#1
I try using my thumb on the bass strings but when i reach for the strings with my other fingers, i mute out my small E string. I guess cuz my hands arnt not big enough. Anyone else have this same problem?
#2
Yeah, I have that same problem. My hands just aren't big enough to wrap around the neck. You have to remember that Jimi had giant hands. I generally just play a normal barre chord and find some way to mute the a string.
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#3
Well usually they aren't used for barres, they're used for when notes on the A string are omitted or when a walking bassline is also added.
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#5
I got pretty big hands, I love to wrap my thumb around the neck of the guitar. I actually started doing it before I knew Jimi or John did, so I could free up my pinky, then when I started getting into Jimi and John I realized they did it too haha
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#6
it's not so much the hand size as it is technique. the rhythm guitarist in my band said something about his hands being too small for some chord I was showing him which uses the thumb and I said it wasn't and compared hand sizes. his hands were about a 16th of an inch shorter than mine.

you just have to make sure your fingers are curled enough so that just the tip of your finger is pushing down the string.
#7
When I use my thumb on barre chords I only put my index finger down about three strings. I can put my finger down to the fifth string and still play a clean chord but it makes it harder for me to put a melody over it so I don't do it. I'm not sure if this is how you are doing it or if there is a proper technique though.
#8
It's considered "bad technique" to use the thumb, ever, except as an anchor on the back of the neck. . If you can make it work without muting your high E, just do it temporarily. I'd work with it in proper technique and not use the thumb, I only say that because I used my thumb at one point and it became a crutch that limited me greatly. I had to go back and learn it the right way to progress. Guitar is not easy, you need to train your hand for it. You'll find it's easier to learn new things if you train to use good technique the first time.
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Last edited by ValoRhoads at Sep 25, 2009,
#9
I also found that if you can cover the D and A strings both with your 3rd finger and you dont need to use your pinky, you still heve your pinky free to add embellishments and what not. And thats the only real advantage of using your thumb, to free up your pinky. Its just kinda hard to cover both those strings with your 3rd finger, at this angle.

And Btw, i have really long fingers but my actual hand isnt very big, maybe thats why
#10
Quote by ValoRhoads
It's considered "bad technique" to use the thumb, ever

What nonsense. This might be true of the classical guitar teaching method, but aside from that, name me one person or group who calls this bad technique?

It's been an integral part of the playing style of many rock and jazz (etc) players. It opens up possibilites which simply would not be playable otherwise.

I wonder what Pat Metheny, or Tommy Emmanuel, two of the greatest players of our time and who use this technique extensively, would make of your theory.
#11
i did however notice, that its alot easier to wrap your thumb around while standing up and was actually able to hold the high E down a couple times. So maybe il will get it down more consitiently with more practice?
#12
I actually can't do this because my fingers are way too long. I can't get a tight enough grip to hold down the strings because the gap is too big and my fingers would end up bent at weird angles.
#14
Quote by bagamush
just press your barring finger against the strings you want to mute.

That's my tactic on this one, certainly. For example, when baring all but the low E, I use the end of my baring finger to mute the low E, either by raising it so as not to apply enough pressure to fret the low E (when I'm playing, for example, a major chord with the root on the A) or by touching the low E with the tip (for example, with a 9 chord with the root on the A).
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#15
Quote by Beserker
What nonsense. This might be true of the classical guitar teaching method, but aside from that, name me one person or group who calls this bad technique?

It's been an integral part of the playing style of many rock and jazz (etc) players. It opens up possibilites which simply would not be playable otherwise.

I wonder what Pat Metheny, or Tommy Emmanuel, two of the greatest players of our time and who use this technique extensively, would make of your theory.


It is considered "bad technique" if you can't do it properly as it does cause your hand to work improperly. It can mess up your wrist. If you practice it enough and can work around the bad technique aspect and make it comfortable without pain, then it opens up the possibilities.

Though, it should only be used for a few techniques anyways (thumb over the fretboard). Used in Chord work (Hendrix, some Jazz players), Vibrato, and bends. If you're planning to do long wide stretches or play fast or anything, your thumb should be behind the neck, not over the top of the fretboard.

To add to your "players of our time who use it too" you can't forget Eric Johnson and Satriani as I've seen them use it too (Especially Johnson).
#16
Jimmy Page does this as well, many guitarists do in fact.

Basically, if you want to learn how to use the thumb to barre instead of a traditional barre chord, a perfect song to help you is Babe I'm Gonna Leave you, or Under the Bridge. To get those songs to sound like the studio versions, you HAVE to barre with thumb, and properly. It's all about the shape, or positioning of your hand and fingers.
Last edited by Nytron at Sep 27, 2009,
#17
actually im finding it is possible to do with some determination. Its not so much your hand size as much as your hand positioning on the neck
#18
songs like Under The Bridge and The Wind Cries Mary, really make full use of that approach to gripping E shaped barre chords. Try learning how to play those songs, there are limitless ways to embellish upon these chords and makes for a fun time improvising to a backing track.

when I barre using 'thumb over style' i generally avoid fretting the A string, more often than not I use my thumb to gently mute it.

if you wanna gain more of an understanding of the technique that's used when playing chords this way, you should check out justinguitar.com He has a couple of videos explaining this style of rhythm playing. It's pretty helpful, at least it was for me.
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#20
Why the bump? Everything has been said- some people can and some can't. There's so many factors as to how easy/hard this is, like hand size, hand strength, hand flexibility, string action, string gauge, and guitar neck.