#1
Hey can anyone give me a hand... I can't figure out a comfortable/effective way to fret the low e string with my thumb when attempting to hold barre chord shapes. I wanted to try this but I really just can't do it properly I guess... any advice?

My main problem is when I try to fret with my thumb like I see other people do it, I can't barre the top two strings with my index at the same time. Actually, scratch that, I can't do it whatsoever. There is no aspect of it that I can do properly I feel.
BTW I have huge hands.
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Last edited by tona_107 at Feb 12, 2009,
#2
On your fretting hand? with fingering or what?

A Major

--5--index
--5--index
--6--middle
--7--ring
--7--pinky
--5 -thumb

is this what you mean?

ah, thats not proper technique. Without seeing you play I can't really tell you what you're doing wrong. Thats a hard technique for someone with small hands to use, maybe thats your problem
Last edited by Peaceful Rocker at Feb 12, 2009,
#3
I can't see why you would want to use your thumb, I find it awkward.


Quote by MightyAl
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#5
Its not proper technique, and even if Hendrix was pretty much the first person to use and Frusciante to copy it, its one of the best ways to play rhythm guitar and you should know how to properly do it.

If you have big hands, you shouldn't have a problem doing it. Like others have said, we can't see your hand so we don't know what is making it difficult for you. Try to explain your problem a tad bit better.
#6
Quote by Peaceful Rocker
Yeah I don't play like that either, people that do are just trying to be like Hendrix and Frusciante ;p


lol I have my reasons, I'm allowed to experiment with my styles of playing. For one it leaves the rest of your hand with much more freedom to play on the higher strings.

The only way I can play it is when I fret the low E with like the first joint of my thumb... which doesn't seem proper at all.
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#7
I dont know about all that, its not really a technique everyone needs to learn. Theres so many more important things this guy could be learning
#8
Quote by tona_107
lol I have my reasons, I'm allowed to experiment with my styles of playing. For one it leaves the rest of your hand with much more freedom to play on the higher strings.

The only way I can play it is when I fret the low E with like the first joint of my thumb... which doesn't seem proper at all.

bullocks, i can do more with a barr chord played with correct technique
#9
Quote by Voltron420
Its not proper technique, and even if Hendrix was pretty much the first person to use and Frusciante to copy it, its one of the best ways to play rhythm guitar and you should know how to properly do it.

If you have big hands, you shouldn't have a problem doing it. Like others have said, we can't see your hand so we don't know what is making it difficult for you. Try to explain your problem a tad bit better.


Thanks for the post....I'm not sure how else I can explain it, other than that I can't do it....when I try to fret wiht my thumb like I see other people doing it, i can't get a good angle on the fretboard with the rest of my left hand and i end up muting some strings by accident, or I can't fret the top 2 strings with my index. When I set it up so that I have the rest of my hand fretted well, I can't get my thumb in what seems like the right position...It seems like my thumb is too far up maybe?
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#10
It's not "proper" technique? Who cares?

Using your thumb to barre the lower string can be incredibly useful, you can change the bass note independent of other strings in the chord, and also can give your hand a little rest when it starts hurting during longer sets by varying the fingering (ever played barre chords on an acoustic for a long time?).

I'd finger it the same as Peaceful Rocker (above). You may also want to try it standing up - if you're trying to do it with the fretboard on a strange angle it can be incredibly hard for your hand to reach around. The size of your hands need not matter. Finger the chord as above, play each string independently, making sure each is making a noise, not muted.

You'll get there.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#11
Quote by AlanHB
It's not "proper" technique? Who cares?

Using your thumb to barre the lower string can be incredibly useful, you can change the bass note independent of other strings in the chord, and also can give your hand a little rest when it starts hurting during longer sets by varying the fingering (ever played barre chords on an acoustic for a long time?).

I'd finger it the same as Peaceful Rocker (above). You may also want to try it standing up - if you're trying to do it with the fretboard on a strange angle it can be incredibly hard for your hand to reach around. The size of your hands need not matter. Finger the chord as above, play each string independently, making sure each is making a noise, not muted.

You'll get there.


What part of my thumb exactly am I supposed to use to fret.
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#12
Quote by Peaceful Rocker
bullocks, i can do more with a barr chord played with correct technique


This is just something I feel like I would like to at least try thanks a lot for the comments though.
BTW I liked your music on myspace good job.
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#13
You can play some cool sounding chords with it, or make them easier...

try playing open shapes first with a thumb? like try DMajor with a G (thumb on the low E string).
#14
Quote by tona_107
What part of my thumb exactly am I supposed to use to fret.


