Floating or anchored thumb?

Discussion in 'Bass Guitar Discussion' started by Mvotre, Mar 22, 2016.

  1. Mvotre

    Mvotre SS.org Regular

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    ok, so I started playing bass. Nice, but I'm trying some techniques, and could use some opinions.

    A lot of people talk about the superiority of floating thumb technique. But some people (specially people playing for a loooong time) seens to just use anchored thumb, without problems.

    What you guys use? I'm not that worried about fast (I just love funk bass and it's a fairly nice pace and want to just lay a solid, nice groove), but right now both techniques seen usable to me (anchored seens easier to control in arpeggios or riffs changing strings a lot, but I believe it's just a matter of practice). I will play a 4 string, so I believe a lot of the string muting ability of the floating thumb won't be needed. Also my bass got a nice thumb rest and that thing is comfortable as hell

    Also, if anyone got examples of nice bassists playing each style, it would be helpful
     
  2. A-Branger

    A-Branger SS.org Regular

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    for mutting sections, specially for muted notes on a funk groove, this comes from the left hand rather than the right

    now in my case I rest my thumb on the edge of the neck pickup, so my fingers would stay playing between the pups. This is for the lowest string and maybe the one before (5th and 4th in my case), IF I move to my E string to play stuff in there or between E-A strings, then my thumb rest on my low B in top of the pickup, same as I go up on the A string (I usually wont go further up than that as I dnt need it). This helps to keep my thumb closer to my playing fingers (helping with speed), plus it would mute the lowest string so they wont make a sound while you are playing as bass techniques you cant really do the " left thumb over the neck mute" like you would on a guitar
     
  3. olejason

    olejason SS.org Regular

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    I wouldn't necessarily think of it as a strict either/or situation. Generally I use floating thumb but there are certainly times that anchored thumb works better for certain passages like you mentioned. The most important thing is playing cleanly without having unused strings rattling around.
     
  4. Mvotre

    Mvotre SS.org Regular

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    LOL! stupid me was trying to mute a open string in a Bootsy Collins riff with the plucking fingers. Then I read your post, and with the left hand muting is damn easier. :lol: ah, it's nice to be a noob...

    but I believe I will try anchored for a time. With the thumb rest, I can move my hand a lot with confort (as in beetween the pickups, near the bridge, near the neck). Lots of tonal options. And later on, if I found some riffs that need extra muting, will move the thumb :yesway:

    thanks guys for the help, but I would like to see how people play here. Also, what is a good bass forum? Found some, but a lot of Fender this, fender that, 5 strings are a sin, etc :lol:
     
  5. Chiba666

    Chiba666 SS.org Regular

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    I use both but anchor on the neck pup when using the B, move my thumb down when playing the E and A and at times that's where it stays if its the odd note D or G string. I tend to float if I'm moving from high to low strings as I can mute on the way up
     
  6. A-Branger

    A-Branger SS.org Regular

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    some people like to move their hand around to get different "tones" while playing. I dont find the difference in tone to be that much, you can do way more tonal change with the blend pickups and the on board EQ. Plus I like my bass to be a "set and forget", I dont change my tone during a song nor I use pedals either.

    Plus playing closer to the bride or to the neck makes the feeling of the strings way different, floppier or tighter. So I like to keep my hand between the pups on a middle ground.

    my thumb is always on the pickup so it wond dig down too much keeping it at same level as my playing fingers, either at the edge of the pickup, or at the ow B or at the E string as I mention before.

    I honestly I have no idea on how someone can play with their thumb up in the air without any kind of "anchor" for your hand to be stable enough for you to move your fingers on a precise and fast pace.

    The only time my thumb is not anchored is when I use it for playing, like playing "disco" kinda riffs, like base note with the thumb and octave or double plucking the octave. Even then my index finger works as my new anchor on the in between string lol

    unless Im doing some king of arpeggio of a chord
     
  7. Baelzebeard

    Baelzebeard Grinder of strings

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    I'm not sure if my technique is flawed when using a thumb rest, but my playing is easily twice as fast and clean with floating right hand.
     
  8. A-Branger

    A-Branger SS.org Regular

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    LOL yeah you need to work your left hand. You prob were trying to do some kind of palm muting like in a guitar. You really cant hear a "palm mute" on a bass enough to justify it, plus you need to be playing with a pick. But yeah for funk its all about the groove, and the groove is not about the notes you play, but about the ones you dont play, all about the ghost notes, just keep plucking your hand normally but raise your left hand just a bit so it would mute the sound.

