#1
Hehe I made a sexual innuendo in the title...

Anyway, I was watching videos on youtube of bassists, and while watching John Myung be amazing, (he was the first one I actually watched the right hand of) most of them changed where they had their thumbs while playing on different strings. Now, I was taught, by some random website, to keep my thumb on the pickup all the time so that is what I have been doing. However, with the stretch between the fingers and thumb from the top of the pup to the D string is quite the reach, and I feel like I don't have nearly the control as I do on the E and A strings. So, for each string where should I be putting my thumb, or is it different in different situations?

When do I move my thumb? (do I move it when I pluck the new note or what?)
Is this way of thinking even correct? I know I want to eventually move onto a 5 or 6 string as alot of the music I want to play uses one, so is it really good to have for when I move to these number of strings?
#3
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TS, there are a number of ways to position the thumb when fingering. What you are using is called the "anchor" where you do not move your thumb at all, JM is using a "moveable anchor" technique and some bassists use a floating thumb technique where they don't anchor their thumb at all. It's all personal preference as to which one you use, I find the moveable anchor the most comfortable but if you're getting along fine with the fixed thumb, keep it that way.

EDIT: Woops, I skimmed over the bit about you saying you didn't feel like you had the control over the D string as much as the A or E. In this case, maybe try one of the other two techniques.

EDIT 2: This link is helpful http://www.warwickbass.com/basssurvival101/lesson_9fingers.htm
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Last edited by indie-bassist at Jul 17, 2008,
#4
I am self taught, mostly from books and UG forums, lol. I agree that the stretch from the top of the pickup to D is quite a reach. The book I got to improve my finger picking suggested that for E and A, keep the thumb anchored on the pick up. However, for D and G, try resting your thumb on the E string. I have seen a few other bassists do this and variations, so take this advice, then play how it is comfortable:-)
#5
yeh tbh there isnt proper way to do it, look at the guy from queen, he plucks his strings ina seriously weird way ( thumb and fore finger on each string), some guy play is like they are finge picking a guitar, some strung with picks, some pick with picks, some slap, someuse there thumb as a pick type action, some just pluck with two fingers, some pluck with two fingers, thumb on the pickup, some move there thumb to the string higher than it to rest there thmb and to mute the string, soooooooooooooo many ways, none of them wrong
#6
I keep my thumb 2 strings under the string which I am playing at
If I am playing on the G my thumb is on the A!
I do that because I hit the strings hard, so when I hit the G my finger stops against the D. It's very uncomfortable when you have your thumb on that one then.

+ when you move your thumb you stop some strings from vibrating! Handy
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#7
She likes it in her as-

I mean, I personally anchor my thumb on either the bridge or neck pickup. That's on my Warwick. On my other basses, I don't anchor it, just lightly rest it against the body of my bass.
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#8
I always change my thumb placement based on what I'm playing. It's usually on either the pickup or the E- string.
#9
Quote by Nutter_101
She likes it in her as-

I mean, I personally anchor my thumb on either the bridge or neck pickup. That's on my Warwick. On my other basses, I don't anchor it, just lightly rest it against the body of my bass.

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#10
For me it really depends on the bass. On My six strings, I usually anchor on my 'B' string, (except when I play that string, then it's on the body between the pick-ups. When I play a P-style bass, it's on the pick-up.
Just find something that's comfortable for you.
#11
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#12
i play with my thumb anchored on the neck bridge all the time. my copper nail thats on my pickup used to be painted black. now its worn down so much its silver coloured lol.
#13
I usually anchor it on the E string or the A string. Occasionally, on my bass that has a thumb rest, I'll use it, but that happens rather infrequently now.
#14
I use the "opposable thumb" technique rather than the floating thumb. All of my fingerstrokes come up into my thumb, which is anchored either on the pickup or my B string. My Fortress One bass has oddly wide spacing, so sometimes I'll rest my thumb on the E string while muting the B with the side of my thumb (when it's wedged between the two strings).
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#15
Personally, I'll anchor my thumb on the string under the one I'm playing and on the bridge pickup for the E. This is probably inefficient, but it's comfortable for me.
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#16
I don't know how common my style of finger picking is but basically I play a regular old 4 string bass guitar and I normally anchor my thumb on my E string. If I happen to be playing on the E string then I'll slightly push my thumb up towards the side of the pickup, not on the picking but in the front side of it above my E string. This works pretty well for me because I like to play in the pickup that's closest to the bridge and the strings barely move for the tone I get from playing there which is really thick and smooth, but that's just me. I used to play near the neck anchoring my thumb by thumb 1/3 of an inch from my 22nd fret on my E string but the tone was too warm. Then I anchored my thumb on the middle pickup similar to how I play now but I didn't like the tone either and so now I play near the bridge in the aforementioned way.

Hope this helps.
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#18
I anchor one or two strings below the one I'm playing. When playing my B string I either anchor the pickup or not anchor at all.
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#19
I place my thumb firmly on the side of the pick with the cork on it. Works great.
#20
I just anchor on the string above the one I'm playing. I can move freely on all strings, but if they're faster riffs I'll anchor on one string instead of switching all the time.

I'm working on playing by the neck pickup on my jazz aswell, to give me a bassier tone for rock, but I mainly play on the bridge pickup.
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#21
I anchor on the E string, but when I play the E I free float. I dont like keeping my finger on the pickups. Making fingerpicking seem unnatural.
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#22
When I'm fingering it all, I usually firmly grasp the top of the body between my thumb and the rest of my fingers. Long fingers.
#23
I anchor on my fretboard for dub, my bridge pickup for normal playing.

I hate being unanchored, and refuse to reanchor mid song.

when I slap, I use my forearm to anchor me to the bass now that I think of it. hmm. never really noticed I did that. cool.
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#24
bridge pickup for life \m/

edit, i feel like elaborating. bear with me

i like the bridge pickup because moving my thumb from an anchored position while playing really doesent feel natural at all... if i want a bit more mwah from the fretless i might anchor it on the fingerboard though.

i dont notice any extra distance to the G/D strings from the pickup, i just lean my hand forward a bit more while pluckin those two works pretty good.
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Last edited by not wisniewski at Jul 17, 2008,
#25
I play a 4 string and i keep it on the pickup at all times... Its a better habbit in my opinion but if you dont have that type of reach on your fingers than by all means move where you position your thumb depending on which string your playing.
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#26
I keep my thumb on the pickup for E & A strings, when going down lower, i rest my thumb on the E string.
#27
Typicall I switch my thumb from one of the pickups or the E string throughout the song.

But, one thing that hasn't really been brought up is something I would do occasionally. Although in alot of situations it just causes more trouble than it helps, so i don't do it much any more.

What it is, is that I rest the tip of my thumb on the A string, then I rest the side of my thumb on the E string. In certain situations that can feel comfortable.
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#29
I do one of two things, either I'll move my thumb between strings as I play, or I'll float my thumb, IE: Not anchor it at all, as I read in some bass magazine that anchoring your thumb can damage your hand...
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