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Old 04-10-2013, 01:37 PM   #1
BoobsVanderbilt
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Question Proper Thumb Use (When and How?)

Hey everyone.

So I am a HUGE RHCP fan, my favorite band definitely. I've decided to start watching videos to learn their songs and the last one was "Can't Stop " and in the video I watched Marty Schwartz said that John Frusciante uses his thumb (he was showing the part in the beginning where you hit the 7th on the 6th then the 7th / 9th part.. or whichever it was, you all know what I might be taking about, it then slide a half step with the 6th string . I found that part easy to use the thumb, and he said Jimi Hendrix also utilized the thumb and that made me start to think it is a very very powerful tool to learn and master .

But, as I was playing , I realized that you can't have your thumb just there the whole time and have that thumb grip/hold or you can't play certain notes because it isn't possible really.

Though when the part came where you hit the 6th string, then the Dun-dun, then 6th string again, the thumb was very very useful and easy , especially when sliding up the half step.

My question is , is there a certain grip and way of holding the guitar when using this thumb technique ? Should I start to practice holding the guitar in a different way? The other question is WHEN do I use it and how do I know when ? I wasn't sure at all when to use it other than when I was going through it slowly and realizing I couldn't have my thumb their and play the notes, is it something you learn when to do it and when not and what you can do and can't do when your thumb is there ? OR if you utilize the thumb technique and grip are you usually always supposed to have that grip and have your thumb up there ready to mute the E and A or hold them?


Thank you very much for as much feedback on this and advice/discussion as possible
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Old 04-10-2013, 01:50 PM   #2
StreetLight3989
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The only song I've ever learned that I've had to use my thumb for is "Can't Stop". I only use it for the 7 and the 8 on the E string and I bring it back down when I'm not playing those notes.

It would be practically impossible to do the muting that John uses without using your thumb. I don't see much purpose of using your thumb other than muting, but I could be wrong.
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Old 04-10-2013, 02:44 PM   #3
supersac
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i use my thumb quite a bit and its hardly ever stuck in the same position
there are some chords that i dont think id be able to play without using my thumd such as
e3
b1
G2
D3
A0
E1
if i play a ichord ilke that i usulaly just put it there for when it needs to be and put it behind the neck when im done to let the fingers be as free as possible

also im pretty sure classical guitar frowns upon this so careful with that
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Old 04-10-2013, 03:06 PM   #4
Vypor
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Paul Gilbert talks about using his thumb to mute the top strings or to help play certain chords, he talks about it pretty extensively in a lot of his online lessons.

You may want to check some of those out, Mr. Gilbert has a way of explaining things in lamens terms and using good visual examples.
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Old 04-10-2013, 03:08 PM   #5
Artemis Entreri
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If your hands are big enough and it's comfortable for you, that's the time to use it. If they aren't, there's no real point in doing it. You can play the same things a different way. Sometimes I'll play pieces (including can't stop) with my thumb and sometimes I won't. Sounds the same either way.
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Old 04-10-2013, 07:19 PM   #6
BoobsVanderbilt
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Thanks for the input .


I just figured that being able to use your thumb to not only mute the E, but play it would be very useful to do.

Such as Jimi Hendrix type chords .. I don't kno what the chord is called but it's an F shape but I believe a whole step up with your pinking on the 5th e and your thumb on the 4th E.. or 3rd E. Im not by my guitar now so I don't remember but if I have it i can remember is a second and do it. But I think yu all know what I'm trying to say with that
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Old 04-12-2013, 10:26 AM   #7
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John Mayer, SRV, Hendrix and John Fruscieanwhatthehell all use this quite a lot! A very nicew tool for playing interesting variations of barre chords and for using a little soloing between chords(think "Little Wing" by Hendrix, "Slow dancing in a burning room" by Mayer etc.)

After I learned it often use it in my own songs, and I find it very useful to spice things up.
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