#1
So I've been playing bass for a little while now (since February 09) and I'm completely self taught. When I play my bass, I typically keep my thumb on the pickup when playing the E string but move it occasionally for higher strings in order to mute the lower ones (I've recently learned this is called "Wandering Thumb" technique). However I noticed that a lot of other bassists don't use that style and mute other ways.

SO my question is: "Is wandering thumb a bad habit/technique, or just different?"
#2
I've never heard of wandering thumb, it sounds like movable anchor though. I use movable anchor, I think it's better than a fixed thumb on the pickup. I think fixing your thumb is okay for some passages, but over all I think it causes a different attack for each string because the hand has to stretch more and more the higher you pluck. where as with movable anchor your hand is usually in the same position so you get a consistent attack for each string.

You should also check out floating thumb technique, it's similar but your thumb doesn't anchor on anything, it floats and works as a moving mute and can be used as an extra plucking digit as well.

You should look up some lessons about the movable anchor by Adam Nitti, on his website and there's some stuff on youtube. Also check out some lessons by Todd Johnson about the floating thumb on youtube, and there's a great thread about it on talkbass.com in the technique section.
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Last edited by Hobble at Jul 22, 2009,
#4
i know a lot of people do that, and i do too to some extent. I think whatever is comfortable for you and works, just do it.
#6
There's nothing wrong with that... but let's not forget that there's nothing wrong with anything; do whatever makes you happy! Music's not about what's right or what's wrong, it's about what sounds good! So what if you learn damaging technique and inescapable habits, progressing at a snail's pace? AS LONG AS YOU'RE HAPPY!!!

(What was that all about?)

AAAANNNYWAY, I prefer to anchor my thumb for the simple reason that I find it easier to play without looking. It's as if the thumb is my point of reference and if it moves I constantly have to glance down to see where I am.
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#7
Ok. And to clear up some confusion it's basically floating thumb and moveable anchor technique. Here's the page where I learned the term "wandering thumb":

http://www.studybass.com/lessons/bass-technique/plucking/

It's in the "muting" section or on page 15 of the little box. But no, it doesn't mess up my playing at all, I can actually play more fluidly and accurately than if I played a fixed anchor position on the pick up. I was just wondering if it was a good/proper technique.
Last edited by dudeman2690 at Jul 22, 2009,
#8
Sure it is. You're just bending your elbow up and down instead of rotating your wrist (like you would if your thumb was anchored).
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I was looking at a used Warwick Vampyre LTD 5'er for about $200. I went home to grab my wallet and came back and some jerk with an epic beard got it already..
#9
I do it. I feel sometimes it slows you down a bit, but if you become really quick at it, it's fine.

Im trying to break the habit, but it really isn't a bad thing.
#10
It's all personal preference, but as you get better at playing, you should rest your thumb on other strings, like if you play fast.
And don't have the entire weight of your arm on your thumb. Rest your elbow on the body.
The sweat from your thumb/hand can also ruin your paintjob or pickups with time.
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#12
I keep my thumb firmly anchored on the pickup, but thats just me. Do what ever feels good and sounds consistent. As for different attack on different string with an anchored thumb, I avoid that problem because my natural style has my hand right up over the strings, so I play them from above, making it alot more consistent.
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#13
Quote by dudeman2690
So I've been playing bass for a little while now (since February 09) and I'm completely self taught. When I play my bass, I typically keep my thumb on the pickup when playing the E string but move it occasionally for higher strings in order to mute the lower ones (I've recently learned this is called "Wandering Thumb" technique). However I noticed that a lot of other bassists don't use that style and mute other ways.

SO my question is: "Is wandering thumb a bad habit/technique, or just different?"


I always thought it was a technique for people with small hands and never saw it as a way to mute open strings...

I think I shall start using this technique as I usually mute the string by land my finger on it after plucking a different string but this makes a bit of a blunt noise and can't be used to mute higher strings.
#15
After reading that studybass site, I decided to learn to use that technique. I think it helps quite a bit with muting. The highest I ever go is the A string though.
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#17
Nope! I do that and I consider myself a pretty good player.
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#19
its sound like a pain in the ass to play the E string when you have your thumb on the pickup, you would REALLY have to bend your fingers.
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#20
Quote by theamericandj
its sound like a pain in the ass to play the E string when you have your thumb on the pickup, you would REALLY have to bend your fingers.

No not really.


I'm surprised about how many people have decided to switch to this style lol

and here I was thinking it was a bad technique
#22
For those who say anchoring your thumb is a bad habit, how would it be so? I find it vital to mute strings.
#23
Quote by abcba
For those who say anchoring your thumb is a bad habit, how would it be so? I find it vital to mute strings.

Has anybody said that yet? Like... I think the threadstarter just wanted to make conversation or something.
Quote by Cody_Grey102
I was looking at a used Warwick Vampyre LTD 5'er for about $200. I went home to grab my wallet and came back and some jerk with an epic beard got it already..
#24
Quote by thefitz
Has anybody said that yet? Like... I think the threadstarter just wanted to make conversation or something.

My bad, I was under the impression that someone did.
#25
I think this might be called thread jacking >.> or something
but I have a question for you guys.
I normally would have this moveable anchor technique.

But I have a five string and this limits me, for when I play the e-string I have to anchor my thumb on the b-string to mute it. But this limits me REEEAAAALLLYYY in speed. I can't go as fast and I get tired very quickly.

But how they hell do I mute the b-string now?
My left hand is most of the time busy
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