When i play bass i end up putting my left thumb on the neck- but it it quite close to the lowest string- is this a bad habit i should really stop or is it ok? Also what is your left hand technique like as far as holding the bass and sliding up and down it...

thanx in advance
dont matter it might stop the sound of it uf you want in soundind nice keep it!!

edit: it is easier for vibratos too
Last edited by haha5940 at Sep 5, 2006,
You can also use your thumb to hold notes on the E and A strings... at least that's what I do!
if it doesnt affect the way you play or the sound of the guitar, then u shudnt worry bout it
I keep my thumb pretty much in the center of the back fo the neck, unless i'm doing weird chording high on the neck, and then i move my whole hand so that it is on top of the fretboard, then I use my thumb to play bass notes and my fingers to fret higher notes. Generally you should have your thumb in the center of the neck, or farther towards the highest string, to give you better reach.
mate, ever since ive started playin my tumb has been pretty high, nd it hast effected my playin atall, infact i use my thumb. I think the idea of the thumb at the back of the neck is the clasical way of doing things but im not sure, nd wenever i play bass my thumbs high, so idont think it matters to much..
Relax your fingers. Eventually your thumb will start touching your low-E string and make it sound like crap. I keep my thumb on the back of the neck as a feeling of control that I can get up and down the neck easily and faster. It all depends on what you like...
In the center, back of the neck, behind your middle finger. No matter where you are on the neck. When you move up and down, this whole hand position should move.
Two basic grips:

Classic grip - Thumb rests more or less in the center of the back of the neck and acts as a pivot point for the hand. It also works as a point of resistance, enabling you to make a 'pinching' motion around the neck between your thumb and whichever fretting finger you are using.

Rock grip - thumb is much higher, comes over the top of the neck. This is useful for muting the string, but remember to move it away when playing this string. It will probably move out of the way on its own as you stretch your fingers over the width of the neck, but this may not be the case, depending on hand and finger size.

either grip works fine, its really up to the player to decide which is most comfortable for them.

Hope that makes some sense?
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Last edited by -February-Star- at Sep 5, 2006,
I always keep my thumb at the center of the back of my neck; it allows me to fret notes with greater control and precision, than having my wrist slanted downwards. Ive found that this "rock grip" makes it uneccessairly difficult to fret notes on the G string well.

I find that when you are starting out, you should do the "Classical" grip, so that way you know how to easily and properly move about the fretboard. Once you've got some real experience under your belt (im talking in years not months) THEN you can afford to develop your own left hand style.
Once you get to the top, the only way to go is down.
my thumb moves from the center of the neck tot he top, depending. there are several songs where im doing chords (on geetar) where i need my thumb. so dont worry about it, try putting your thumb in the center of the neck to see what you like better.
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Rock grip is bollocks. It's a bad habit which some people can use to their advantage. Try tapping with this Rock Grip you talk of ! !
If you have learnt bass the proper way the thumb is in the middle of the neck. With this grip you have the best stretch with your fingers and the least tension on your wrist/fingers. Sure, in some cases the thumb crawls up the neck, but that's only natural.
'Have you felt the trembling in your stomach, the bass that leads us there'
Here's a challenge, put your hand into this "rock grip" and spread your fingers as far apart as possible. Then put your thumb in the center, behind your middle finger and stetch your fingers. Now isn't it obvious why you should use the standard "thumb in the middle" position?
^I'm almost positive that Sid Vicous used it extensively while recording his solo bass album....
^Thats the one. I can't remember that studio guys name for the life of me though....
Last edited by Bumper at Sep 5, 2006,
well, if he's wearing his bass too low, his thumb's going to be too high. It's easier to spread your fingers on the board if your strap's shorter.
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Where you hang your bass is irrelevant. If you grab the neck like a baseball bat you won't be able to spread your fingers. Thats a fact. Even if the strap is around your knees holding it the standard way gives you better reach.
I dont know why people have to doubt this simple fact of guitar and bass playing. That grip gives the best reach and fretting ability. end of.
Does the same grip apply for guitar? Haha I always find myself with my thumb in the center for bass playing and for guitar It alternates depending on what note I'm goin' for.
^Yes, it applies to guitar too. That is unless you aare using the thumb to fret bass notes on complex chords.
^ even then it's bad habit, Bump. You watch a clasically trained guitarist and you will not see his/her thumb fretting anything !!
^I know, but it can sometimes be useful. Hendrix did it alot, bu then again everyone knows that he isn't the best example of technique. Probably the best way to fret those chords would be with your fret hand playing bass notes and your pick hand tapping the high ones.
My guitarist does it all the time, instead of using his index to barre, he barres the lower strings with his index and the rest with his thumb. to me that just looks awkward but this is what happens to people who are self taught. they find the easiest way to do something and stick with it. If it works, fine, but the reason why you're taught to keep your thumb on the back is because it gives you the best economy of movement. It's like piano, the fingering for piano is such that you are never using more fingers than necessary to get somewhere.

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Is he the guy with the Les Paul or the guy with the Tele? They both have their thumbs working.

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The les paul. although both do it, the guy with the Les Paul does it far more.... Both are self taught and have grown up together so have learnt from eachother. they're both really good guitarists though...
i use mine in the center of the neck
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If you watch the woodstock video, this african American fellow who plays a mean acoustic guitar uses his thumb and still seems to reach his lowest strings with his fingers. That guy had a massive thumb.
Quote by Mongoose87
If you watch the woodstock video, this african American fellow who plays a mean acoustic guitar uses his thumb and still seems to reach his lowest strings with his fingers. That guy had a massive thumb.

That has to be the funniest thing i've ever heard ! Dude, that's Richie Havens!!