#1
I'm having some thumb position problems when I play. First off, my basses headstock is never upright when I play. The damned thing always droops down. I blame my strap but I'm also aware that I'm not the most efficient when gripping the fretboard. Is this a common issue or am I just a big ol' dumby?

I've been trying to work on it since I've began playing bass and I've not progressed any better. When I place my thumb on the back of the Fretboard, whether my fingers are fretted or not, the weight of the neck pulls down on my strap and I have to position my thumb under the neck to keep it from drooping, making it extremely hard to fret.

I'm also curious as to how some of you position your hand when playing. Do you reposition your thumb for every different fret played or do you place it in a certain section and just reach with your fingers. I feel if I constantly reposition my thumb I'm cheating and not getting any stretch or exercise from it. Can I get some opinions?

If you took some pictures on how you fret, that would be wicked, though an explanation is equally satisfactory. I tried looking it up but believe it or not, it's either a really brief 'This is how. Ok, now on to the next' and most covers or videos of people playing, believe it or not, are of the front side of the fretboard, where it's difficult to see the thumb. Not to mention that a majority of people choke the neck, which feels uncomfortable to me, and I've heard is not healthy in practicing.

Discuss!!
Please..

I do appreciate it.
#2
I take it you're playing something headstock-heavy, like a Gibson or a BCRich/custom type? In that case, it's something you have to live with, unless you want to move a strap mount.
Proper fretting-hand thumb technique, is to have it upright, pad or just on the joint of the thumb at the centre of the neck. Doing this, gives you a bit of rotation (providing you aren't holding the neck in a death grip), so your fingers can cover a number of frets without the thumb moving. In this way, and with some practice, you should find 5 or 6 positions, which allow you to cover the entire fretboard. After a while, your thumb will scoot between positions, without even thinking about it.
Good old muscle memory!
#3
raise your strap and see if that helps
i reposition my thumb a lot, i have a small hand so i have to
"The man that hath no music in himself, nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds, is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils. The motions of his spirit are dull as night, and his affections dark as Erebus. Let no such man be trusted."
#4
Quote by creepingjesus73
I take it you're playing something headstock-heavy, like a Gibson or a BCRich/custom type? In that case, it's something you have to live with, unless you want to move a strap mount.
Proper fretting-hand thumb technique, is to have it upright, pad or just on the joint of the thumb at the centre of the neck. Doing this, gives you a bit of rotation (providing you aren't holding the neck in a death grip), so your fingers can cover a number of frets without the thumb moving. In this way, and with some practice, you should find 5 or 6 positions, which allow you to cover the entire fretboard. After a while, your thumb will scoot between positions, without even thinking about it.
Good old muscle memory!


It is an Ibanez GSRX Series is what it says. Only seen a picture of it on here once and it was slightly different. P/j pickups. Move a Strap Mount? Do explain. Unscrew it and screw it in elsewhere? I could only see myself damaging the bass... Wouldn't it look ugly, too?

Did not try that.. Aha. Wicked. Thank you very much.
Last edited by Pipwud at Jun 19, 2010,
#5
Quote by Swannie
raise your strap and see if that helps
i reposition my thumb a lot, i have a small hand so i have to


I've adjusted my strap in all ways and no one position is better than the next. I have seen some Bass Specific straps on the internet but most run for $50+ and the difference on some is just a bigger strap accompanied by a smaller one.

Oh. I'm sorry you could not eat at BK.
I have big, gorilla, man hands.
#6
Quote by Pipwud
It is an Ibanez GSRX Series is what it says. Only seen a picture of it on here once and it was slightly different. P/j pickups. Move a Strap Mount? Do explain. Unscrew it and screw it in elsewhere? I could only see myself damaging the bass... Wouldn't it look ugly, too?

Did not try that.. Aha. Wicked. Thank you very much.


