So when I learned to play bass, I was taught that the easiest way to play was to move your thumb to the current string above the one you are playing, so it's muted. This always worked out for me and it has for about 15 months. But lately I've realized that in order for me to get better, I can't do this all the time. I need to be able to play with my thumb resting on the E or pickups the whole time as I play all the other strings.

The problem is that when I do this, my fingers can't pull the strings hard enough and they also start to hit the other strings. Plus, I may be doing it wrong because it feels like I'm stretching hand bones (not finger) out of place when I do it.

So do you guys have any tips or videos or anything you could do to help me out? It'd be very appreciated!
There are rest strokes (like what you've been doing)
There are free strokes (you do not anchor/rest your thumb/palm/hand on any part of the bass.

Just practice the free strokes, it may seem daunting at first but you will build strength.

That's my advice,

p.s both techniques are acceptable, in the end; you just do whatever it takes to play the note clean and with the dynamics you desire...technique matters very little (cept for future carpal tunnel) so long as you are able to execute.
<Insert Witty Comment Here>

1981 Fender Lead I Seymour Duncan humbucker, Mesa BoogieIIIRectifer, MKIIRhodes,PRS
Last edited by loinmute at Apr 2, 2011,
why do you feel the need to play anchor? floating thumb has always seemed way better to me
no sir away a papaya war is on
I don't feel the need to, I just learned that way and I thought it worked well because it muted the string above.

Okay I'll practice the free strokes. But what about the pain in my hand from stretching too far?
You can float around with free strokes, you dont have to keep your hand in a 'frozen' position.
<Insert Witty Comment Here>

1981 Fender Lead I Seymour Duncan humbucker, Mesa BoogieIIIRectifer, MKIIRhodes,PRS
i rest my thumb on my pick-ups unless its a mute, then do the running man thing with the index and middle fingures
Reagan Shore
Try and keep your thumb tucked behind your hand, completely hidden. If it's extended away from your hand, the tension on that muscle will hinder the movement of the rest of your fingers.
Call Me Joe
Quote by wesleyisgay


Communist Mormon of

Caffeine Head of The Bass Militia
Just keep in mind, diffrent technqiues work better in certin situations.

In all honesty if you really want to improve you should be able to do all of these techniques. If you want to be the best musican you can. You should be able to play floating, free, able to anchor anywhere "neck, pup, pickguard, pull bar", and I'll go as far to say be able to use the "hook" techniqe too. There is no law saying you have to use just one, there are alot of guys who change their technique depending on what they are playing. The techniques you use should only help you play the music you want. If you can't play what you want with a certin technique dont use it. If you know what you want to play but cant, learn the technique. If one doesnt exist yet INVENT ONE to make it work!!!

I know thats what I try to do, but it's easier said than done!
Quote by MetlHed94

Well played, sir, well played.
floating thumb is a really good habit to get into. When practising it don't go over-the-top with it, and stick your thumb all the way out, just rest the muscle of your thumb on the strings lightly and use that as a mute when playing the D and G strings. When playing the E and A, have your thumb just lightly resting on the bass above the strings. Obviously it is not essential to have your hand in either of these positions because it depends on whatever you're playing. Whatever you do with your hand, make sure you're plucking perpendicular to the string, rather than pushing it down into the pick up