    Listen to jamiroquai stuff too. Great grooves there and heaps of songs eassy to play, others with a bit more challenge too


    as for other forums no idea. I know there is TalkBass forum. Not sure if its the one you mention, but they are also all about fenders fenders and more fenders......I hate fenders, so I get bored trying to watch a NBD who doesnt mean a fender. Plus I enjoy the whole range of topic we talk in here, plus I play guitar too, just whish there was bit more talk in the bass department rather than folks trying to reach E0 20hz 40" scale basses triple octave lower than a 8-9 string guitars craziness :lol:
     
  9. Chiba666

    Chiba666 SS.org Regular

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    M main problem is relaxing my right hand which is a problem Ive had since starting to play guitar (Gripping the pic to tight). My pinky tends to stick out and that tenses my hand up.

    Happens if my thumb rests or floats, pain really
     
  10. AliceLG

    AliceLG \m/^_^\m/

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    I anchor my thumb in the string below the one I'm playing. So if I'm playing a line on the D and A string for example, my thumb is resting on the E string. When I'm playing on the lowest string I rest my thumb on the pickup.

    I play close to the bridge most of the time, and in a fretted bass there is little change in sound when moving around, but the feel of the strings changes a lot. On a fretless there is a noticeable change the further away from the bridge you pluck the strings though.
     
  11. Mvotre

    Mvotre SS.org Regular

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    well, I tested a lot and right now, I'm playing with a pick :lol:

    I really liked the tone. Got a bit of attack wich sounds really nice to me :ugh:

    and since I can't play bass for ...., and my timing is horrible, I will first work on a few songs, and lay down the foundations for a SOLID timing. I will mess with fingers plucking too, but right now I will just remove one hand from the equation. With a pick I don't even need to think about it :hbang:

    now I need to buy a 5 string Ibanez. So I would get triple flaming, for pick playing, not-a-fender and 5-strings-are-bad :lol:
     
  12. A-Branger

    A-Branger SS.org Regular

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    just keep going with the fingers. You just need to get used to it. And yes, you would have blisteres and it would be a quite a time before you develop callus on the fingers. After that they are all good and never again.

    up to you what you preffer to play with. I personally dont like the sound of a pick on a bass, some people do. It also depends on the type of music played. But if you are going to play with your fingers try to always alternate between the two of them, always, get used to it. Same way you do up/down/up/down with your pick, do the same with the fingers ;)
     
  13. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    90% of the time I do the whole anchor-on-the-neck-pickup thing. If you've got big enough hands (or wide enough pickups), you've got enough space to move closer to the bridge whenever you need to do that.

    TalkBass doesn't get much credit on SSO from what I've seen, it's a completely different crowd, very different views on stuff- but lots of people over there know their stuff. It's very worthwhile to absorb what you can from both forums. Lots of knowledge here from people who play in a metal context, and guitarists-who-become-bassists, but there's lots of knowledge over their from non-metal people and bassists-who-were-never-guitarists, which seems to be an entirely different approach.
     
  14. olejason

    olejason SS.org Regular

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    Ted is right on the money. Different crowd but don't discount the knowledge available on TB. There are a lot of "weekend warrior" type older guys on there that think bassists should never play above the 5th fret but there are also a lot of monster players that won't lead you astray.
     
  15. Mvotre

    Mvotre SS.org Regular

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    yeah, I found talk bass and read a lot there. Will register ASAP.

    regarding callus, I don't have any. Never had. Even in my left hand when i was mainly a blues player. Will keep trying, but if those calluses never appear, fingerstyle bass is a back breaking chore :lol: And i still love the tone from the Jazz III that i'm using :lol:

    also, this video: :O Loved that style of playing.

     
  16. JeremyRodriguez5544998

    JeremyRodriguez5544998 Well-Known Member

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    I'm not much of a bass player, but I know when I play I switch between the two like many people here do.
     
  17. A-Branger

    A-Branger SS.org Regular

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    ooh they will, if you play bass finger style enough blisters would come believe me, you just need to push trough those days after that its all good.

    Its not the same as the left hand ones, those happen pretty small and rare. this is a different animal on your right hand :lol:
     
  18. Mvotre

    Mvotre SS.org Regular

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    you're not helping :lol:

    let's see how that goes.

    by the way, bought this bass. :scream: but now I have to wait :ugh:

    [​IMG]
     
  19. Chiba666

    Chiba666 SS.org Regular

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    I play with both fingers and pick but am moving to playing with fingers as I prefer the tone and gain alot more enjoyment out of it, depsite its frustrating as hell
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2016
  20. hairychris

    hairychris Hairy Old Bloke

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    Another mainly pick user here, but anchor thumb if using fingers.

    As I've always anchored picking hand/forearm when playing guitar having a floating hand feels really weird and I lose track of where it is in relation to the strings.
     

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