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#1
is this a really important technique to learn or is it just some bull**** to make people look cooler then they really are?
Quote by Double Basser
there is no simple instrument, only simple minds
#2
I find it useful, but it is not vital.
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#3
I find it important, because it removes 90% of the feedback. When playing on the A string, the E can resonate terribly making you sound undefined and.... well.... bad
#4
im guessing it would be more important the more strings you have then? like between a 4 string to 6?

EDIT: Also how hard is this technique to get down preety much perfectly?
Quote by Double Basser
there is no simple instrument, only simple minds
Last edited by Lazenby at Sep 14, 2009,
#5
Well, it was easy for me to learn as I used this technique as soon as I started learning bass, but I guess it shouldn't be too hard to learn. It's really easy if you only use it when you're not using the lower strings for some time (usually half a bar or more). When constantly skipping strings, I find it too much of a hassle
#6
Why does your E string resonate when you play your A string? Don't you let your finger pull through the A string when you play it and have it come to rest on the E string to mute it? It really makes it no problem to keep it from vibrating. But back on topic, you don't need to use the floating thumb technique. Using other types of muting such as the one I just described or using your fret hand should take care of any unwanted string vibration. That is, provided you are playing with proper technique.
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#7
Every teacher Ive ever had has been against floating thumb. They all say to anchor it on the neck pick up
#8
I used to use an anchoring technique but changed to floating thumb and it improved my technique a lot(skipping strings became way easier and more fluid). Not to mention it became more comfortable after the first few weeks.
#9
Quote by Sylvanus
I used to use an anchoring technique but changed to floating thumb and it improved my technique a lot(skipping strings became way easier and more fluid). Not to mention it became more comfortable after the first few weeks.


You cant dig as much with floating thumb and you lose tone. Also, string skipping and fast runs become harder because you have to move your entire hand as opposed to just 2 fingers. Ask Jeff Campbell about it if you dont believe me.
#10
Quote by tubatom868686
You cant dig as much with floating thumb and you lose tone. Also, string skipping and fast runs become harder because you have to move your entire hand as opposed to just 2 fingers. Ask Jeff Campbell about it if you dont believe me.



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Quote by Double Basser
there is no simple instrument, only simple minds
#12
Funny... Geddy Lee aaid that he prefers floating thumb because it allows him to really dig in, and he loves the tone. He uses floating thumb almost exclusively, and we all know how well he plays. And I'll agree with him. I've been using floating thumb ever increasingly recently, and love it.
#13
Quote by tubatom868686
You cant dig as much with floating thumb and you lose tone. Also, string skipping and fast runs become harder because you have to move your entire hand as opposed to just 2 fingers. Ask Jeff Campbell about it if you dont believe me.


Explain to me how do you lose tone from having a floating thumb technique? I use my arm to switch between strings, allowing my fingers to focus more on plucking the strings. Anchoring on the pick up also makes your hand have to be in slightly different positions depending on the string your playing(which is inconvenient) and playing on 6 strings is very uncomfortable with anchoring.

EDIT: I'm not trying to condemn anchoring or anything as there are many talented bassists that use it, but TS could find floating very useful in his playing(as I did when I switched) and if he doesn't like it, he can always switch back anyways.
Last edited by Sylvanus at Sep 14, 2009,
#15
I guess we should all be working on combining each fingering/plucking technique rather than focusing on just one at a time.

But ye, I find it very difficult.
I've been playing with my thumb anchored on the 5th string since I started, and old habits die hard.
#16
I use it exclusively...though not like most people. I pick with it as well, much like Jeff Beck does. My position is different from his though...
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#17
I've always played with a floating thumb because early on my dad taught me to make sure when ever I picked a string to pluck all the way through unitl I hit the string behind it (like what fuzzle said). I'm pretty sure this is vital to the floating thumb technique.

Also I'm just recently using the anchored thumb but only for three finger picking and sometimes it feels more natural when I'm standing up.
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#18
Quote by CurbstompBass
I use it when I find it appropriate. I play six-string, so I need to mute those extra strings pretty often. I like Gary Willis's use of it a lot.


