D string with the same finger. Is it a "good" thing to do ?

Well that's basic economy of motion, it's quicker and easier to do it that way than to bring the other finger down to play it so yes that's a good thing to do.
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Old 01-25-2013, 02:59 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MattyPS
Let's say that I want to play the 5th fret on the G string and then the 5th fret on the D string.

I pluck the G string with the index/middle finger and then that same finger will rest on the D string so I feel like plucking the D string with the same finger. Is it a "good" thing to do ?

As a general rule it works. But you may find you'll need to pluck the D sttring with the other finger because you should stress that note, or maybe because a possible thire note would be more comfortable to play with the same finger that plucked the first note. What I'm trying to say is that it is ok, but you may find that sometimes (some specific times) you''ll need to do otherwise.

I'm trying to change my technique to floating thumb rigth now, but anchoring is not bad either.
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Old 01-25-2013, 10:11 PM   #8
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how exactly does the whole floating thumb thing work? I do usually pluck the strings pretty hard to get a good fret-clank and it seems that doing the same without an anchor puts a lot of strain on the tendons in the hand.
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Old 01-25-2013, 10:18 PM   #9
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Tried all 3 ways, moving anchor works best for me. Playing without some kind of attachment to the bass just feels to weird, but playing on the D and G with my thumb way back on the E is uncomfortable too. So yeah, moving anchor.
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Old 01-26-2013, 09:48 AM   #10
MattyPS
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Thanks for the replies everyone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sudaka
What I'm trying to say is that it is ok, but you may find that sometimes (some specific times) you''ll need to do otherwise.


Could you show me a specific example please ?
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Old 01-26-2013, 01:17 PM   #11
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On the 5th Fret Example - the use of the same finger provides a consistency of pull which can give a consistency of tone and tambour.

That is the First taught technique of the Right Hand. It has its place.

The second is Walking which has tonal and volume inconsistencies between the Index and Middle finger. Length, muscle, and bone characteristics are all different, not to mention the length of pull because of the difference in joint locations along the line.

I am like Alucard. 3, 4, 4+thumb whatever whenever...

The way you pull or sweep is your way, and it will define your tone and your style as you. So ask quesions, but do not be afraid to do what you like to hear.

I play with my fingernails. I have since needing to get the Geddy sound over 30 years ago.

Since I never really have any real teachers, I just naturally do what I do, but would have accelled moreso with someone to teach and challenge me.
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Old 01-26-2013, 06:51 PM   #12
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My teacher when I was studying Music Education taught me to use a moving anchor (I used to use a static anchor on the neck pickup). It's much more efficient, because it keeps your range of motion tight and it also is effective at muting the lower strings.
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Old 01-27-2013, 09:33 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MattyPS
Thanks for the replies everyone.



Could you show me a specific example please ?

described some examples on the post you just quoted.
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Old 01-27-2013, 09:38 AM   #14
MattyPS
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sudaka
described some examples on the post you just quoted.


I was actually asking for a video example (I forgot to mention it yes...) because I couldn't picture what you described.
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