Sorry, I'll add that. Consider however that we may have different sized hands, and different sized guitar necks, and different sized penises.

The penis thing won't matter, just keep it in mind.

I don't have a guitar on me right now, but i'll say I fret the string in line with the bottom of my thumb, but with the lower left half of the underside of my thumb? Not sure whether that helps at all
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#15
Quote by tona_107
What part of my thumb exactly am I supposed to use to fret.

that depends. it really doesnt matter as long as the note rings through. i do this all the time and the string is usually behind first joint(the joint closest to the nail). but if its a harder chord that might change.

if you have smaller hands it will be harder though. lucky for me it wasnt too hard to get used to this technique. although, it did feel strange at first. but over time it will feel right just like anything. i suggest you continue learning this because it opens you up to some chords that wouldnt normally be used. plus if you normally keep the thumb over the top of the neck while soloing, its easier to switch from chords to lead.
#16
Quote by Blind In 1 Ear
that depends. it really doesnt matter as long as the note rings through. i do this all the time and the string is usually behind first joint(the joint closest to the nail). but if its a harder chord that might change.

if you have smaller hands it will be harder though. lucky for me it wasnt too hard to get used to this technique. although, it did feel strange at first. but over time it will feel right just like anything. i suggest you continue learning this because it opens you up to some chords that wouldnt normally be used. plus if you normally keep the thumb over the top of the neck while soloing, its easier to switch from chords to lead.


yeah the whole reason i decided to try this is cause when im playing my entire thumb is over the fretboard like literally my entire thumb, so i decided to put it to some use.
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#17
I`m still having trouble but it is my first day trying so i figure i`ll give it some time
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#18
i find using your thumb easy and useful. you dont necesarily have to fret every note in each string, try something like at first:

e-x-
B-5- index
G-6- middle
D-7- ring
A-x-
E-5- thumb

i dunno, it seems pretty easy and natural to me.
#19
This is a technique worth learning. The way I did it was to practice a certain progression... you can obviously make your own but here is one that I found:

Gm11 - D7/F#
Am and Asus4 / F and F# ...
#20
Quote by Peaceful Rocker
I dont know about all that, its not really a technique everyone needs to learn. Theres so many more important things this guy could be learning



Maybe if you're playing classical style or something (<-over-generalization :O ).

I guarantee you won't find one funk musician that DOESN'T use his thumb. For some styles, the thumb technique is essential. Funk would be one of these styles. Also, the Hendrixian chordal-lead type stuff.


To OP: Do you know how to mute/dampen with your fretting hand? That'd be one thing to learn beforehand.

I have smaller hands (but a shortscale guitar, too) and I put my last thumb joint (the one closest to my fingernail) right above the edge of the top of the next. That way you can hook it over. Best way to learn would be a song that uses it extensively - I'd recommend Give It Away by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and instead of hitting an open A, use your thumb at the fifth fret on the sixth string. Add in some muting, and your thumb technique will improve in no time.

But obviously, it'll be hard when you first start. You'll get used to it. Just practice.
#21
Quote by hunterman
Maybe if you're playing classical style or something (<-over-generalization :O ).

I guarantee you won't find one funk musician that DOESN'T use his thumb. For some styles, the thumb technique is essential. Funk would be one of these styles. Also, the Hendrixian chordal-lead type stuff.


To OP: Do you know how to mute/dampen with your fretting hand? That'd be one thing to learn beforehand.

I have smaller hands (but a shortscale guitar, too) and I put my last thumb joint (the one closest to my fingernail) right above the edge of the top of the next. That way you can hook it over. Best way to learn would be a song that uses it extensively - I'd recommend Give It Away by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and instead of hitting an open A, use your thumb at the fifth fret on the sixth string. Add in some muting, and your thumb technique will improve in no time.

But obviously, it'll be hard when you first start. You'll get used to it. Just practice.

I can obviously mute with my fretting hand, but not to the extent that artists like dave matthews and frusciante do...to the point that when they're playing rhythm theyre constantly strumming because theyre able to mute so well... that was something else i'm really intent on learning...I was gonna make a thread on it after I figured this thumb thing out actually ha.
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#22
really only two things are important here when using your thumb to play barre chords; ensuring that your hand is in a comfortable position and that all the strings are ringing out clearly.

When I began learning chords in this way, I found it extremely hard to get the first and second string to ring out clearly. For some reason my index finger did not want to co-operate. But after learrning songs like 'Under The Bridge' by RHCP and 'Little Wing'-Jimi Hendrix, that thumb-over technique just started to become second nature to me.

