Just came back from band practice today, it was a solid session, and my thumb hurts.. However this isn't because of slapping, but from anchoring. I anchor my thumb on the neck pickup for the whole time and it bloody kills after a while, but I can't play without anchoring, and using the low E if I'm not using it doesn't feel right.. What can I do?
you might be pressing down too hard. Try pressing a little lighter, that may help.
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maybe put some sort of padding on the pickup or buy/make a padded thumbrest to use instead of the pickup?
It sounds like you're simply pressing far too hard. Try resting your thumb on the pickup a bit more lightly, anchoring doesn't mean you have to smash your thumb into your anchor point as hard as possible.
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Kay I'll try it Also, I have another question. I'm currently using a bass (not mine) that has pup covers, so thats got a good surface area for me to anchor on. But I'm getting a jazz bass soon and the pups don't have covers. Are they still pretty chunky that I can get my thumb on them?
Last edited by Lollage123 at Jul 27, 2010,
My main bass (Traben Phoenix) has a jazz pickup in the neck position and I can anchor my thumb on it just fine. It may take a little getting used to but you will be able to anchor your thumb on the jazz pickup.
So that with good courage we say, “The Lord is my helper. I will not fear. What can man do to me?”

-Hebrews 13:6
Quote by TrabenBassist22
you might be pressing down too hard. Try pressing a little lighter, that may help.

^Sounds right, I had the same problem with my very first bass. It was basswood and had neck dive so it had some extra pressure on my thumb.
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Oooh yeah. Nasty stuff man. My teacher said he did that for 15 years and got arthritis because of it.. Not granted there were probably other factor... But having your thumb hurt is killer when you're anchoring.

Try NOT PUTTING YOUR THUMB DOWN AT ALL. I know a few studio bassists and none of the anchor their thumb at all. After you achieve the same sound that you can from anchoring while not anchoring, feel free to lightly anchor your thumb back down. But be very conscious of how hard you're putting it down.

It's not something to do at band practice either. You'll make the change much quicker while focusing on it 100% practicing privately.
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Gota say it sounds like you're pushing down too hard with your thumb. I've always seen anchoring as a technique for keeping your hand in place, as far as I know you shouldn't actually be pushing down with your thumb. Try resting your thumb in place and just not thinking about it/pushing down with it while you play.
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Not sure if I missed something about this but you really should change where your thumb is anchored depending on which string you are playing. Switch it to the string above (physically) the string you are playing, like if you play something on the A string, anchor it on E, anchor it on the A string to play on the D string etc, only anchor it on the pickup when you play the E string.

Should help keep your thumb from getting strained. This also helps keep those other strings muted. Takes a little practice but it becomes second nature in no time.
Last edited by mac_attack at Jul 28, 2010,
You just need to work on relaxing your hand a bit whenever you play. This will help you immensely, with other things as well. Your tone will be better, it'll help you avoid injury, plus you'll look a lot more badass if you learn to rock out and make it look like nothing.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
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Playing an instrument like bass you want to make sure you're as relaxed as possible. Sometimes you get so focused on getting in the groove and making sure you're hitting the right notes, that you do things like clench your jaw, flex your arm, play too hard with your fingers, or anchor your thumb too hard.

Your post is a little confusing, but seems like you don't use the floating thumb technique. Nothing wrong with that, as to each their own, but if you do decide to pick up this technique keeping your anchor thumb light is important so you can quickly move around.
the ideal anchoring is a floating thumb. its not needed, but if it hurts the way you usually do, try switching over.

Adam Nitti has a video on the subject.
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