Ok, don't try the strapmount thing. It won't work on that bass...
Try getting an ordinary leather strap with a raw or unfinished back. The suede-y roughness won't slip as easily.
You have an advantage in big hands: big reach. Get the thumb position right, and you'll be able to make best use of it.
#7
You could also try to rest your picking/fingering arm on the body of the bass and put pressure (not a lot) on it from that end to counterbalance the headstock weight so you don't have to hold it up with your left hand.
#8
Quote by Pipwud
I'm having some thumb position problems when I play. First off, my basses headstock is never upright when I play. The damned thing always droops down. I blame my strap but I'm also aware that I'm not the most efficient when gripping the fretboard. Is this a common issue or am I just a big ol' dumby?

I've been trying to work on it since I've began playing bass and I've not progressed any better. When I place my thumb on the back of the Fretboard, whether my fingers are fretted or not, the weight of the neck pulls down on my strap and I have to position my thumb under the neck to keep it from drooping, making it extremely hard to fret.

I'm also curious as to how some of you position your hand when playing. Do you reposition your thumb for every different fret played or do you place it in a certain section and just reach with your fingers. I feel if I constantly reposition my thumb I'm cheating and not getting any stretch or exercise from it. Can I get some opinions?

If you took some pictures on how you fret, that would be wicked, though an explanation is equally satisfactory. I tried looking it up but believe it or not, it's either a really brief 'This is how. Ok, now on to the next' and most covers or videos of people playing, believe it or not, are of the front side of the fretboard, where it's difficult to see the thumb. Not to mention that a majority of people choke the neck, which feels uncomfortable to me, and I've heard is not healthy in practicing.

Discuss!!
Please..

I do appreciate it.


I kinda have the same problem. I have a kinda crappy strap, so it could be the staps we have. Trying to keep the neck up and fret at the same time sometimes causes pretty bad cramps in my thumb. Also when I play, I change thumb positions constantly throughout the song, as a matter of fact, I think most bassists do.

BTW, were you self tought? I am, and I blame part of my problem on the fact I just haven't learned proper technique

My only suggestion I can offer, is just try and learn better techniques, or save up for a nice strap (leather straps are real nice, however, they're usualy around 100 bucks, so that might be a problem depending on your budget).
"Hard work never killed anybody, but why take a chance?"

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#9
Quote by Pipwud
I'm having some thumb position problems when I play. First off, my basses headstock is never upright when I play. The damned thing always droops down. I blame my strap but I'm also aware that I'm not the most efficient when gripping the fretboard. Is this a common issue or am I just a big ol' dumby?

I've been trying to work on it since I've began playing bass and I've not progressed any better. When I place my thumb on the back of the Fretboard, whether my fingers are fretted or not, the weight of the neck pulls down on my strap and I have to position my thumb under the neck to keep it from drooping, making it extremely hard to fret.

I'm also curious as to how some of you position your hand when playing. Do you reposition your thumb for every different fret played or do you place it in a certain section and just reach with your fingers. I feel if I constantly reposition my thumb I'm cheating and not getting any stretch or exercise from it. Can I get some opinions?

If you took some pictures on how you fret, that would be wicked, though an explanation is equally satisfactory. I tried looking it up but believe it or not, it's either a really brief 'This is how. Ok, now on to the next' and most covers or videos of people playing, believe it or not, are of the front side of the fretboard, where it's difficult to see the thumb. Not to mention that a majority of people choke the neck, which feels uncomfortable to me, and I've heard is not healthy in practicing.

Discuss!!
Please..

I do appreciate it.


Putting your thumb on the fretboard shouldn't cause neckdive. Get a wider strap and possibly a high-mass bridge and that should sort it.

I use the pickguard and the E and A strings as thumb anchors as the sweet spot on my bass doesn't have a handy pickup to rest my thumb on, I'd get a thumbrest but I don't want to be drilling holes! Also using the strings as anchors helps mute open strings.
#10
Quote by Steve08
You could also try to rest your picking/fingering arm on the body of the bass and put pressure (not a lot) on it from that end to counterbalance the headstock weight so you don't have to hold it up with your left hand.


Good Idea'r. Thanks, man.
#11
Quote by Pipwud
Good Idea'r. Thanks, man.



Good idea, but also be warned that prolong exposure w/ bending your wrist will cause tendonitis. Another suggestion is to tape a counter weight on the end of the strap to balance out the weight.