As a cello player, one of the more difficult, advanced techniques in playing is with the thumb ON the fingerboard, as opposed to under it. It's typically used like a barre for 2-3 strings (Cello fingerboards are curved; it's nearly impossible to barre all at same time with thumb; gotta move it to reach others). This, logically, leaves the usual four fingers open for some quicker solos.

I'm aware thumb is occasionally in chords, just by moving it so far under the fretboard it comes out by Low E, and you sometimes use it on a string or two there. But does anyone actually play it on the fretboard, like a cello or acoustic bass? Here would be an example for those, to describe visually what I mean.


This isn't a solo example of it, but more of a good visual overview of what it tends to look like. A good cellist can easily play the eruption tapping one-handed, with thumb, for an idea of how easy stretching becomes.
so it's kinda playing like hendrix in a cello right? just do it andd practice it till your hands are comfortable with it
Crohno, it's a good deal more complex than that (But I understand what you're saying). Funny coincedence, I performed a duet of Purple Haze just the day before yesterday on cello-bass, and it was fun as all hell. Gonna have to record it, it was the first time I've ever heard a cello called 'badass' (Not once, but several, seperate times)

I'm mostly just wondering if there is a precedent for this, and if not, why. I just kind wonder.
Some blues guys do it, Hendrix as well but its generally thought of as "wrong" as far as technique goes. Thumb should be directly behind the neck for most stuff except bending, open chords and some legato, tapping etc.
If it feels comfortable to you then do it.
Last edited by Tempoe at Jul 18, 2009,
The only way I can play barre chords is, tuning to drop-d and wrapping my thumb over the top.

You can use your thumb, but if you're playing classical style, it's 'wrong'.
No gods, no countries, no masters.
More guitar, less Ultimate-Guitar.
Be Serious.
Shorties represent!
Ibanez SZ520/Ibanez ORM-1/Ibanez RG7321/Pocket POD/Crate GX/Boss HM-2
No. I really do mean that. I dunno if he did, or if anyone does. If not, I'm asking why. I just dunno if anyone has.
I use my Thumb a lot... Except for the barre chords. I use my thumb for muting strings, playing some (jimi hendrixlike-)chords, bending notes and even for playing some single notes. But not in the way the girl does on the video. That'll never work for playing the guitar I guess.

I do hope you mean playing with your thumb like this, nothing wrong with using your thumb this way: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2Gd7wIYC-E
I specifically don't, though, guusw ._. I know that that is a good technique; I use it in my music, and it's in a gillion songs anyways. I mean the cello-style thumb position. Wondering if anyone does that too.
Well if you look at someone like Paul Gilbert, he has monster hands so he can play everything super easy (that combined with years of experience and skill). Usually people don't use their thumb on the fretboard. I can't say i've ever heard or seen someone do it. EDIT: At least not in a similar fashion to thumb position on cello.

I just tried it and it seems rather restrictive. When you're playing cello, thumb position is more natural feeling than doing it on a guitar.

How long have you been playing cello?
Last edited by Pac_man0123 at Jul 18, 2009,
Phantom123 yeah I play with my thumb alongside the other fingers to do weird chords and stretches.  forced to do it quite a few years ago in pursuit of playing joanna newsom harp songs on guitar.  now my thumb just naturally goes there.  only recently found out about "thumb position" on cello, actually just cos I saw an oud player doing it and asked him, he said he got it from his cello technique.  i don't do it exactly like that though, like barring.  sometimes bar a few strings with the side of the thumb. but mostly it's to play individual notes, a fret or two below the rest of my fingers, often on the high E string.  i've made some unique twiddles like this.

your post is the first time i've heard of anyone else doing it on guitar (apart from gripping the neck and using the thumb over the top like hendrix and that)