When I'm playing chords this way, my hand is REALLY girpping on to the neck. When you play barre chords with you index finger covering all strings, your thumb should be the only part of your hand touching the back of the neck. However, when you play these chords thumb-over style, your palm should be hugging the back of the neck fairly tightly. There Shouldn't be any space between your hand and the back of the neck, if you understand me.

I'm about to say something that will contradict my first point about ensuring that your hand is comfortable. If you're playing these chords with your ENTIRE thumb over the neck, I believe that will lead to bad habits and will restrict your fingers from fretting other notes freely. You don't want your whole thumb rapped over. You just need it to hook over a little bit so that the 6th string can be fretted and the 5th string can be muted.

It would help if you took a picture of how you're playing these chords, that way we can help you a lot better.
#23
Quote by tona_107
Hey can anyone give me a hand...

Maybe you need a thumb? It just takes practice mate.
#24
Your thumb should be on the back of the neck, unless you're doing vibrato or bending.
No exceptions.
#25
I play barre chords with my thumb nearly all the time (probably comes from watching too much Clapton and Jimi). The only exception is the A triad shapes.
#26
Do as cubs said to start, then add the note on the 5th string, then add the note on the 1st. Just take your time, you'll get it eventually.
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404: Sig not found.
#27
Quote by ChrisN
Do as cubs said to start, then add the note on the 5th string, then add the note on the 1st. Just take your time, you'll get it eventually.
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__________x
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T_|_|_|_1_1
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hey thanks a lot all..

Quote by flea's trumpet
really only two things are important here when using your thumb to play barre chords; ensuring that your hand is in a comfortable position and that all the strings are ringing out clearly.

When I began learning chords in this way, I found it extremely hard to get the first and second string to ring out clearly. For some reason my index finger did not want to co-operate. But after learrning songs like 'Under The Bridge' by RHCP and 'Little Wing'-Jimi Hendrix, that thumb-over technique just started to become second nature to me.

When I'm playing chords this way, my hand is REALLY girpping on to the neck. When you play barre chords with you index finger covering all strings, your thumb should be the only part of your hand touching the back of the neck. However, when you play these chords thumb-over style, your palm should be hugging the back of the neck fairly tightly. There Shouldn't be any space between your hand and the back of the neck, if you understand me.

I'm about to say something that will contradict my first point about ensuring that your hand is comfortable. If you're playing these chords with your ENTIRE thumb over the neck, I believe that will lead to bad habits and will restrict your fingers from fretting other notes freely. You don't want your whole thumb rapped over. You just need it to hook over a little bit so that the 6th string can be fretted and the 5th string can be muted.

It would help if you took a picture of how you're playing these chords, that way we can help you a lot better.


So I should be setting my hand up so that my thumb just comes over top, and then making sure my palm is totally against the back of the neck?
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Last edited by tona_107 at Feb 20, 2009,
#28
Quote by Orbit91
Your thumb should be on the back of the neck, unless you're doing vibrato or bending.
No exceptions.

Who says?
My thumb is always up over the top, unless I'm doing something with a big stretch.
I have long-ass fingers and use my thumb all the time.
Not to mention, I like to be able to bend and vibrato without having to move my thumb up and then back down to the back of the neck, and I do barre chords with it as opposed to the normal way of doing them with my thumb on the back.
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#29
I think Clapton plays Tears that way, just some food for thought.

I cant really comment on that because I have a 6 fret stretch without doing a thumb and pinky stretch and almost 11 if I pull an edgar cruz (Watch his live version of bohemian rhapsody). I find playing that way easy

All I can say is keep trying.

Edit: (Fixed typos)

Please use tags for tabs....
Last edited by Camdon at Feb 21, 2009,
#30
Quote by Sleaze Disease
Who says?
My thumb is always up over the top, unless I'm doing something with a big stretch.
I have long-ass fingers and use my thumb all the time.
Not to mention, I like to be able to bend and vibrato without having to move my thumb up and then back down to the back of the neck, and I do barre chords with it as opposed to the normal way of doing them with my thumb on the back.

People who care about technique do, and this thread is about a technique
#31
Quote by Orbit91
People who care about technique do, and this thread is about a technique

When did I say that I didn't care about technique?
Thumb over the top is by far the most comfortable way for me, as well as tons of other players.
Just sayin'.
Quote by SteveHouse
This thread is officially about sucking Sleaze off for a sig.


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Hey Sleaze I'll give you a blowjob if you sig me. Maybe even some nudey photos?


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Sleaze, that made me lulz in my pants.