The technique for a 6 string is a lot different than a 4 string.

And think about it. When you float your thumb, your whole hand has to move to get from string to string. When you anchor, its just two fingers

Also, as for the digging issue, think about it. If your thumb is on a string, that means that half of the energy you put into your plucking finger is also pulling the string your thumb is on. So technically, you can only dig in half as deep
#19
I've always used it, but I normally use a pick...
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#21
Quote by Deliriumbassist
Wait a minute... I think some of you are getting confused between floating thumb and movable anchor. Movable anchor is where you anchor the strings, floating thumb is where there is no anchoring whatsoever.


Oh. But...that would just make the two problems worse.
#22
I'd say it's personal preference, just like, pick vs fingers and 4, 5 or 6 strings.
#24
Ive never heard of the floating thumb, care to explain what it is?

Is it where you rest your thumb on the E string if you are playing on the A,D,G, etc. string?
#25
Quote by Deliriumbassist
Wait a minute... I think some of you are getting confused between floating thumb and movable anchor. Movable anchor is where you anchor the strings, floating thumb is where there is no anchoring whatsoever.


This

I used to float, before my bass teacher told me to start using the movable anchor, as it cuts down on ringing strings, mostly on the E and A
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#27
With floating thumb, the thumb doesn't literally float, nor anchor, it just rests on along the strings. The thumb becomes a movable mute.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPVMBPmrblU
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Last edited by Hobble at Sep 15, 2009,
#28
Quote by tubatom868686
Physically, I dont know how it couldnt make it worse


If you have good enough muslce control, it's absolutely fine.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPVMBPmrblU&feature=player_embedded

Notice how he isn't anchoring at all? That's proper floating thumb technique. It's very comfortable, easy to play with, and is much better for your wrist.

EDIT: Ah, beat me to that video
#29
Quote by Hobble
With floating thumb, the thumb doesn't literally float, nor anchor, it just rests on along the strings. The thumb becomes a movable mute.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPVMBPmrblU


Yeah, that's my method, too. Sean Malone and Gary Willis use a similar technique.

It's a technique. And like any other technique, there are situations that call for it and situations that don't.
#30
Quote by CurbstompBass
It's a technique. And like any other technique, there are situations that call for it and situations that don't.

Perfectly stated. you are a genius.
Quote by RPGoof
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They respawn though


Quote by the humanity
jazz bass.

t-bird is muddy inversatile, and reminds me of emo chicks.

Current rig: Peavey Millennium 5 - Drive B15

To buy: Ampeg BA112 or BA115
#31
Quote by tubatom868686
The technique for a 6 string is a lot different than a 4 string.

And think about it. When you float your thumb, your whole hand has to move to get from string to string. When you anchor, its just two fingers

Also, as for the digging issue, think about it. If your thumb is on a string, that means that half of the energy you put into your plucking finger is also pulling the string your thumb is on. So technically, you can only dig in half as deep


The whole hand moves when using the traditional anchor technique as well - it just moves differently. The cat from Eastman seems to be an upright guy, which is why he may be partial do really digging in on electric. I dig that, but there is also something to be said for letting the amp do the work. I think CurbstompBass has it right.
#32
Quote by Prather
The whole hand moves when using the traditional anchor technique as well - it just moves differently. The cat from Eastman seems to be an upright guy, which is why he may be partial do really digging in on electric. I dig that, but there is also something to be said for letting the amp do the work. I think CurbstompBass has it right.


Jeff Campbell is not just an upright guy. He literally does everything related to bass. Also, the amp is just that. An amplifier of what your doing with your fingers on the bass. So you can see why "letting the amp do the work" is really counter intuitive. Also, digging a string doesnt necessarily mean yanking on it as hard as you can Geddy Lee style.

And you can argue that your whole hand still moves with an anchor. But with a floating thumb, your entire arm has to move. Something that doesnt happen with an anchor (well it does, just in a much more efficient way)

Sorry guys, but my opinion is just that floating isnt a good technique
#33
Your opinion is that you don't like the technique. It certainly isn't a bad technique at all. Anchoring your thumb actually slows you down, and there's more hand movement involved with anchoring.

