#1
I tried using my thumb on a low E string on-a Martin HD28-can almost pull it off, but not quite. Fender Strat-terrible. Gibson Les Paul-not great. Went to the guitar store and played a handful of Gibson acoustics, couldn't pull it off. I picked up a Taylor-don't know what model but I want to try it again tomorrow. It worked perfectly. I could do it with no fret buzz whatsoever.

Is it poor technique to use it anyways? I've never had any "formal" training.

I'm trying it because I'm learning Babe I'm Gonna Leave you.

5:06 on the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMJZglXYgI8

I have a very hard time doing this and it's not like I want to buy a guitar just because I can do that, I don't care much for the sound of Taylors.
#2
I think it is fine to use the thumb over technique - in the right context! But I've got doubts about buying a guitar you don't much like just because you are having trouble with the technique on some instruments. I have small hands and my "thumb over" (aka choke chord) abilities are limited, but I've never consider buying a guitar to make it any easier. I've found that I can manage more or less the same (not very much) on a wide range of neck profiles, it is just a question of practice and adapting my technique and chord voicings.
#3
With practice you should be able to finger this chord using your first finger on the low E string - makes the changes more difficult though.

Classically the thumb should not come over and be used like this but in popular music it is often done - check out Jimi Hendrix who does it all the time.

I advise you to keep trying with the guitars you have, you probably need to lift your elbow quite a way to do it.
#4
It's not wrong and for its application it's very useful. People forget to mention, for instance, that the boxed "sandwich" classical hand shape isn't for playing every style on guitar; it helps fluidity in riffing etc. but is horrendous for fingering chords, or at least, I find anyway. What I'm trying to say is that if it works for you and still produces the right sounds then you're all clear, bad technique is generally labelled as such if it hampers your playing or makes it inefficient. If it's not 'traditional' but still gets the job done, no worries good sir, music's about expression, not perfection.
#5
One of those things... I've never been able to do it. Short thumbs? I dunno. However as noted it's a very common technique.... I saw it among folkie guitarists years ago who used it for the standard first-position F chord rather than do a barre.

I just don't.... If I need to fret the bass strings I use other fingers or barre.
#6
I can't do it either. My thumb joints aren't flexible enough. When I get a song like that, I just use another finger if possible or skip it altogether.

Another technique I find difficult is stretching my pinkie up to hit a note on the A string while holding down a chord shape. That one's come up in few songs I'm trying to learn. Although my hands are fairly large, my pinkie is very short in comparison to the rest of my fingers. I can't hit the A-string with my pinkie without muting the rest of the strings or else lifting some of my other fingers.
#7
If it sounds good and doesn't damage your guitar or hands, it's not bad technique.

A well set up guitar will be easier to play on than a messed up guitar but bad technique should be the first thing you fix, rather than buying a new guitar.
#8
It's not poor technique, it is 'a' technique. It is great for some things. You can do some stuff with it that you can't do with a barre, and you can do some stuff with a barre you can't do with the thumb. Imo, the barre is more versatile, but they are both great, and I use them both.

The thumb works well for bluesy style pentatonic situations I find find, whereas the barre lets you do more major scalish kind of runs and stuff like that. In my mind that is the sort of character they have. But these are by no means any sort of hard and fast rules. Like I said, I use them both, sometimes I need one, sometimes the other, and sometimes they are equal so I do whatever is simplest compared to what mode I was just doing.

I think of it like 2 different stances in kung fu for 2 different styles and I call on the one I need for the situation at hand, seamlessly passing between the 2 whenever appropriate.
#9
Quote by derek8520
If it sounds good and doesn't damage your guitar or hands, it's not bad technique.

A well set up guitar will be easier to play on than a messed up guitar but bad technique should be the first thing you fix, rather than buying a new guitar.


I kind of agree that it would not be "bad". But I think this mentality is a bit dangerous, because some techniques, techniques called "good" are that way because of the versatility they have.

With the sort of outlook of your post, it is easy to get into whatever habits, then as you go along and improve, you get to more advanced stuff, and you realize the limitations of the technique you've been using all this time, and you have to unlearn what you have learned, and learn something new.

So, sure, what matters is how it sounds, and not hurting yourself at any given stage of your skill at guitar, but some techniques can be carried further up through your skill levels than others.

That might not matter, if you don't plan on really getting as good as you can get. It doesn't matter for now, but it should be a consideration for the future.
#10
Quote by fingrpikingood
I kind of agree that it would not be "bad". But I think this mentality is a bit dangerous, because some techniques, techniques called "good" are that way because of the versatility they have.

With the sort of outlook of your post, it is easy to get into whatever habits, then as you go along and improve, you get to more advanced stuff, and you realize the limitations of the technique you've been using all this time, and you have to unlearn what you have learned, and learn something new.

So, sure, what matters is how it sounds, and not hurting yourself at any given stage of your skill at guitar, but some techniques can be carried further up through your skill levels than others.

That might not matter, if you don't plan on really getting as good as you can get. It doesn't matter for now, but it should be a consideration for the future.



You make a good point, and I agree. My original post was more aimed towards the thumb over the neck thing though, which I think is very beneficial (at least in my experience of country, folk, jazz, etc.) and not really limiting at all. My thumb isn't glued to my low E string, I'm able to move it around freely whilst also playing "normal" with my thumb behind the neck, so I get the best of both.

I'd add to my first post that a good deal of common sense is necessary when dealing with certain techniques. I.e don't do something that will limit you instead of something that will benefit you.