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hahaha Sleaze i'd give you my mom for that one.
#32
My idea, and from what I hear, it leaves your other fingers more available to do what they need to do.
also, would you turn down an extra finger?
that's the way i see it...
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#33
Well, as many have said already, it's not proper technique. However...Eric Clapton used this 'technique', and I've found that 'Tears in Heaven' is hard to play without doing this.

I don't normally do it, but there are some exceptions.

EDIT:
Quote by tona_107
My idea, and from what I hear, it leaves your other fingers more available to do what they need to do.
also, would you turn down an extra finger?
that's the way i see it...

It does leave your other fingers more free. However, in a barre chord, your index should already be fretting that specific note, right? Thus, using your thumb to fret barre chords isn't really doing anything except hurting your wrist.
Last edited by The.new.guy at Feb 22, 2009,
#34
Quote by The.new.guy
Well, as many have said already, it's not proper technique. However...Eric Clapton used this 'technique', and I've found that 'Tears in Heaven' is hard to play without doing this.

I don't normally do it, but there are some exceptions.

EDIT:
It does leave your other fingers more free. However, in a barre chord, your index should already be fretting that specific note, right? Thus, using your thumb to fret barre chords isn't really doing anything except hurting your wrist.

I think i'm just using the barre chords to learn how to do the technique properly....
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#35
Quote by Sleaze Disease
When did I say that I didn't care about technique?
Thumb over the top is by far the most comfortable way for me, as well as tons of other players.
Just sayin'.

Comfort =/= Technique.
#36
There really is no correct way to do it. Just make sure you're not straining your wrist and all the strings ring out clearly. I normally use the tip of my thumb. I just kind of "hook" it over the top.

But, there's very few instances that would "require" you to use your thumb - so if it's not comfortable for you, I wouldn't stress out about it too much.

The only time I do it is when playing a chord that might otherwise put my hand in an awkward position, requires me to fret the 6th string with my pinky, or if I'm playing an open chord and want to change the root (like a D/F# or something)...
Gear

Gibson '57 Les Paul Reissue
Marshall TSL 601
EHX: Big Muff, Metal Muff, Small Stone, POG, 2880
Ibanez TS808
Voodoo Labs Microvibe
Analogman Chorus
Morley Bad Horsie II
Keeley Compressor (C4)
Nova Delay
MXR 10-band EQ
Last edited by Guitartist at Feb 23, 2009,
#37
Quote by Orbit91
People who care about technique do, and this thread is about a technique


I care about technique. When the situation calls for it, this IS a technique. Nothing wrong about it all.

TS: In my profile there's a vid of me playing a progression with a Hendrix sort of treatment. I'm using my thumb for most of the chords in there. Maybe you can pick up something from it. I don't know that there's anything special you need to do other than get the best angle and hand position so you can use your thumb and barre the high strings, and practice of course....
#38
Quote by ChrisN
Do as cubs said to start, then add the note on the 5th string, then add the note on the 1st. Just take your time, you'll get it eventually.
__x_______x
|_|_|_|_|_|
T_|_|_|_1_|
|_|_|_2_|_|
|_|_3_|_|_|
| | | | | |


__________x
|_|_|_|_|_|
T_|_|_|_1_|
|_|_|_2_|_|
|_3_4_|_|_|
| | | | | |


___________
|_|_|_|_|_|
T_|_|_|_1_1
|_|_|_2_|_|
|_3_4_|_|_|
| | | | | |


Those are okay for practice, but I wouldn't make it a habit to use your thumb for simple barre chords.

I might use my thumb for the first one because it would make it easier to mute the 5th string, but the other two can easily be played as barre chords.
Gear

Gibson '57 Les Paul Reissue
Marshall TSL 601
EHX: Big Muff, Metal Muff, Small Stone, POG, 2880
Ibanez TS808
Voodoo Labs Microvibe
Analogman Chorus
Morley Bad Horsie II
Keeley Compressor (C4)
Nova Delay
MXR 10-band EQ
#39
Quote by edg
I care about technique. When the situation calls for it, this IS a technique. Nothing wrong about it all.

TS: In my profile there's a vid of me playing a progression with a Hendrix sort of treatment. I'm using my thumb for most of the chords in there. Maybe you can pick up something from it. I don't know that there's anything special you need to do other than get the best angle and hand position so you can use your thumb and barre the high strings, and practice of course....

How unbiased
#40
Quote by Guitartist
Those are okay for practice, but I wouldn't make it a habit to use your thumb for simple barre chords.

I might use my thumb for the first one because it would make it easier to mute the 5th string, but the other two can easily be played as barre chords.
I agree with you; that's pretty much the only time I use mine too.

I just wanted to show the ways in which it could be used for the TS.
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