#1
was wondering if using my thumb for fretting is bad for playing classical music
#2
Depends. If you use it to play a chord where you can easily use another finger, i'd say don't use it.
I don't play classical - i play primarily jazz - but there are chords i come across that using the thumb is necessary. The left-hand position that forces you into isn't good for your hand, but unless you use your thumb constantly, you should be okay
#3
i've played a bit of classical in college and i've learned that you should try to avoid using you're thumb in classical settings, and most times its not really nessecary. Try not to i guess but unless someone important corrects you on it you should be able to play the song how you want to play it.
#4
Hendrix did it, and Hendrix died. Don't do it man.
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#5
Using your thumb to play classical music is definitely unusual. I doubt many classical guitarists did this, as it isn't the most comfortable way to play in my opinion. In the end though, I guess it comes down to what you are most comfortable with. If you can play comfortably and accurately using your thumb, I would say go for it. But if you notice tension while using your thumb, I would recommend kicking the habit, or at least minimizing the use of your thumb.
#6
In the classical guitar world, using your thumb is (in most situations) considered bad technique. not so much for rock or jazz or anything else though.
#7
Quote by kebzicum
was wondering if using my thumb for fretting is bad for playing classical music


Well as a general way of playing...... it's not consistent with common practice.


I wouldn't say it's "bad", but if your teacher is telling you to do something else..... listen to your teacher.
shred is gaudy music
#8
Agreed^

If you don't NEED to use your thumb, I wouldn't. There's a reason it isn't common practice, as it puts your wrist at an awkward angle making injury more likely. But, everyone is different, your style, your grip, sitting / standing etc.

So what I'm saying is: there's no right answer.
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#9
kk ill stop usin ma thumb

i was learning a bach piece when it sort of got ridiculous lol
#10
Quote by Blurry 505
Agreed^

If you don't NEED to use your thumb, I wouldn't. There's a reason it isn't common practice, as it puts your wrist at an awkward angle making injury more likely. But, everyone is different, your style, your grip, sitting / standing etc.

So what I'm saying is: there's no right answer.


actually in most cases i find it makes less of an awkward angle on the wrist than traditional playing. if you are in a classical stance though, i could see it being odd to do.

however, ive come across some chords that you NEED your thumb for to pull off. but in classical music, i doubt you would come across them much. or you could just use another voicing.

in classical music i would say dont use it. but ive actually seen it done a couple of times from classical players. but it is rare.
#12
so, lets say i wanna play jazz. Then i would definitely need to use my thumb right? i've personally never played it but ive heard the chords are whack
#13
If you're talking about classical guitar, which I assume you are, your thumb, in theory, should be near the middle of the arm (vertically, that is) and someone in front of you shouldn't even be able to see it. But don't make a big deal out of it, as long as it still allows the rest of your fingers to move comfortably and precisely.

Edit: To the post above, not definitely, but it's more likely, I guess.
Last edited by sickman411 at Jul 12, 2010,
#14
Quote by kebzicum
was wondering if using my thumb for fretting is bad for playing classical music


I don't have much experience in classical guitar, just a high school class, but my philosophy is : if it works, then use it.

If it stops working, or stops other techniques from working, stop using it.
#15
Quote by Gakbez
Hendrix did it, and Hendrix died. Don't do it man.
Hendrix also didn't play classical. Just saying.

As far as classical goes, it's generally not accepted practice to use your thumb to fret notes. You can, but other fingerings are generally more well accepted.

As far as contemporary music goes, the thumb is definitely not considered "wrong." I mean look at Jimi and how many people draw influence from him. The man was a legend.
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#16
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#17
so, lets say i wanna play jazz. Then i would definitely need to use my thumb right? i've personally never played it but ive heard the chords are whack


The chords are far from whack. some voicings are uncomfortable at first, but are easy to get aclimated to. most comping you'll do is (physically) pretty easy (as you should never use more then 4 notes). Chord melody playing is harder, but the physical challenges are dwarfed by the musical and mental challenges. I think the chords are physically easier then bar chords (or at least, are for me as they dont hurt over hours of practice like bar chords do). Occasionally (especially when playing chord-melody) you'll have to use your thumb or will find it more comfortable to and its not really frowned upon, its more like some players do it (and will tell you to) and others don't (and will tell you not to).
Now, playing charlie parker transcriptions WILL kill your hands.
#18
My degree is in classical guitar. In classical playing, I have never once felt the need to use my thumb, regardless of how advanced the piece was.

I would go so far as to say that, when playing classical guitar, using your thumb to fret a note would be considered a cardinal sin, right up there with murder and playing power chords.

Find me ONE instance where one of the greats (Segovia, Williams, Bream, etc.) has used his/her thumb to fret a note and I'll consider taking that back.

CT
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#19
Quote by Gakbez
Hendrix did it, and Hendrix died. Don't do it man.


Yes, But Hendrix Also shot LSD into his forehead. Don't do that. He also played blues/jazz and not classical, but I think the first sentence here is much more important to pay attention to (saying Don't do Acid).

As for using your thumb...in classical, it shouldn't be necessary, I've actually heard that it's not considered to be proper 'classical technique', however, I'm not a classical guitar major. I'm a jazz guitar major.

The only time I would ever use my thumb to fret a note would be if it was tooooo awkward to do it any other way for Jazz chords or whatever. Plus, I've noticed it's a lot more difficult (at least for me) to get a good clean sound when fretting with my thumb. But if you can't fret all the notes of a chord for something like jazz or rock or contemporary, go for it if it's comfortable and sounds good.
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#20
I would say for classical, don't do it
My guitar teacher uses his thumb, but I've never got the hang of it
Just doesn't feel right, so I don't
In any other genre, I would say use your thumb
But classical is really strict
#21
Quote by clayonfire
Yes, But Hendrix Also shot LSD into his forehead. Don't do that. He also played blues/jazz and not classical, but I think the first sentence here is much more important to pay attention to (saying Don't do Acid).

He would be Hendricks without acid. And we would have no idea who he is. And acid sure as hell didn't kill him anyway. And I'm sure he used his thumb before acid.
Oh yeah.

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#22
If you are going to be a strict classical player, don't. If you are not and play pretty much any other style, do.
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#23
I've played classical style since 1971. I use my thumb all the time. I especially use it when doing a repeated base line in 'G'.

Nobody cares....except the two people watching.

Classical music, like all music, is an 'art'....break out of the box. Classical style isn't what it was 150 years ago and there's no need to be confined today to what is was 50 years ago...sometimes invigorating but more often boring. 99% of the audience is next door listening to more creative rock or country artists.