Hold your hand naturally. Chances are, it naturally goes for a closed position as opposed to an open one. It takes strength to open your hand, strength that is better off being used to actually play. Plus, you have yourself a built in mute. Your left shoulder isn't really doing much either if you're floating. A bit of movement, nothing much at all. Plus, the technique opens up your thumb for playing. Classical guitarists have essentially been using the floating thumb technique for a lot longer than bass has been around.

Floating Thumb promotes a relaxed wrist, and a relaxed wrist is a wrist that is much less likely to develop problems at a later date. You also get just as much attack, with less effort. I don't see how it's a bad technique in the slightest, when some of the best bass teachers in the world, like Adam Nitti, teach it to their students from the off.

EDIT: Oh yeah, and it frees the thumb up nicely for them there arty-fission harmonicx.
#34
If floating thumb is what i think it is (anchoring on the string behind the one you're playing) then yes, its better than anchoring on the pickups. Disregard this if i'm wrong.
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#36
Floating thumb, in this context, seems a bit pointless to me.
I fingerpick, using the clawhammer style. I play fingerstyle with my right thumb tip anchored on top of the pup, and my left hand doing the damping. Have done for all of my 19+ years playing.
Both of these methods seem perfectly intuitive to me, in a bio-mechanical sense; and both have their own merits. But I can't see why anyone would bother hybridising them.
I just cannot see the sense in floating thumb, as described. Seems a little pretentious to me - doing something different for its' own sake. Of course top bass teachers would recommend it; it'll earn them a buck or two!
#38
Quote by Deliriumbassist
Your opinion is that you don't like the technique. It certainly isn't a bad technique at all. Anchoring your thumb actually slows you down, and there's more hand movement involved with anchoring.

Hold your hand naturally. Chances are, it naturally goes for a closed position as opposed to an open one. It takes strength to open your hand, strength that is better off being used to actually play. Plus, you have yourself a built in mute. Your left shoulder isn't really doing much either if you're floating. A bit of movement, nothing much at all. Plus, the technique opens up your thumb for playing. Classical guitarists have essentially been using the floating thumb technique for a lot longer than bass has been around.

Floating Thumb promotes a relaxed wrist, and a relaxed wrist is a wrist that is much less likely to develop problems at a later date. You also get just as much attack, with less effort. I don't see how it's a bad technique in the slightest, when some of the best bass teachers in the world, like Adam Nitti, teach it to their students from the off.

EDIT: Oh yeah, and it frees the thumb up nicely for them there arty-fission harmonicx.


The problem is that all the motion that isnt taking place in just your wrist has to be transferred to your entire arm when you float. And I anchor, but I still use my thumb now and then for things with no problem

Also, you can still have a relaxed wrist if you anchor.
#39
Even though you have to use your shoulder muslce, you'll find it's a very relaxed technique.

I anchored for the longest time, and since actively switching to floating thumb, I cna honestly say it's an improvement. If I saw no improvement, then I'd say there's been no improvement. There'd be no point in me saying it's awesome if it sucks.
#40
Quote by Deliriumbassist
How is it pretentious? If anything, I've noticed it's improved my playing stamina, and by leaving the muting to the normally passive right hand thumb, you free up the left hand from that job. It simply economises your playing.

Like I say, it just seems to be doing something different for the sake of doing something different. Subjectively, it works for you - great. Subjectively, it doesn't for me.
My left hand mutes, because the one that determines the pich, should also play the major part of determining the duration. Simple as. It's distribution of effort.
My right thumb is hardly passive - it takes an important part in determining my hand shape and attack.
Playing isn't necessarily about economy - it's often about using expansiveness as a means of expression. I personally find the floating thumb method to produce a boringly narrow range of possibility!

Having to move the whole arm also seems a touch un-necessary, from a bio-mechanical point of view. It's why we primates have a wrist with 3-dimensional movement! The arm is used to move the hand, to where it needs to be; then the wrist enables the hand to do the detail jobs.
Sounds a little like playing stringed instruments, no?
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