Like the ones you sometimes see on Fender basses? I don't know, I don't play bass, but was wondering.
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the name kind of implies it, though it's placement on original fenders is kind of... useless. On my epi, it's placed above the strings, friend of mine actually moved his on his 65' P bass (don't worry, no issues with "original" on that thing... Leo Quan bridge, ripped out frets, routed for P/J duncan quater pounders, phase push pull knobs and independat volume and tone... it's 65, but it don't look it).

I've got a thrumbrest on my 96 in the original position, but I've never really used it. Fullerton used to refer to them as "tug bars" back in the 50's and 60's. Best I can figure, you rest your index and middle finger on the it and then pluck the strings with your thumb, kind'a doesn't work so well.

I find that the pickups on most basses make good enough thumbrests, that I don't have to install one, except for cosmetic reasons.
Last edited by Thomme at Nov 11, 2008,
They were used so people could get some leverage when they used their thumbs for bass. Now, they add a bit of a vintage look, and are mostly cosmetic.
What everyone else is saying: used to put your thumb on while playing, not really much use though. My P-Bass copy has one, I used to use it when I bought it, but I slowly moved away from it and haven't touched it since. I barely even play that bass anymore... Going to go play it now

Oh, and the plucking thing, is it called a thumb rest? I mean when it's below the strings. I know what it's used for, leverage when playing with the thumb, but what is it called?
Beach Boys bass was played with the thumb, useing that thumb bar on the bottom. There is footage of Brian Wilson doing it with his thumb. I thought the idea of putting it below the strings was retarded until I saw that.
My Ibanez with "music man" style humbuckers has a curve on the edge of the pickups for your thumb to go. I find it pretty comfortable for walking on 1-2 strings, or else I just rest on the body/ E string
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Is there such a thing as a heavy riff with out chugging on the e string?
despite it's uselessness, i'm gonna put one on my future Fender Jazz to give it some vintage mojo.
If its above the strings, its a thumb rest (rest the thumb), below the strings its a tug bar (to grip with the other fingers while the thumb plays). And btw, there are still a few thumb players out there, the two that come to mind are Sting and John Reagan, who plays for Frampton.

I have a thumb rest on my Epi Accubass. My only complaint is that it gets in the way if you want to slap. It does give the bass a bit of a vintage touch.
the accubass I played had a thumbrest, but it was very very slippery. it bugged me a lot. I used the pickup anyway.
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It is there to cause pain and discomfort and make people not want to play bass anymore, as well as teach them bad habits.
Thumb rests can also add power to playing, if you push down hard with your thumb you will push down hard with your fingers causing more power in playing.

Having a thumb rest far away from strings also makes you keep your fingers relatively straight while playing which, i find, makes it a lot more comfortable to play and makes my tone a lot better than if i were to play with my hand like a claw.